Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lists and lists and lists and lists and....

 So I started making lists. Lists of lists that I want to list. Lists of to-dos, lists of ideas, and yes, lists of lists.
And it's sort of uncovered a slight 'issue' with the Bullet Journal as a one-stop life journal. I think that I could have so many lists that my daily entries will get lost. (I do love lists!).  Having poked around online for suggestions to this issue, somebody suggested keeping TWO bullet journals: One for the day to day and calendar, and one for the longer term, creative idea and project-type entries. Brilliant! So I here goes.  Once again, I turn to my favorite paper books, Miquelrius, but this time the spiral bound, polyvinyl covered 4-subject grid paper book. How perfect is this!  The page edges are in four separate colors, in the event that you want to create separate subject areas. (The pages are still white with the light grid on them). 
Colored page ends
I actually have one of these journals that I use for genealogy research, and use the sections for different family lines.  I'm thinking to use these sections in terms of the creative areas of my life - blogging, quilting, drawing, etc. 

Another very useful thing about the spiral bound journal is that the pages are not only hole-punched, but perforated, so that should you make lists that you'd like to migrate to a more permanent notebook, or even just next year's, they are cleanly removed.

Just thought I'd share these new epiphanies.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day 1, new year, one phobia named and tackled!

Happy Happy New Year!  

I love January first -- It's the one day that I always allow myself the luxury of dreaming, planning, organizing, making lists, hoping that *this* year will be the one. You know, the year that you make the list that gets completed? The year that you set off down a path and actually make it to the destination? Yeah, no, I'm not sure I really know that one either. But again, it's January first, so I can dream.

This year I'm all ready with a new planning, organizing, journaling system - bullet journaling, or 'BuJo'. It's the simplest and cheapest 'organizer' I've ever come across, and yet at the same time allows me the opportunity to put pen to paper, lots of pens. the kind that feel good in my hand... And to hold, open, peruse a wonderful book of blank paper.  I am truly an office supply junkie, and I just love all of the accoutrements of writing!

So here's where I'm starting. I absolutely adore a certain kind of blank graph paper books by Miquelrius. They're made in Spain (which right there is an awesome reminder of last year's trip to Barcelona that I'd love to repeat).  My first Miquelrius purchase was a fluke. It was just a cool spiralbound booklet of paper with a polyvinyl cover that I found in the discount bin. But it felt so good in my hand! The paper is so smooth! The corners rounded! Oh this obsession is just pathetic, really.

my Miquelrius journal for 2015
Anyway, this year I picked out a 100-page, soft-cover grid paper folio. The cover is amazing - not really leather, but feels so wonderful, and is soft and flexible, without being wimpy. I always love the little elastic band that attaches to keep it shut. Just so many things to like about it! I opted for the smaller book in for my first run with this BuJo thing, promising myself a new book once this one is used up. There - a goal!

heaven & a zipper bag from Turkey
For Christmas I received a very generous gift card, which was quite quickly spent on my wish list of cookbooks, art supplies, and, of course, office supplies. Ooooooooo!  So I'm all ready to BuJo.  I have colorful, warm, smooth-flowing ink pens; erasable highlighters (pilot Frixion), a Bic 4-color pen in pastels (albeit bright pastels), and my faber-castell black drawing pens.  Plus (of course!) a varied collection of sticky tabs and flags for ideas that I'm not quite ready to commit to yet. OK, honestly, for now it's almost as if the sticky notes are winning, but I'm taking this thing head-on. No fear. No mistakes. I'd really love some washi tape, but will head to Michael's over lunch one day to pick out the perfect roll/s :)  
sticky notes first... testing the waters timidly
So my learning experience through just this set up process has been very interesting. I've pinpointed a very deep-seated phobia, and even given it a name (with the help of google and a blogger from 2008) - Atelodemiourgiopapyrophobia ~ the fear of imperfect creative activity on paper. here's something about a blank page that makes me feel compelled to only provide it with perfection. It's ridiculous, but it's ingrained.  I've got the bipolar opposite urges to both be completely spontaneous, and at the same time do it perfectly correct and tidy the very first time.  But you know what? I'm facing this, and by gum I'll beat it with a stick (or a Bic four color pastel ball point pen) if I have to. I'm accepting the fact that this book is small, and there will be another one after this. And that there is an endless supply of perfect paper and pens waiting for me to use them up, mistakes and all. 

For now, every month starts new on day 1, which gives me the new chance again to try out a different way of journaling my days until I do arrive with that which works best FOR ME!

Today I steeled myself, cleared my desk all but for the journal and my pens, and started writing on several pages. With BuJo it's really okay to be unorganized, because the whole idea is to take all that unorganization and collect it up in one place and make it organized.  It's freeing, really. Like finding a friend that you can be completely honest with, even about your stupid insecurities and foibles. Yep. I've found my newest bestie.
Starting to roll with it ~ created the symbol key

Monday, December 29, 2014

Organized Scripture Study

I made these a while back (like several years ago), and print them out every year or two to help me with my scripture study. I find it helpful to use as a bookmark, and also to note where I've read for the year already. Some folks like to start at the front of a book and work their way to the end; others like to jump around by topic. This bookmark works no matter how you choose to read your Scriptures!  Feel free to print them out and pass them around -- just please do not sell them!

Each are 3 up on an 8.5x11 sheet. The Old Testament is broken into two bookmarks. 

Please feel free to copy, share, distribute, but absolutely DO NOT SELL these.
Here's to a wonderful new year in 2015!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Piles and piles of papers

I started my desk/office area organization by taking all the piles covering all the surfaces, and dumping everything into a couple of banker boxes... Just temporary of course -- it would be easy to just leave things that way, but then instead of being overrun with papers, I'd be overrun with banker boxes. Quite honestly after moving as many times as I have, I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to cardboard by now.

I realized in doing this that one of the issues that I struggle with is what to ultimately do with all those papers... Bills, invoices, receipts, medical papers, tax forms...aaack!  Using a file cabinet is one idea, but it really isn't convenient, plus those folders and drawers fill up fast too, making it difficult to file, causing me to go back to just throwing things into boxes...

But still, that being said,  I'm pretty sure that my previous way of dealing with these items (I.e., shoving everything in a box to file or deal with later) was not working out too well. Heaven forbid I needed to retrieve anything from that black hole of papers.

I did a little research and found that the IRS accepts scanned copies of receipts so why keep all this paper? I have a paid Dropbox account, and a lovely scanner. So! I spent the evening scanning receipts into appropriate folders and creating a huge pile of papers TO TOSS! Yay.  The only papers I'm keeping the actual original receipts on are things that I can't easily get a new copy of, or things with an important original signature on them. Most everything else can be accessed or requested online anymore anyway.

Because I am quite the nerd about backing up and having things accessible, I set up two folders in my Evernote account to automatically check the corresponding two folders in my Dropbox account. This means that when I scan something directly into my "2014 Tax Receipts" folder in Dropbox, Evernote will go in and grab it and put it in the corresponding folder I have set up in Evernote, so I have it saved now in two places. I also did that for serial numbers and product codes for the software that I upgrade from time to time.

(Side note here: The reason that I like to save things, especially really important things in Evernote, is that even scanned PDFs are indexed within the program automatically, and even line items in a receipt become searchable.)

Day 2 now, still scanning away. I should have the last box of papers finished shortly. It's actually pretty exciting to imagine this step almost done!

(I'm sure it would go a lot faster if I wasn't juggling an almost-2-year-old on my lap watching vacuum videos on my second monitor).

Update - December 28, 2014 -

Two boxes of "to file" papers emptied. Important documents scanned and electronically filed!  The rest are being filed here:

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Toting Stuff

This arrived today so I'm jumping ahead in my organization timeline/plan to post a picture. I'm excited to be able to organize all the stuff I lug around to work, on day trips, as carry-on on planes. I bought the Vera Bradley 'Get Carried Away' style travel tote, from (I had a gift card). They also had great deals at the Vera Bradley website on discontinued patterns so be sure to check there also. 

I previously made a trip to the Vera Bradley store to check out the different bags in person, to be sure I was choosing the one that would best suit my needs. VB bags come in all sizes, patterns, colors and options. I chose this one mainly because of the end pockets for water bottles (I don't like them sloshing about on the inside of a bag with my stuff, and definitely want liquids separated from my electronics), plus the roomy front and back pockets for quick access to keys & phone. VB bags are pricey, but when on sale, they are definitely worth it -- well made, distinctive fabrics, comfortable to carry, and perfect attention to organization details.

This tote is big - about 18" x 15" x 7", with four roomy outside pockets (one at each end for water bottles, etc., one on each side - fits my iPad mini perfectly! my phone easily slips into the pocket on the other side, with room for other stuff too (keys, for example).  The handles are soft and have extra padding at the shoulder. The bag itself is soft and quilted, and should make a nice pillow itself if ever I find myself stuck in an airport overnight (which seems to be whenever I fly in the winter).

Inside, the fabric is a contrasting blue and white chevron stripe pattern. The inner sides are lined with pockets, and the bag is very roomy - roomy enough for a large purse, lunch bag, some books, probably a sweater or sweatshirt and still more. It will easily hold everything I need to lug about, but still have everything neatly organized and easily and quickly reachable, plus it zips closed at the top so nothing will fall out when stuffed under an airline seat.

The pattern is called Venetian Paisley, which is kind of special to me personally, because one of my favorite SecondLife avatars is named Paisley, and I went to Venice this summer on a cruise with my oldest daughter and absolutely fell in love with Venice. 

All said, this tote makes me quite happy, and being happy is what it's all about.

Friday, December 26, 2014

My organizational journey begins

It has to start somewhere, and my somewhere is the Emergency Room, Christmas eve 2014. A simple cold turned to bronchitis after a month, kept at bay with Dayquil/Nyquil and cough drops by the handful, but finally in the excitement of Christmas Eve turned to bronchial spasms and ohmygosh-I-can't-breathe! Instead of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the treasures I took home were azithromycin, prednisone, and hydrocodone - the three magicians of medicine. The problem is now that I'm feeling great, re-energized, and ready to start projects and face life head on, my past fatigue, malaise, and stress have left me with a mountain of "stuff" that "I'll organize later". Later starts now

I'm starting this journey at my "control center" ~ my desk/office space.  Here's what it looks like tonight (full disclosure - I did actually tidy the desk a little bit before the picture).

my desk

my, um, workspace behind my desk.

I really am an organized and tidy person at heart. My motto has always been, "Organization is the key to survival".  I read that somewhere once, and it really stuck in my head. Just not always in practice. But you know it's much easier to stay organized when you've started out organized! So now I'm just going to start from scratch, get it together in as many areas of my life as I can, and do more than survive... thrive! Woohoo!

This blog is my record of this particular journey, to hopefully keep me on track, and remind me where I started, and where I'm headed. Nothing more, nothing less. Anyone reading is welcome to tag along and share ideas.