Monday, April 11, 2016

Loathing Habit Trackers

Habit tracking is nothing new for me.  I used a weekly habit tracker bookmark in my ARC planner last year.  Before that I had a page for each habit I wanted to work on at the top of a yearly spreadsheet and would go thru the pages at the end of the day and mark off whether I did any of the things I was trying to do on a regular basis. I think that was probably the process I had the best luck with, but it was also tracking a lot fewer items.  When I set up my Leuchtturm Master notebook at the end of March for the upcoming month, I came up with a list of 15 things I wanted to do frequently, but not necessarily every day.  As you can see from the picture, I’m sucking at doing these things.  The X’s are days I accomplished the task, the -‘s are days I failed to do them.  Those blacked out boxes were weekends, therefore no shift to work in it’s entirety, and the day I took as vacation is also filled in with a different color.  I watched videos or read posts from other bloggers who sit down and calculate their percentage of success.  That is just something that doesn’t appeal to me for several reasons.  For one thing, looking at a graphic like this is telling me enough about whether I’m succeeding or failing.  Second, there’s not a damn thing I can do about it after the ship has sailed.  I can’t go back and go to the gym last week.  It’s over with.  Yes, I suppose there is some value in knowing that this month you went to the gym 40% of the time so if you go 50% next month it’s an improvement, but really, don’t you already know you’re doing better without involving the math?   Another thing that I don’t like about habit trackers is that you’ve got to remember to fill them in.  As you can see, I’ve lived thru 10 days of the month so far, but haven’t recorded the past 3 days of activities.
So, the verdict is that I think I’m going to abandon the monthly tracker and go back to a weekly tracker in May.  That way if something is relevant I can start tracking it immediately, and the same if I want to let something go.  I’ll give it a test run on my next weekly spread, since I have this week laid out already.  I split my spread into 8 equal boxes and one has a To-Do list in it for the week.  The tracker data will go there next week.  I decided to do an un-Bullet Journal thing and pre-plan space for the week because I found that I was fitting just over a week on the 2 page spread anyway, rarely taking more than 1/4 of a page for any given day.  So breaking the pages down into spaces this size seemed to make sense.  Not much waste and I can put things onto my to-do list for each day this week as I think of them, instead of hoping that I remember when the day is here.
I’ve been doing a lot of brain dump writing.  And a lot of lyrics that I’m copying into the book.  I really like writing out song lyrics.  It’s something I’ve enjoyed since I was in high school, long before sites where you can just look them up.  Something about writing them out by hand makes me absorb the lyrics and their meaning more than just reading them.  I was relegating them to a Clariefontaine french ruled spiral, but since my Master Notebook has plenty of room and I’m not thrilled with how the binding is holding up, I want to get it filled so that I can move onto another notebook.  I love the size of the Master notebook as far as being able to fit a lot on each page, but it is requiring me to carry a backpack in order to tote it with me.  I’m unsure if my next notebook will be a Master Slim or a medium A5 notebook.  Obviously the pages are considerably smaller in the Medium, so I would probably need to go back to filling daily pages as I go instead of making a weekly spread.  But I could fit it in my purse.  Of course, carrying a backpack also allows me to bring my huge pen case.  I’ve got a couple months at least before I fill this notebook and need to worry about what I’m going to use next.  I’m trying hard not to change to a different notebook until this one is filled.
Speaking of changing notebooks and what we put in them, I saw how Kara @ Boho Berry does her repurposing of notebooks.  This is something that has long been a problem for me.  I start a notebook for some purpose and then 3-15 pages in, I abandon the project and the notebook sits until it’s eventually thrown out.  I can’t tell you how many notebooks and journals went into the dumpster when I cleaned out my old house.  Some blank soft cover Moleskines I had only drawn designs on the covers of, not even put anything in them. Well, since I’m investing in more expensive notebooks now, I’m trying not to do that going forward.  It also helps when the notebooks aren’t your private thoughts.  In the past, they were mainly diaries or stories I was trying to write and that would have been embarrassing for someone else to stumble upon.  But I think I’m going to employ Kara’s strategy and just use washi tape along the unbound edge  of the next blank page and change the subject matter of the notebook.    I started my turquoise Leuchtturm medium A5 notebook for notes on an online class I am taking, but it seems unlikely that I will need a whole notebook for that.  I suppose I could do a test in my turquoise A5 before I buy my next notebook to see if I can make that size work for my do-it-all notebook.

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