August Challenge

As if the month of July wasn’t enough discomfort for me I decided to challenge myself again in the month of August.

Let’s Go Digital

For a while now I’ve been toying with the idea of going digital. Setting up my life set up digitally where I can have access to all things all the time and where I don’t have to worry about storing or shredding papers. I am not going to sit here and claim that I’m doing it for the environment, although it is a perk. My motivation is mostly a selfish one. It is time and portability that I crave.

Time: Being able to just tell Siri what I need done. Telling Siri to remind of something at a specific time and place or when I arrive somewhere. Being able to schedule my appointments on the go without having to reach for a planner;

Portability: Being able to schedule appointments or write a note or, again, remind myself of something without having to always carry a purse or a planner. All this can be done on my phone, my iPad or my computers. I am sure you have all been in the situation when someone needs to schedule an appointment with you and you have to respond “let me get back to you when I get home after I look at my schedule.” Admittedly, some times this is a great excuse if you just need a little time to get yourself out of a situation but more often than not it’s just because you are not carrying your planner.

A few days ago I was out for a walk and had an idea for a post. I had my watch with me (that whole thing about closing my rings every day) so I was able to quickly dictate a note to myself on my watch. By the time I got home I had totally forgotten what my idea had been. Had I not dictated it to myself I would have lost it. Instead, I opened up my dictation tool and was able to transfer that to my notes on Good Notes on my iPad and now it’s something I’m going to be working on.

In my last post, if you recall, I was torn between two planners, the B6 Stalogy and the standard TN with two notebooks. I had tried the A6 Stalogy and I had loved the size and portability of it but I was not able to fit everything I wanted in each of the pages and I didn’t like having things all over the place. The TN works because I can fit one day per page, including an hourly bar (which I draw out) and a to do list. If it’s not a particularly busy day I’m even able to journal a bit and add special notes on each of the days. This is all good. I love the space and the Tomoe River paper is so amazing with my fountain pens. I really enjoy using my fountain pens on it.

So I decided to turn my planning life upside down and go digital for the month of August. Not just digital on my calendar, I’m going digital on my journaling, my to-do list and my notes.

Starting tomorrow, I’m putting my TN on a shelf and my pens in my desk drawer and for the whole month I will only be using my iPhone, my iPad and my computer.

The apps I’m using are:

  1. iCal for my appointments and calendar blocking;
  2. Productive for my habit tracker;
  3. Reminders for my to-do lists;
  4. Day One for my journaling;
  5. Notion for project planning, weekly and monthly reviews, reports and other random stuff; And
  6. GoodNotes 5 for work notes, personal notes and when I’m missing the look of a regular planner;

I think these will be all I need to make sure I’m on top of all objectives and goals for the month.  I’m excited to see what I learn in the month of August and I’m excited to see what happens when my calendar reminds of appointments and tasks that need to be done.  I will update here once a week. Although this is a challenge for just the month of August (at least that’s what I’m telling myself), I am hoping to make this a habit and a forever thing.  There’s a sexiness about going digital and having your life one your wrist (my watch) or on a piece of technology that’s with you all the time.

Come by and give me some support and let me know how you’re challenging yourself in the month of August.

The next post is probably going to be about the books that I read in the month of July (not that many at all) and I will work the updates in between the book posts as I am able.

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy wherever you are.  Looking forward to connecting with you all.

Ana

 

 

Two Things I learned in July

July was a month of lessons for me. One of them disappointing at first something that made me feel broken. The other something I always suspected but never gave a lot of thought and considered it something everyone is able to do. So not very special right?

#NaNoWriMo  

I  once again, entered the NaNoWriMo craze all energized to write my book. I decided on a political thriller because that’s what I was enjoying reading the first part of the year and thought that perhaps I would do well in writing one myself. I planned and I outlined and I even wrote over 2,000 words before July started. I couldn’t wait! Quickly the energy I felt in the beginning of the month waned and I no longer wanted to or felt compelled to write. I am not interested in writing a novel. I’m not interested in spending large amounts of time putting together a world and characters. I lost interest in their lives and their worlds. It was no longer interesting to me. So I stopped. The novel still lives in my Scrivener file. Not because I have dreams of ever finishing it or publishing it but because it is a reminder of a lesson that although painful taught me about myself.

Just because I enjoy reading doesn’t mean I have to write a book. I love stories and the written word. I enjoy losing myself in a novel and sometimes, more often than not, a good non-fiction, self improvement type book are my “go-to” for relaxation. I enjoy spending time in different worlds  but that does not mean that I want to create those worlds. Perhaps because creating those worlds makes the world lose its magic. I want to feel the magic and can’t if I’m the one creating it. I’m not sure if that makes sense to you, but it does in my own head.  Does that mean that i have no imagination? NOPE! It just means that I am not interested in writing a novel and that’s ok. We can’t all be writers. Some of us are readers/consumers. Where would the writers be if there were no consumers of their writing? We have to have both and I am the second type.

I’m not broken. I’m just never going to write a novel.  Never say never right?  Things may change but for now.  That is not my thing.

#OneBookJuly

OneBookJuly is the month when those of us who like to plan our lives and live by a schedule or a to do list pick one planner or one journal and use that for the entire month. 

This year I decided to enter #OneBookJuly. For the first week I floundered and even almost gave up and switched to a different planner.  For one week I moved to a Stalogy A6. the A6 size is very small but very portable – – not that we are going anywhere these days but that was my thought process. I quickly realized that the A6 size is too small for me to write everything I need to write. I wanted to journal do a timed schedule and create to-do lists. That’s how I work best. I enjoy planning my day in the morning when the house is quiet and create the list of things that I want to get done that day. I then enjoy crossing them off – – or in my case, crossing off the little dots next to the tasks to be accomplished, once I accomplish them. The A6 pages were so small that I had to squish everything together or separate my days’ schedule from my to do’s from my journaling. Having everything separate did not work for me so I put aside the Stalogy and went back to my TN (travelers notebook) for the rest of the month.

My OneBookJuly experience taught me that although I appreciate the small size of some planners, they just don’t work for me. I need things all in one place and that means that I need more page real estate. I need to be able to see where my time is free and I can “fit in” some of my to-dos. That is how I’m most productive.

So, was my #OneBookJuly a failure?  Perhaps.  Technically, yes.  I didn’t start and finish my month in one book.  I changed after the first week.  But I learned what works for me so ….. isn’t that a win?  a success?  I now can go on planning and journaling and crossing off my to-do’s knowing that I have all the space in the world to do what I need to do.  Does this mean that I am going to stay in one book, a TN, for the rest of my planning life? Absolutely not.  I’m already thinking that I may want to experiment in a B6 Stalogy.  But, I have learned that I need space on a page and that is going to be my guiding principle.

Lessons NOT Failures

So, were these experiments failures? I don’t think so. I learned from each of them. I wanted so much to write a book and was even going to start dedicating hours and hours to that practice. I’m glad I found out what I don’t want to do before I spent hours doing it only to realize that after all, that was not my dream. I much prefer sitting and reading a book than creating a book.

I also wanted so much to have a pretty and tiny planner that I could stick in any purse. I learned that I cannot do that. I need everything in one place and that’s how I’m most productive. After all, the purpose of a planner is to help me be as efficient as I can be so I am glad I learned that tiny planners are not for me. 

To be honest, my TN is not large. I keep two books or inserts in it. One is the monthly calendar and the other is a grid notebook where I plan my weeks and my days. I’m playing around with different spreads to see which work with my brain and every week I figure out something else that will work better. My planning style has evolved this month and it’s so much fun to go back and see how much. What worked one week doesn’t work the next and I always find new ways to make things “tighter.” I’m enjoying the process so much and most of all I’m enjoying the fact that I am finally in the size planner I enjoy.

What about you? What did you learn in the month of July? What habits will you stick with and which ones will you let go of?