The emphasis primarily seems to be on good old fashioned physical writing in an actual book, and apparently any decent A4-A5 notebook is perfect for the job. Physically writing does appear to develop a sense of focus and unwavering attention that typing doesn’t quite capture for me. My social media platforms are awash with ideas, printables, worksheets, calendars and all manner of ‘must haves’ for the brand spanking new ‘journaller’. I admit I am unsure this is a word yet, but journalist doesn’t feel quite right. The deluge of ideas is, however, a little on the overwhelming side. It may be controversial but I often find the beginning is a good place to start, so exactly what kind of journals and planning thingies are we talking about? I have chosen a few at a broad stroke of my keyboard to introduce the idea. Sooo, first up…
The Desk Diary, a concept we are all familiar with. It plans our days, weeks and months with the events we need to keep track of. Traditional, safe and fairly unexciting. I have always used a desk diary for work to plot out my next moves and document reminders. It should be simple and effective, but I have found that recently I accomplish a task or two, life intrudes as usual, and the rest gets shoved over to Tuesday, then maybe Wednesday then before you know it it’s Saturday and you’re in Lidl poking weird exotic veg and wondering what happened to the week. Stuff gets endlessly shifted and as an entrepreneur or a solo act there is no boss to bring you up on it. Indefinite rescheduling is a definite downside. So the good old diary is only good for exceedingly disciplined people and I think I am too creative and tangential to be that disciplined.
The Gratitude Diary is the next thing I found moving into my orbit. I will be the first to admit I didn’t even want to entertain this, particularly as I am still in the early stages of creating my little empire and things are tougher than I had ever imagined before I started out. The churlish part of me is not grateful in the slightest at the initial uphill struggle! My yearly caffeine consumption is testament to that. Once you get past your stubborn streak and think about what you are grateful for, it does help you take stock a little, as well as putting things into proportion. I can see how this could be useful if undertaken carefully. There are some potential problems to my mind. I would do this sparingly, perhaps once a week tops. It’s amazing how we can force gratitude and begin to stop feeling it in any genuine sense. This could easily become a forced exercise with a meaningless list that doesn’t support or help in any way. If this happens the benefits would be completely lost for me.
The Vision Board is the next rather exciting sounding beast. I mean, who wouldn’t want a vision board? Many people are enjoying organising and planning by creating a visual collage of ideas, colours, ambitions, textures, quotes and general positivity through physical or digital vision boards. It collates all your ideas and emotions in one place for pure unadulterated inspiration. Visual prompts can suffuse a person with ideas the way text simply cannot, galvanising you to take action. Anything that makes you want to work on a project would be a valuable tool. There are many different ways to approach this. One way is to have a large scheduled planner, colour coded and mounted on the wall where you are likely to see it regularly. Another method is to have a board that is more organic, pinning colours, materials, cuttings and photographs to build a visceral picture of your ultimate goal.
I have found that my mind is a little too chaotic to remain just with the vision board. I would need a clear process to utilise the information regularly or it is going to become a dumping ground for the insane and rambling corners of my mind. I would end up that mad scientist leaving the board and scribbling ‘genius stuff’ on the kitchen walls.
However, the idea was too interesting to abandon. I have decided to create vision boards on Pinterest when I have a particular project in mind. It would have a clear purpose and I would have a timeline for the project that would mean there would be a cut- off point to my inspirational flow. It tends not to know boundaries, my inspiration, and that’s not as good as it sounds. Without doubt I can see the merit of vision boards, particularly as I will be rebranding my business this year. Pinterest also allows the potential for collaboration, support, feedback and collecting like-minded souls (I really don’t mean that in a sinister way!).
The Bullet Journal is the entity most people are simply raving about. The idea of the bullet journal is to have that faithful companion to organise…everything! As I mentioned in my introduction way back when, it is simply a decently sized notebook for you to customise with your own system. In the first few pages you choose and arrange an index detailing tasks, their colour codes and often a calendar. You can actually get stickers and bookmarks, inserts and all manner of stationery to customise your bullet journal system. The idea as it appears to me is to embrace inspiration and free thinking ideas and have a place to jot them down in an organised way immediately. It sounds great and exactly what I’m looking for.
When I researched the topic on Pinterest and a few websites, devoted to the topic no less, we are talking serious effort! People were designing their own tabs, creating artwork, developing colour coded calendars, selling printables, collating inspirational quotes and providing an army of boxes waiting for ‘To Do’ lists. Frankly, this would be my Kryptonite right there. I would love this so much I would become obsessed with playing with my bullet journal, feeling productive, but not actually doing anything to advance my business. I have issues with over-planning coupled with procrastination, this would have me under the duvet working on it by torchlight! It wouldn’t work for me. However it is revolutionising the entrepreneur and blogger alike, and is clearly working for most of you out there. I would definitely suggest checking out the bullet journal and discovering if it can work for you.
Personally none of the above are quite right for me, but there are many elements I will be adopting and adding to my current practices. I have to avoid ‘Pseudo Productivity’ at all costs. A bullet journal would feed into my bad habits. I have seen many things in the bullet journals I do want. I currently have scribble books for all my brain dumps which I convert into tasks and allot them throughout my days, weeks and months. I will adopt the idea of tailored and printable calendars to guide me through my tasks. I will set up that vision board to allow more freedom for the creative ideas that spring from my business. Finally, I would like to take the Gratitude Diary idea and change it to an Accomplishment Diary, a task I will do at the end of each day. I think I would respond better to looking back at what I achieved in my day rather than dredging up gratitude. Sometimes you have a day that leaves you crying open mouthed dribbles into a pillow, but you still managed. Gratitude ain’t the word on those days! I think these ideas supported by timing myself on tasks, might just give me an edge! Do you think journals and vision boards might be for you? Or have you already perfected the science?