Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Color of Success

What is the color of success? It's kind of a trick question, because for many people, the answer is multicolor. Color coding can be a huge boon to organization, which, we all hope, leads to a successful outcome. Teachers have known this for years. That's why every kid needs a green folder for math, say, and an orange one for reading. Then a teacher can tell at a glance whether little Timmy is literally on the right page. 

And how did Timmy become the name we all use in these hypotheticals? Is it from the old TV show Lassie, wherein Timmy found himself in all kinds of predicaments but never actually fell in a well? But I digress...

In my last post, I mentioned that I have fine-point markers for color coding, and I have been using them regularly. Each day, I mark out the time I spend on work (my actual job), exercise, down time/self-care, food prep/eating, errands, writing, chores, TV, and miscellaneous. 

I know this is such basic stuff, but it has really helped me me track where my time goes. That in turn makes me more aware of what I'm doing from moment to moment. This is really important because I tend to get lost in my head for extended intervals. Sometimes I think I have one of those Star Trek portals in my brain, where I jump in and jump back out, and two days have passed.

Anyway, I'm on board this color-coding train now and hoping to keep on rolling. Tips for color coding? Leave a comment. Also, check out this short article for inspiration.

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Planner, The Plan

I know enough about myself and my bad habits to understand that I can't just wing it through this year of discipline. As you may imagine, winging it is how I came to need discipline in the first place! I would say that I'm a fairly organized person, but accountability regarding how I spend my time and energy is lacking.

My tool of choice to help rectify this is a loose-leaf planner. I bought it a few years ago and have been tweaking the process since, with varying degrees of success. I think I'm pretty close and am happy with my setup for 2021. 

I know there are countless apps and online tools for scheduling and accountability, but I really am a pen and paper person. I like the feel of it, and research shows that writing things down increases the brain's engagement and boosts memory.

Having said that, you will not see my planner on Pinterest. I'm not opposed to fun tape and stickers, but there comes a point where those embellishments just mean more time and more decisions. I have my fine-tipped markers for color-coding, and for now, that will have to do.

We're about two weeks into the new year, and my success rate for daily tracking is pretty good. But I'm always looking for new tricks, so if you have any tips for planner success, leave me a comment!

Oh, and if you're inspired to shop for a planner, New York Magazine has this list of the best choices for 2021.

Friday, January 8, 2021

My Writer Word of the Year

Dog discipline (Also: not my dog)
Every year, the members of my writing critique group each choose a word to guide us through the coming 12 months. Last year, as you may know, my word was Joy. My sister gifted me with the book Joyful, by Ingrid Fetell Lee, and I used it to inspire me through what I called Joy Project 2020. It was a good word for a tough year, and I very much appreciated being reminded to seek joy in my home, work, and relationships.  

On Wednesday, my critique group met via Zoom to discuss our words for 2021. The list included submit, thrive, open, close, and a couple that are still under consideration. In the past, I've chosen feel-good words such as joy and actionable words such as engage. This year, my word is discipline. 

I'll delve a little deeper in future posts, but the big reason I chose discipline for 2021 is that I've realized how frequently my bad habits get in my way. If someone else thwarted me as often as I thwart myself, I'd be none too happy. And yet, I let myself off the hook time and again.

So, I'm setting out into this brave new year with the dual goals of weakening bad habits and strengthening good ones. I'm sure it will be an ongoing process, and if you have any suggestions for success, leave a comment! I think I will need all the help I can get.

I hope your new year is off to a satisfactory start!