The new year is only a couple days off, and I've found myself in a state of complete overwhelm. I'm not sure of the grammatical accuracy of that statement, but it's the only way I can think of to describe my emotions and life right now. And it's been building for a few months. I would say that since October, I've been constantly looking forward. To the Nanowrimo challenge. Then to the holidays. Then to the new year. Always waiting for the next shoe to drop, the next starting gun to fire. And it's not all bad news. I participated in Nanowrimo, but I didn't finish my novel. I will get back to it sometime this year, but right now I'm just still too burned out on the story to make a good quality attempt. My holidays were a rushed mess of throwing money at things I ran out of time to properly shop for. My house is falling down around my ears because I haven't taken the time to put things where they belong in months. I basically sleep and work and stare at my phone and write in my bullet journal. That's not exactly living.
So, for the new year, I decided to make some changes. I somehow got sucked into the decorative, glam planning, world of paper planners again. Several years ago, this was my jam. I got several friends into it, to the point that all of us own Silhouette Cameo machines and make our own stickers. I just couldn't see the point of spending $3+ on a half-sheet of stickers, which I would inevitably be afraid to use up because I'm a hoarder, and my logical brain doesn't kick in that often when it comes to these things. Even though I buy digital stickers and can print and cut them as needed, I still make myself 5 full sheets at a time. Why? I'm a hoarder. I have no other excuse. But now I've gotten to the extreme of having a Big Happy Planner, a standard Recollections planner, a work Recollections planner. That seems like a lot, but it's not even the end. I also have a dot grid notebook and a Daily Agenda notebook that I got from Archer and Olive. So, yeah, I'm deep into the planner addiction.
My bullet journal I started at the beginning of December and love it. The Archer & Olive notebooks are made with super thick paper that you can even paint on without bleed-thru. I love bullet journaling. I've been doing it on & off for 5 years or since the first video Ryder put up was still newish. I fall off the wagon every so often, but I love coming back and drawing out the spreads and making the collections. I bought his book and journal set when it launched, but my copy looks like it got run over by a truck - like the hardcovers are severely damaged. I'm keeping that Leuchtturm notebook for a backup backup. I was wondering why the price was so good on the set - and now we know.
The Archer & Olive Daily Agenda notebook also got started in December, since it's undated. I'm committed to only using a black pen in it, along with some mainly black & white stickers that I got from StickyAcorn on Etsy that are cute little girls named Miki in various emotional states. Sometimes a sticker is the best way to sum up the day. I basically reflect on my day's happenings - things I did, places I went and with whom, things I bought, and other details I want to remember down the line. I only write in this at the end of the day or sometimes the next morning, but there's no planning in this - just memory keeping.
My work Recollections vertical planner is one I've been using since the summer. I track all my stats at work, so when the time comes to defend myself, I'm prepared with notes - the reasons that I'm not some superstar statistically, even though I think I'm working pretty hard. In the call center world, we get graded by the second, and every second counts. The company I'm working for right now has a skewed representation of how I'm spending my working time. So I keep track of the reasons I'm not making their targets. I refuse to let go of my integrity and do all the shortcutting that my peers get away with in order to make the target. So, I make a note of the times I'm stuck on a call and miss my break, or when another department puts me on hold and it makes it look like I was trying to avoid talking to my customer. I come in every day and check on yesterday's stats and log them. I color code my monthly view to show when I've made the targets, so I can see at a glance how I'm faring. I was printing out the stats I monitor onto mini post-it notes and then placing them in the boxes, but last night when I couldn't sleep because I was so overwhelmed, I made stickers that I can use instead.
And then we come to my new 2019 planners. These are grouped together because I haven't really found my purpose for each of them yet. The Big Happy Planner has 1 box at the top, then lines filling the rest of the vertical columns. I have a cover for it, and it's packed with 2 extra packs of Happy Planner paper. I don't see myself taking this out of the house, just because of how big it is. The standard Recollections vertical planner is in my old standard Happy Planner's cover, even though it's smaller than a Happy Planner. I like keeping the coil covered so I don't snag anything, and it has a pen loop and pocket for holding my stickers and post-it notes. One of the first things I did in the Big Happy Planner, was turn the first page into a Year in Pixels page, which I bought from a shop on Etsy and printed on sticker paper and slapped on the page when you're typically writing your name. I want to make sure I fill that out each day. Then I took a page of HP yellow graph paper and stamped 16 habit tracker grids onto it, making a Habit Tracker for January. Instead of using the one I bought, I decided to make individual boxes for each habit so that I can see how each habit is trending, instead of having them all on one tracker that spreads out across the 31 days and doesn't really indicate how well you're doing on each task individually. I want to see that I'm not being consistent with flossing my teeth or need to really concentrate on updating my Instagram more often. I'm thinking that some of the habits will be solidified after a month and I can update to a different group of tasks in February.
Maybe my overwhelm is related to waiting for the New Year, the Blank Slate, and maybe it's related to all the things I think I want to start doing when the clean slate arrives. For instance, I want to start doing 3 chores each day - small things around the house to keep it tidier. I want to keep all my planners up to date. I want to knit/crochet a bit, work on a jigsaw puzzle, and read a book a little each day. Floss my teeth, skip drinks with calories, and exercise at least 20 minutes each day. Learn Spanish on Duolingo. Update my Life in Pixels. Post on Instagram, Facebook and this blog. This is a lot to have on my plate. Especially when I've been barely surviving work and sleep for the past 6 months. And maybe I am going to crash and burn, but I know that I usually get more out of myself when I'm up against wall with deadlines or demands. I'm hoping that I can build these habits into my day in a way that makes me feel more productive, less ADHD, less hopeless. In the meantime, I'm using a notebook my daughter bought me for Christmas with a handmade fabric cover and a groovy fabric covered button closure. It's just a generic black & white composition book, but it's also a special notebook because it came from her. I plan to fill it with journal entries, from cover to cover. I wonder if it will take me more than a year to fill it. Or if this year will require more reflection. I tend to write more when I'm stressed or confused about which choice to make. I was thinking about writing in my bullet journal, but that has limited pages so I'd rather dedicate it to my bullet journal rapid logging and collections. I can sometimes write pages of nonsense that I never need to look at again once it's purged from my soul, so this special notebook is the perfect place to keep it.
Do you find the beginning of the year overwhelming? Or do you look forward to a fresh start?