Like many people interested in productivity and optimization, I’ve consumed a lot of resources and tried a lot of different systems — too many of which blend together and soon fall by the wayside. This summer, though, Ali Abdaal’s channel introduced me to Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, which has substantially changed my planning mindset in a positive way.
I always feel like I should be making the most of spring break by spring cleaning, like, my whole life — and since it’s been a while (hi, hello) my blog could definitely use some time dedicated to dusting off the virtual cobwebs and refreshing some outdated information.
Shoutout to my past self for the handy Blog Maintenance Checklist I’ll be relying on!
Honestly I don’t know if this will be interesting/helpful/etc. to anyone but me, but I like the accountability of sharing this publicly; it was also easier and less awkward to write than a(nother) “Hey I’m back from hiatus … hopefully for real this time” post. Gotta start somewhere, y’know?
New year, new planner setups — you know the drill. Not a ton has changed since 2019, actually, but here’s a look at how I’ll be organizing my 2021.
After trying out a traveler’s notebook for a year, I found that flipping back and forth between monthly and weekly/daily and collections journals wasn’t working for me; I also missed the catchall nature of having everything together in a single system.
So when I finally filled up the notebooks at the end of July, it was time for me to return to the bullet journal.
Based on posts I’ve read and chats I’ve had with friends, clearly I’m not the only one suffering from a lack of motivation lately. And these past few weeks have been particularly rough — loneliness hit hard, teaming up with the stress of finishing up my semester online to make me an unproductive lump hiding from the world.
To be clear: it is absolutely okay to not be Doing All The Things (reading, blogging, whatever hobby you wanted to pick up). Life is hard right now.
However, I always feel better when I have some semblance of routines to fall back on and can check at least one or two things off my daily to-do list. So this is me, freshly freed from classes, holding myself accountable to get out of bed and Do A Thing a few times a week.
As some of you might know, I’ve been doing monthly self-improvement challenges. In January it was daily journaling and a quick workout routine
(both of which I abandoned pretty quickly after the month ended).
In February I decided to follow the 30-day plan in Catherine Price’s How to Break Up with Your Phone. Compared to a lot of people, I thought I was already reasonably good about not constantly reaching for and scrolling through my phone, but I knew there was room for improvement.
This was an … interesting experience, to say the least.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve preferred to have pre-scheduled days, weeks, and months. Not that I don’t like the occasional surprise, but this minimizes decision fatigue, plus I feel like it helps me better notice and appreciate the little things in life. (Like, stopping to smell the roses … though not literally, since I have a pollen allergy.)
I also started habit tracking not long after I started bullet journaling, which led to the realization that it’s so much easier to maintain habits if I build them into my routines. Not an original discovery, I know, but experiencing is believing.
To be honest, a large part of why I’m writing this post is for accountability: making sure that I sat down to create and commit to routines. So that’s enough procrastination, time to actually figure these out.
Whether it’s a fresh calendar year or academic year (or even semester), I love the organization and anticipation of new school supplies, new bullet journal spreads, new goals.
This year I actually haven’t made many big changes from my 2019 setups — there’s no need to fix what’s already working. But since I love reading about other people’s planning systems I figured I might as well share mine; hopefully some of you will find it interesting and maybe even helpful!