Sunday, December 03, 2017

Wait, what did I do today?

 Every morning when I get up, I make myself a cup of coffee, feed the dog while the coffee brews, and I settle down to read email and make some regular internet stops while I sip my coffee. I may scroll through Facebook for a bit to see what friends are up to, look at the NY Times app to see the latest news, or open the Feedly app to read some of my favorite blogs.  I might open Pinterest to see if there are any interesting things I need to save, or go look a bit through the visual feast that is Instagram.

I love the inspiration I get from seeing what friends are doing and creative strangers are making. I come away with new ideas every single day. But I started realizing that it was making me feel -- well, unproductive, at least, and even rather sluggish in my creative life.  I'd see a sketch by a friend or favorite artist and think, "Oh! I must get out my watercolors, I haven't sketched anything in forever." I'd see a gorgeous finished quilt and think, "Oh my, that's so pretty, I'd better get finishing those quilt tops I've got stacked up." I'd pin a recipe or two on Pinterest, thinking "I'd like to try that for dinner this week -- better add those ingredients to the shopping list."  In a blog or on Instagram, I'd see some new thing that I'd love to try -- just this morning, I pinned a few images of art books made by folding the pages -- and think, "wow, that'd be so fun to try.... when I have time." 

And somehow, the process of enjoying the visual inspiration became one of making me focus on everything I was NOT doing. And it occurred to me that I was starting the day by reminding myself of all of the things I didn't have time to do that day, which was not exactly a great feeling.  What to do?

Well, my solution thus far has been helpful. I keep a bullet journal or BuJo, If you're not familiar with the BuJo process, it's fairly a simple process of goal setting and planning that is simple but lends itself to creative variation in a zillion ways. (You can learn about Bullet Journaling here, and here, and here, and see lots of images of BuJo pages here. Be warned - it's kind of a wonderful rabbit hole if you are into paper and journals and goal setting and organizing.)

But back to the problem. Because I was feeling like I just never get anything done, I started adding  accomplishments to my BuJo daily page -- either at the end of the day, or adding it to that day's page the next morning. I list what I actually did and/or got done -- and it has really helped.

For example, yesterday was one of those days where I was feeling like I wasn't getting much done.  But then I made my "accomplishments" list:
   * Took Starlie to the dog park for a good romp
   * Visited mom at the rehab facility [she fell and broke her shoulder AND her hip!  So mobility recovery and rehab required but she's doing great]
   * Went to the grocery store for a big stock-up shopping trip
   * Sewed 8 quilt blocks on a newish quilt project
   * Wrote a (polite) complaint letter to a local restaurant place after they messed up my take out order for the second time in a row
   * Made a new recipe in the Instapot (this french onion soup, and it turned out rather well, I'm glad to report)
   * Researched wifi/bluetooth speakers 
  * Caught up with a friend on the phone
  * watched an hour of a tv show I've been recording (The Curse of Oak Island - nothing like a good old fashioned treasure hunt) 

So, it wasn't an earth-shatteringly productive day -- but I actually got a lot done, and more importantly, I reminded myself that I did valuable family things, household things, connected with a friend, and got some creative activity in there too. 

I'm liking this "accomplishments" aspect of the daily Bujo.
Do you track what you've done? Do you need to remind yourself of what you've accomplished?


  1. Great ideas about acknowledging all the things we have done that we think don't count. They do when they are in a list right? So I clicked on the BuJo link and 45 minutes later........ :)

  2. There are some good ideas in your post. I am frustrated feeling like I am going in circles. Are you still working?

    1. This is Elaine but somehow google has my first name.

    2. Elaine! I wondered who Mary was! Yep, I'm still working, about 20+ hours a week. How is your new job going?