Sunday, February 17, 2019

Visiting a lighthouse, using planners, and staying motivated

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Well, it's the middle of February so that means I'm still plugging away at my goal-oriented planning.

From the photo above you can see that I have been outside and getting fresh air. Last weekend Mister Pick and I took Daisy to Souter Lighthouse which was interesting even though Daisy acted up and tried to jump on every dog and human that came close to her. (Goldendoodles are insane, I tell you.)

I went in the lighthouse on my own while Steve took her for a walk and the gal at reception told me that it was 75 or so stairs and the last bit was very steep. Now, me being me, I heard that and thought immediately, "Well, I won't be climbing that then, will I?"

But I did.

It was freaky though because on the way back down you have to go backward like on a ladder and my life flashed before my eyes a bit because I could see myself falling straight back and them having to find Steve on the beach to tell him that his wife had broken both of her legs in a freak lighthouse incident.

But I didn't, and I was proud of myself.

I'm such a wuss, I swear.

Anyway, so I was pleased with myself after that and looked at the little lighthouse cottage before going outside and hanging out with Daisy while Steve took a look inside.

Having a National Trust membership is nice when the weather permits you to explore things nearby.

We also took a walk down the coast, hence where this photo was taken, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

I was off on Wednesday and that was the first time that Daisy went to doggy daycare when I was home so I felt like a free woman who didn't have to check on the baby every five minutes. I went to the dentist, the gym (hooray!), Weight Watchers (lost 3 pounds -- more hooray), and bought myself a bike because I want one. (I totally need a wicker basket for the front of it!)

Valentine's Day was good. We had M&S Dine in for Two (tradition) and I got my super cool Cath Kidston Bambi bag!

Today we took a walk along the river and I found lots of nice paths where I can ride my new bike, so I'm super excited. This bike is by no means the fancy cool Trek that I have left in Florida, but it's cute and comfortable from what I could tell from the showroom, so I'm ready to take up casual cycling again.

We also had a chance to look around our new neighborhood and was pleasantly surprised at all that was going on. We even had a couple of people stop to chat with us and we get the idea that we're notorious (in a good way) because the couple who owned our house before us were well-liked around here, and I'm sure they let everyone know that we'd be turning up with this mad dog.

Now, I've focused on my good things because all of this is part of my planning for achievement and working on spending family time as well as my fitness which really, really needs for me to keep myself accountable for each week.

Again, I'm really stoked about my Passion Planner, and my This is My Era planner. I still find it so easy to be lazy and procrastinate but this has helped me put things in perspective, even if it's small personal objectives. Not that health and creativity are small topics.

Like, one of my objectives is to amp up bookblogarama.com but it's going to be so much work and it's so much easier to just not start getting involved. However, I really want to have more book reviews and interact with more book bloggers so I'm going to have to just dig in and get that started.

I'm also listening to podcasts which I never did before but it seems to put me in a better frame of mind for the rest of the day, as opposed to music where my mind can wander.

The writing is okay too. I at least work on something most days, so that's a huge accomplishment considering how little writing I was doing for the last few years, honestly.

And with that said, here's hoping everyone had a fab Valentine's Day and enjoys the rest of their February!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Dreams on your heart and plain old goals

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Last post I touched on the idea of writing goals and keeping track of my book projects, word count, and so on.

I also mentioned that I’ve been listening and reading more about productivity and goals. One of the books I’m currently in the middle of is Eat that Frog which is about not procrastinating and getting the most difficult task of the day done and over with first. Makes sense. I’ve also jumped on the bandwagon and started reading and listening to Rachel Hollis. I have a Getting Stuff Done planner and a This Is My Era planner (which I still need to set up), as I wait for my Passion Planner that’s coming by next month (or so the tracking information tells me).

So if you know what tasks you need to do in daily life, you sort of do them in order. At least that’s how I do them. I get up, I feed the cats or take the dog out, I make coffee, I eat breakfast, and if I have to go to work, I get ready to do just that before leaving the house at whatever required time. Those are my priorities from 6AM-8:30AM at least.

The rest of the day is doing work-type library and IT requirements and each day is different and those, again, go in order of operations. If it’s Monday, I run and send out financial reports. If it’s Tuesday, I do my stock inventory. If it’s Wednesday I’m teaching a class in the morning. If it’s Thursday or Friday, I’m teaching all day. Each sessions has it’s own agenda depending on who attends, so those couple of hours may or may not entail something I have already planned out.

Now, I know those are the shallow, or the dry jobs that are required of me. The routine that I have delegates my tasks.

However, most of my podcasts, blogs, books, whatever talk about your goals. What is your big dream?

Easy: to write. Or, more specifically, to be an author. Name on scads of books that sits on virtual and tangible shelves that lots of people read and enjoy. That’s the dream.

But apparently that has to be more specific because I need steps to achieving that main, attainable in the future goal.

Most of us have been around the block enough time to know that our number one aim each day is being chained to our desk for an amount of time that allows us to produce content in literary form. That is self explanatory. We also know that once the writing is done and we’ve gone through National Writing Month or whatever and gotten your 50,0000 or more words down for a rough draft, we need to edit. Then we need critique partners, beta readers, proof-readers, and anyone else who can give us some nice, solid opinions before we edit again.

Then we can think about submitting to agents, or start working on self-publishing. We needs to market and promote. We need to sing our own praises the best we can.

And once we run that through for a good while, it’s time to start again. Heck, we’re all probably writing the next book, or books, already.

Eventually we’ll get to where we want to be. Sure, most of us want to be on the NY Times Best Sellers list, so we can just write that down on our dreams list. But what will get us to get to the dream – good old fashioned hard work. That’s going to be true for anything, so yeah, planning out each step of the way is great but what I have to remember, plan on, meditate on, and aim for is to write. every. single. day.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bullet journaling, planners, writing goals, and being a terrible artist

Keeper of the veg @gibsident

I think I've given up on my bullet journal.

Here me out; it’s really time consuming. I used to watch Noelle on Seventeen’s Bullet Journal channel to get ideas on how to set up my weekly and daily spreads. (Little Coffee Fox is good too.) That was fine because it wasn’t not creative, it was just very simple to follow and get basic ideas on options to get yourself going. However, the new host is artistically talented and most of her bullet journaling videos are about doodles and drawing – neither which is can do. While I really appreciate going outside of the box, bullet journaling just seems too much like a sketch book than a planner. If I had loads of time, I would get into it, and I have attempted a few doodles from “How to draw a …” tutorials on Youtube, but that just takes up time and I only have that every other weekend at most.

Also, bullet journals need a lot of equipment to go along with it – brush pens, highlighters, washi tape, etc. I can’t take that all with me when I’m traveling about at work. I can’t very well sit in the lunch room with all of my art supplies just to draw out a weekly spread. It not only looks strange to regular 9-5 people (remember, I work in the library so reading a book is about the only acceptable activity for lunchtime other than eating lunch), but it will get people asking what I’m doing.

And, yes, I know I could set up the spreads with pencil or even pen and do the designing later but again, time consuming.

So, as much as I like my bullet journal it’s ended up being something “fun” to play around with once in a while, but it doesn’t serve the initial purpose of my planning companion to take with me everywhere. I did buy a kid’s journal that has all the spreads set up, like the trackers and books to be read, so I could fill that in and serve the basic purpose of having the bullet journal in the first place.

I have a Happy Planner from the States that I like to fill in when I’m home, but, again, it’s way too heavy and inconvenient to have in a handbag when you’re going around from library to library every day.

What I’ve decided to do is to get a Passion Planner from the States (why are we only obsessed with planning back home?) that should be portable and functional. I also have just a plain notebook that I can jot down the ideas for my blog entries because that was something I wanted to keep track of. (Also, there’s an interesting post comparing the Passion Planner vs Bullet Journal.)

For writing, I honestly don’t know how to keep tabs of my word count and how to set goals for that. I have a handful of book projects I want to work on and I thought the bullet journal would work well in keeping myself on track with my word count, plots, scenes, etc. I think the notebook is just going to have to do the trick.

If I don’t have time to doodle in a bullet journal, I certainly won’t have any time to actually write.

And I will add that setting goals is a strange one. I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts on the subject and still reading Eat that Frog. (Who got the idea that library workers have time to read all day? Puh-lease!) How do people have clear ideas for what they want 10 years from now and how to get to that goal? My goal has always been to write and publish my books (self-published or otherwise). My steps to reaching that goal are the same as they are for everyone – write, edit, rewrite, read, share, edit, rewrite, and so forth. It’s the time that gets me and the time management that I need to keep myself on target as I’m sure it is for most people with a day time job and a ton of books they want to show the world.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

It’s New Year’s Eve - what am I going to do in 2019

Happy New Year! #nye

It’s that time again for making resolutions. I usually make the same tried and true ones - diet, exercise, write, blog, etc. This year, however, I’ve made plans for my resolutions. I’m going to organise my tasks and make small to large goals. The bullet journal will be the main helper on this. I’ve looked at various habit trackers so I have a good sense of how to set up a continuous personal check on my progress. 

Thank God for Orange is the New Black and it’s literary recommendations, otherwise, I wouldn’t have found Eat that Frog. I’m going through this book while planning out my resolutions in my bullet journal. (I took of photo of my bujo with my terrible frog doodle, but I think I’ll spare you all that today.)

According to ETF, you’re supposed to list 10 of your goals (in my case, resolutions) and then decide which one is the most important – which one will make you a better person, have the best impact on your life, etc. That one is usually the toughest and you need to get that one out of the way.

My ugliest frog to eat is my weight. I’ve been going to Weight Watchers since late last year, so I did lose some pounds (the ones I added on over Christmas, but never mind that). I’ve lost using WW before, so I know I can do it, and sometimes that’s just the trouble. You can put that off because eventually you’ll get it done.

Well, I know it’ll make me feel better to get stuck in and get back to my weight loss and exercise goal. While I don’t think I’ll aim for a 15k run or anything like that this year (I’m slow, y’all, and I need to be fit and healthy, not get a medal). So I’ll pack my lunch, plan my dinners, eat cereal in the morning, and get back on the treadmill. That’s the #1 thing I’m going to do in 2019.

The second thing will be to get back to focusing on my writing. Now, I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to go about keeping focus on that since working full time is always the issue with trying to focus on creativity, but I have my bullet journal to track my habits that will include writing in my blog (check mark!), my journal, and my book.

I want to make a series and while one that I have planned and plotted to the extent that I had time frames and family trees has gone past my realm of inspiration, I will have to think about how I want to structure my next series.

I read earlier this week that JK Rowling outlined her 7 books over 5 years. Sheesh. It worked though, didn’t it?

But I plan on doing it this year. So, without further adieu, let me get back to outlining, plotting, and researching. (Also, I have to read more, sheesh!) I’ll post again on how I organized that and maybe give an example of how I set up the bullet journal for my book progress.

Until then, Happy New Year, 2019! Let’s do this.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

9 More Sleeps Until Christmas

For my Downton Abbey peeps.

Yes, that's right. It's almost time again.

This year, I've been really embracing the Christmas spirit. I've been listening to music in the car, wearing my tacky jumpers, and decorated the house like it's Santa's grotto. It must be having the new house, and knowing that we'll have plenty of room for everyone to hang out. (By everyone, I mean me, Mister Pick, the dog, and the two cats now. We still have our boy, Jake, but we've also added Elle to our family.)

For our Christmas build up, we've been to Beamish Christmas, as usual, and we went to the Christmas market at Grey's Monument. This week coming will be our events at work, so, yeah, Santa is coming to town. Soon!

I’ve still been working on my bullet journaling, but the plans of world domination with my blog and plethora of eBooks will be on hold once again. I applied for an apprenticeship at work, and I’m pleased to report I got a place. Next year will be different with that plus the new systems we’re implementing in the libraries. It’s going to be different, but a good change of pace.

So here’s hoping that Christmas will be a nice time to relax and get back on track, so the New Year can be full of new adventures.