A Planning Tool That Just Might Be My Answer

Bullet Journal, Eureka!, Planning Tools, Time Management -

A Planning Tool That Just Might Be My Answer

Plan in action. Love that theme for 2017. So much to learn and grow into. Which I'm in the midst of right now. 

This weekend we had a big snowstorm, which in my part of the world is rare. We got between and 8 and 9 inches in my neighborhood, the largest snowfall in a single storm that I've experienced since I moved here 13 years ago. And for a native Los Angelena, I'm still learning a lot about living in a winter snowstorm.

So while I enjoyed my snow days, it changed my plans, and I quickly lost my focus. I got distracted. I got scared. I got emotionally paralyzed. What if the power goes out? What if I run out of toilet paper because I forgot to get some at the store? What if I have to drive after it freezes up? What if, what if, what if? Needless to say, I spent a lot of time reading my Facebook feed to distract myself from my fear instead of turning to my plan. Old habits die hard, even for professional coaches. Luckily, this desire for distraction yielded an unexpected treasure. I clicked on a link, which led me to an article, which led me to a video. All that clicking changed my weekend, and from today's vantage point, my future, too.

I discovered the Bullet Journal. A friend mentioned it a couple years back when it was first introduced, and while I looked at it then, it didn't make sense to me. It didn't click. But, Saturday morning as I watched a "flip-through" video, it took hold. My heart knew this was what I needed. I didn't know how, I just knew I needed it. But, since it wasn't making sense in my brain, I dismissed it. I thought it was neat, but then, I put my phone down and did some dishes. "That's great for others, but not for me." But, like all truth, my heart wouldn't let go. I couldn't stop thinking about it. As I puttered around the apartment, I turned the Bullet Journal approach over and over in my mind, exploring how I would set my journal up, what pages I would include and which I would omit. By Saturday night, I was rummaging my office for a blank journal and started brainstorming lists. By the time I went to bed, I had four pages of ideas. Four pages!! Sunday morning, I awoke, still enamored, but unable to put a mark on the page. Ah Hesitation, thou art a powerful temptress! So I did more research, watched the starter video again, and let the idea simmer like a good spaghetti sauce. Thankfully, on Monday, I spoke with a treasured friend, and that conversation sparked action. (I never cease to be amazed at how a conversation can bring clarity, confidence and courage. One of the many reasons I love being a coach, and it was nice to be reminded what it feels like to be on the receiving end!)

As I put together my personal/business journal on Snow Day Monday, I began to realize how well it would apply to my job, too. I struggle constantly at work to manage all kinds of information, perpetually changing details, and the reactionary culture I work in. It steals a lot of my energy, and I'm actively praying for solutions that will help me improve that situation. Poof!! A planning tool that just might be my answer.

Flash forward to Tuesday back at work. I knew setting up my journal was a top priority for me, but I also knew I didn't have a ton of time to do so. I was already 9 work hours behind due to the weather (that's a huge chunk when I only have 35 per week), but I also needed to get it started so I could be more efficient. Since I'm all about working smarter not harder, I jumped in with swagger. "Aye, Mateys! Just try to stop me! Aaargh!!" I started with the Future Log, which helped me list all the relevant events by month, and added a few lists as time allowed. However, that single piece of the Bullet Journal format, the Future Log, brought my stress level down by mid-afternoon, and I was even able to organize the pile of papers on my desk before I left for the day because I felt like I had time to do so. I had a great sense of satisfaction leaving my journal on my desk, ready to continue tailoring it to my advantage when I return tomorrow - something I haven't felt since I started over 9 months ago.

So how does this relate to you, my readership? Why share this with you? Because I'm super-excited by this discovery, and I want to share it widely. By adding this single tool for planning and real-time data management, I feel less anxious. It helped me feel as though I have control over the uncontrollable, gave me confidence in where I need to focus my attention not simply list what needs to be done, and renewed my hope that I might be able to "catch up" or even "get ahead". (And considering I'm in all stages of project management for multiple projects all the time, this would be a miracle. A miracle, I tell you!!) But more importantly, if I'm going to put my business plans into action, if I'm going to share my gifts with you to help you create peace in your life, I must improve how I manage my Day-Job, the emotions it stimulates, and the time I have for my business.

Great reminder that we're all still growing, huh.

If you're interested in learning more about this system, I recommend checking out www.bulletjournal.com because you really need to start at the source. To watch Ryder's intro video, click here. It's short and to the point, and it's a great video for the basics. Fortunately, I was also directed to a flip-through video, that while much longer, really helped me wrap my head around how I could use this tool for my purposes. Sometimes you need to see examples to help get the creativity flowing. Bobo Berry did a great job with this video, which you can watch here.

I look forward to the ongoing discovery this tool is triggering for me, and I expect to have more stories to share with you soon. I can already see how this can work for many of my clients, and I have hopes of creating a tutorial of my own. Wouldn't that be fun?

Until next time, live peace.


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