I have been experimenting with using a bullet journal for a couple of months. This provided the basis for setting goals which I collated based on the collections and tasks in my journal. I listed them in no particular order and rated each goal according to 3 criteria;
- Causes stress
- Bigger Life (based on this concept)
There was no one clear winner; they were all ties (2 scored 8, 4 scored 7, 4 scored 6 and 2 scored 5) so I had to tie break all of them which clearly demonstrates just how hard it is for me to prioritize! The two 8's I put into order myself because it seemed obvious to me what needed to be tackled first. So that is a good start. Another 2 I removed from the list because they are not really goals (they are more like chores) which leaves me with a 10 month project.
Looking at the List
When I looked at the list it was a bit of a surprise as to how I would be spending the next six months, as my focus is definitely more on Bigger Life and Fun! than reducing stress. Then again those two are stress reducers so it makes sense at this point. I analysed the order of the list for a moment and considered moving it around and then stopped myself. In reality, if anything major needs to be dealt with I will deal with it. So I am going to stick with my first impulse. A few moments later I realised I had forgotten something and considered re-doing the list (not a good idea at all!), but the fact I didn't remember it until I was done indicates it's not a priority, so I have made it month 11.
Feel better more often
In general the purpose is for me is to feel better more often:
- Continue with all the normal daily activities; errands, chores, going to work, getting enough sleep, keeping in close contact with family & friends etc.
- Get more rest; keep gaps between appointments, read more, create brain space through focus and to stop worrying!
- Experiment and build new habits; try something new or try something that's been on a list for a while. (Everything should be sustainable.)
- Prioritise; if something falls into a different month can it wait? If not then I should tackle it immediately. Otherwise I add it to a collection and shelve it until then.
- Rely less on lists and more on planning and doing; reduce build up, stress and worry.
- Declutter; in every sense of the word. I need to be more ruthless!
- To stick to it; even if it doesn't work that should help me to move on!
I have a pretty new notebook which I have used to start the new Happiness Project Bullet Journal. The future log is for one year and I have written the month look ahead for October and the first collection for October; exercise. Immediately I can see that it's not possible to do everything in the collection during one month and I will have to be ruthless and prioritise further. This is good I think, like the 48 hours left on the earth idea. I only have October so what would I really like to do? What is realistic? What could I postpone until later? What is sustainable?
Right now it seems extremely unlikely that I will be able to stick to it and that I will be trying to do too much. The impact of activities that happen on a weekly basis is clear (it cuts up the week before I even start) and maybe I just have to accept that it's not realistic to do the same things every week. Hopefully, if I can stick to it, it will reveal what's really important, what I actually enjoy and what I am willing to let go of.
Until now I was using a weekly overview but it might be more useful to use the monthly look ahead. If I stumble during a week I get frustrated whereas with a whole month overview it gives better perspective; you can see how busy you already are. August and September were extremely busy. I didn't look at the monthly overview enough to take this into account (I was quite run down by mid-September) and I think monitoring the month could be the key to keeping everything manageable.
It's exciting and intimidating... I feel like I am really close to making a big step forward, it's just out of reach! I have felt like this for a while and I want to try something new.
On 30th Sept I have reserved the evening to prepare for October in detail. For info, this is my list of Happiness Project goals in their priority order:
- Studio time
- The Clean Sheet
- Relationships (including catch ups and vacation planning)
- Talk Dutch
- Finishing the flat
- Evening projects (e.g. knitting)
- Sewing machine
Like I said, I am not convinced that the order makes sense at first glance, although in a Bigger Life way it does and if something is really bothering me it's obvious I need to prioritise it or simply act on it. While I am struggling with decision making in a general way it's better just to take away the focus from my worries and to direct it onto other more useful things that I know are life enhancing.
I originally wrote this post in an email which contained this line ‘When I write emails like this it's obvious that writing is something I really enjoy and find extremely useful!’ Although The Clean Sheet isn’t planned as a focus until December ideally I would like to write about the experience, but we’ll see how it goes…
If you decide to try something similar I would love to hear about it.
Co-founder, The Clean Sheet