To Journal or Not To Journal

That is the question.  For today.

First off, my apologies for going AWOL this past week and a bit.  We headed off on a road trip to see family on the Friday before last, and when the kids and I got home the following Monday I finally came down with the lurgy that had been threatening.  Solo parenting and nasty-lurgy time don’t tend to encourage the mental capacity to blog once a long day is done, hence my vanishing act.

Today I am back, and with a question…

Do you keep a journal?  If so, what kind?

A long time ago, when still working full time, I used a task list / appointment set up in a day-per-page diary.  It served me well at that time and I realised how much I had been missing that helpmate at the end of last year. So I thought I’d give an expensive, pretty, day planner a go as a method of planning and tracking, mimicking what I used to do.  Sadly it bit the dust about half-way through the year.
Unfortunately I knew I still needed something, as keeping on task has become harder and harder as the kids and I go about our daily lives.  Things get missed, turn up as a surprise last minute panic, or get put off indefinitely.  My head was about to explode with the lack of productivity (yes, I may be one of those people) and focus.

A while ago I stumbled across the Bullet Journal and was taken with the simplicity of the idea, but never went so far as to put it in to practice. At the point I first saw it, I hadn’t realised how much I missed the analog organisational tools and was still trialling a number of digital options.  Then it faded from memory until a couple of months ago.

It’s implementable in any spare notebook you currently have on hand.  Hurray for not needing mega-bucks planners!  Far more flexible and creative than a store-bought book (as flexi or creatie as you can be bothered to make it).  And best of all, I really think it’s going to be something I can stick with, most of the time.

There are a few groups online that you can connect to and get inspiration from – and by crikey it’s worth it for the beautiful and individual ways people use the basic ideas.
Over at G+ there’s the Bullet Journal community and at Facebook there’s the official page of the Bullet Journal creator.  Don’t forget to search Instagram for some wonderfully inspiring glimpses into other people’s journals, try this search to see what you think.

As I type this I’m in the process of preparing my journal for December and I’ve discovered that a bit of inspiration from other creative types is all I’ve needed to up my game from simple daily lists, scrawled in random pens, to actually taking some time and effort in laying out the month ahead.

I can see this happily marrying both sides of my brain… and hopefully aiding with a jump in focus, concentration and productivity.  Not to mention indulging my love of paper products and colourful pens.  I may have happened to mention that a good quality dot grid notebook would make a wonderful Christmas gift this year.  Fingers crossed that the powers that be were listening at the time I was speaking.

In the meantime, here’s some inspiration for you to check out.

~ Boho Berry
~ Passion Themed Life
~ Bulletjournaljoy


The scales have tipped

It would appear that the scales are not evenly balanced in my life at the moment.
Just as I was getting close to re-establishing a regular reading habit, I chose to involve myself in NaBloPoMo and I find myself with no spare evening left in which to crack open a book.

By the time I’ve given enough thought to a topic, sat down to write it, added any suitable images and then corrected all the terrible grammar, it’s well after my scheduled bed time.  And with young kids you need a scheduled bed time.

I know it’s because I’m trying to do NaBloPoMo on two blogs.  That’s twice the thinking, planning, image creation, and horrible English to get through!

It’s congenital – this attempt at juggling far too many balls.  Ever since I was a kid I loved to cram as much in to a small space as possible.  I can see in my minds eye my bed as an 11 year old… me sitting up on the pillow and the entire bed covered in soft toys.  It was always a game to fit in as much as possible.   I have no idea where this aspect of my personality came from, but it’s still working it’s magic today.  The multi-tasking I posted about earlier is another example of the how this cramming appears in my day-to-day life.

But as an obliger, and this is my weird version of external accountability… a relatively tiny blogging audience, I am not going to let myself slack off and miss a day of writing.  Clearly my obligation to readers here is going to overwhelm my wish to make enough free time to do some actual reading myself.
So for the duration of November I’m facing scales that have tipped from reading to writing.

My challenge from the end of the month is going to be striking a balance.  Enough time to read, with a hearty dose of writing thrown in.

How do you regular book-loving bloggers do it?!
I’d love to know how you manage to get enough time to do both.
(Please don’t tell me you read at superhuman speed! Or is it that you don’t have kids?)

Follow me little internet, follow me

Following on from Timethief’s comment on my post yesterday about content theft, I duly re-opened my Firefox and installed Lightbeam.  In the time it took me to open my blog and sign in I had already amassed 14 third party sites.  Thankfully for WordPress I could identify all the sites as belonging to the various different plugins or companies clearly associated with what I do here at the blog.  Still, two pages and one site – 14 parties involved in me doing that!

I’m guessing that it is going to be a totally different experience when I go real-life browsing.  Larger numbers and less recognisable names will, no doubt, be the order of the day.  I’m trying to remember that this is the world wide web after all, and that some of the tracking is functionally based. (I hope!)

Okay, I’m taking a deep breath and going in.

Wow, WordPress, Facebook and Google+ came up with about 24 sites between them while I was browsing, but heck! Stuff has nearly 40 third party sites.  Now I wonder if all news related sites are the same?!

So, signing off from this short browsing experience has left me with visiting 6 actual sites and having 128 third party sites actually connect with me.  !!!!!!!
The next step is to find a source of news that isn’t quite as crazy about 3rd party sites as Stuff!

I’ll report back if and when I find something not quite so creeper-stalker-like.

A bookish question for you…

If you were to recommend one book blog to follow… what would it be?

My answer to that is extremely easy.

It is Tales from the Reading Room.

I have loved Litlove’s style and way with words from the moment I was introduced to her blog.  In an instant I was both inspired and intimidated.
Many of my “Want to Read” list have come from her interesting reviews, and the range of books reviewed keeps me ever awake to the opportunities out there.
The only downside is that my reading speed could not possibly keep up with the list that I have generated.

What about you?  What is the one that you are compelled to recommend to all of your bookish friends, even when it threatens to turn you in to a bore?