The February #planwithmechallenge; another look into my planning system
I somewhat took part in the February Instagram “plan with me challenge”… here’s a writeup of what I did, for those still interested in my planner system.
Day 1: Hi! About me!
The first thing about me is that the first day of the month is usually very task-filled and crazy-making, so I am totally cheating by using the same picture I used for introductions last month, and saying pretty much the same thing I said then. My name is Lorena, and I am a maker of ceramics, dyer of yarn, knitter, science fiction reader, tattoo collector, and hard-working home-based-business owner. I use my #bulletjournal the way some other entrepreneurs use administrative assistants; it keeps my schedule, keeps me on task, reminds me when I need to do things, and generally holds me accountable for work. Which I have to get back to now!
Oh! One thing before I go!
I’ve been using a modified bullet journal system for about five or six years now, and I don’t see myself moving to anything else any time soon. Before that I used … oh, what was it called… oh! Planner Pads was the name of it. A great system, and I had planner peace with them for a good four or five years, until I closed my yarn store and began working at home and didn’t have use for a by-the-hour planning system (many of the things I make/do now can take all day, or part of the day, or there’s a lot of waiting so I can do other things while I’m waiting, and I rarely need to meet someone at a specific time unless I have, like, a dentist appointment… so planning things out by time of day doesn’t really mean a lot to me any more). Before that, when worked for an Engineering company, I used the Franklin Covey system and that worked great for me at that time in my life. Proof that different things can meet your needs at different stages of your life!
For my planner now, I use a Peter Pauper Press Essentials A5 grid notebook. The pages are niiiiiiiiiice and thick, and my Staedtler pens do not bleed through at all. I just got some watercolor colored pencils, and will see how those bleed through (or don’t) some time this week when I have a minute.
Speaking of, I really do need to get back to work now! That yarn ain’t gonna dye itself!
Day 2: February Monthly
Here’s most of my February setup; shown is my tracker, my plan with me challenge page, how I set up my weekly pages, my February sky/temperature tracker (long story; I’m knitting a thing and the colors I’m knitting are determined by the sky color and the average temperature of the day), and a spread for social media and blog post topics. I’m sure I’ll drill down more into those pages of my #bulletjournal later on in the month, this is just an overview of what I’m looking at for February!
Day 3: Weekly? Daily?
I kind of do a mashup of the both. I guess you would call it weeklies, since it’s a week at a glance. It’s a two-page spread, with one page with a small box for each day and a list of things to do at any time that week, and the facing page being open and free for notes, lists, reminders, etc.
Half a filled check-box means the task is half-way finished, a fully filled check-box means I’m done, and if I get to the end of the week and haven’t filled it in, it gets moved forward.
I used to give myself lots of room for lists on specific days, but I discovered that if I have unlimited room… all I do is make lists longer than what I can accomplish in a day. I watched myself for a few weeks and discovered that I was able to cross off five things, maybe six… so my boxes for the days are six lines long. Then I have a larger space for things that just need to be done at some point during the week but not necessarily on a specific day. Which I know is not strictly following the letter of how a #bulletjournal is supposed to be laid out, but what I like about this system so much is the ability to adapt it to your needs.
Day 4: Why do I plan?
I plan because I am a fun-loving but stressed-out, anxious, easily distracted small business owner who works in a home-based studio.
Here’s a page from my bullet journal from a few years ago. Without a planner, this week would have been even more disorganized than it looks! I would never be able to prioritize my work, schedule in advance, or even remember a third of the things I need to do. I wear ALL THE HATS; product design, product production, shipping, supply ordering, customer service, social media management… pretty much everything other than accounting (which I hire out, because, accounting!). I plan so that I can do all those things competently and in a reasonably organized fashion.
I plan because without a plan I am an agent of chaos and everything around me turns to disorder and a series of distractions and sidetracks.
I plan so I can run my business in a profitable manner, so that I can keep doing what I love to do so much!
Day 5: Experimenting
I got a little behind, as last week was pretty busy, and I wasn’t sure I even had anything to say about some topics. Turns out I do! Hey-o!
Experimenting! I’ve been experimenting with a two-page spread with reminders to post certain things on specific days of the week — I have a personal and a work blog, post on Ravelry to motivate discussion in the group based around my hand-dyed yarn, and of course my beloved Instagram. But so far this spread has become just another thing to cross off, because I wasn’t really falling behind on doing those things so tracking something I was already doing on a regular basis is kind of tiresome. What I might do to change this is transfer an old file I kept in Evernote a couple of years ago on blog topics to a page in my #bulletjournal for “topic ideas” for those rare days when I have time to do something but the idea well has run dry.
Day 8: Something Old
Okay, in looking for some things I found my grandfather’s planner that he used when he was in med school in the early/mid 1930’s, and I thought “whoa, that’s something old!” and a lot of his stories and notes about patients are hilarious… but he wrote down first and last names and I didn’t want to get into any privacy violations even almost 100 years later, so… instead… here’s a photo of something old for me – some of my journals and planners from 1983-1993. I KNOW, RIGHT?! How was I even old enough to hold a pen, then?! It did reinforce for me, though, the thought that clearly this is something that works for me, even though I’ve flipped around in formats through the years.
Day 9: Something New
Something new! I was so, so hoping to be able to share a photo of the absolutely, stunning, gorgeous new refillable leather cover I bought to house my notebook, but alas, it is not here yet. So instead, here’s what will go in it — my next new bullet journal notebook, a Peter Pauper Press Essentials A5 grid notebook. Oh, grid lines, you make me so happy. (Is that weird…? No, don’t answer that…)
Day 10 (handwriting) and 13 (motivation)
Somehow I’ve gotten super off-track with the topics, so here’s Handwriting and Motivation in the same photo. Here’s a sample of my handwriting as I write about motivation. Even though my handwriting is messy at times, I’m in no way motivated to change it. My printing is neater, and primarily what I use for my bujo. How do I stay motivated with my planner? Well, I use it for work and work means selling things. Selling things means a paycheck. A paycheck means I can afford a roof over my head, food, health care, and a car. And treats for my puppies. So I guess I stay motivated by needing to run my business effectively!
OK; I know we’ve only got about two weeks of February here, which means there are a good dozen or so more prompts, but… the prompts they’re giving every day this month don’t match up with the list I was given at the beginning of the month (somewhere they mentioned that one list was put out but then they were working on their graphics from a different list, because the list goes through many iterations). And I totally grok how that can go (believe me, as a one-woman show I can mess things up pretty well just by myself!), and how frustrating it must be to hear every other day, hundreds of people say “this isn’t the prompt I was given!”. How I do this challenge, though, is that I take photos a few days in advance (I try to do two or three of them on one day, when I have a day that has about an hour of free time). Then I schedule them to post on Instagram throughout the week. So when I’ve written something and set it to post on Instagram but then find out on the Facebook group that it’s a different prompt…? It’s hard to feel part of the group, then.
As I look the list over on the day I’m updating this February post with the last prompt I did, I don’t see too many topics left about which I feel I have something to say… so I’m going to pass on the rest of February.
Again, I really, deeply admire the three women who put this together, and I’m looking forward to checking out the list of prompts for March! If there are things in that list that I haven’t covered yet, I’ll definitely be on board for another round.
As always, if there’s something I haven’t covered here, or anything you want me to go more into depth on, please tell me in the comments and I’ll expound!