Bullet Journal monthly review: July 2017

Hello friends!

July is wrapping up so I thought I would do a review of this month in my bullet journal. This was the first month I did a theme all the way throughout the month. For the most part I did like it for a few reasons. The first being that I didn’t have to go through the dilemma of picking new colors each week. Another plus to this method was I had something to draw in the blank spaces, so my pages looked a lot more full, which I enjoy. Then finally I just liked the overall look of the month being all in the same color scheme. It’s easy to flip through the pages and see that all of these things go together.

If I look at my monthly tracker, the month started off really well. I filled things out daily and didn’t miss too many of my daily habits. But then in the last week of the month I really fell off the rails. I wasn’t feeling well, I wasn’t managing my time well, and I just didn’t get things done.

July Trackers 2017 | Alifeofprojecst.JPG

I did several doodles this month rather than printing pictures to fill in blank spaces. I like this method but sometimes I didn’t manage to color the doodles in so it looks a little sad still. I will probably go back and still print a few pictures of the big events of the month.

July Doodles | Alifeofproject.JPG

I also realized I’m maybe trying to tackle too much in my daily habits. I think I am going to scale back for August, and once I am consistent with whatever I’ve chosen, then I can work on replacing some or adding in some additional habits. The big ones I have not done well will are my “No TV” goal, my violin practice goal and my “Finances” goal. I definitely want to work on finances for August so I’ll be keeping that one but I will probably let some others go.

July Bujo Trackers 2017 | Alifeofprojects.JPG

Overall, I really liked keeping the same theme and I think I’m going to scale back on some habits to have a better balance in my life for August. I’ve already picked the theme for August, and I will be switching to a new bullet journal as my current one is full, so watch for both of those posts!

Bullet Journal Monthly July 2017 | Alifeofprojects.jpg

Bullet Journal Sleep Tracking

Bullet Journal Sleep Tracker | LifeofProjects.jpg

 

I’ve been on the struggle bus for a few weeks, and this past week is clear evidence of the struggle. For some reason I keep waking up in the middle of the night and lying awake for 2-3 hours.

I guess I shouldn’t say I lay there. I used to, but this happened so much I read up on what to do if you wake up and can’t go back to sleep. I’ve been trying all the tips: Don’t look at your phone, don’t look at the clock, get out of bed, go read a book, do some meditation, don’t watch tv. Tried it all.

Still awake.

Because this happens so much I’ve started tracking it in my Bullet Journal. I used filled in circles for nights I slept all night and open circles for nights I was awake for more than 20 minutes. Then I tracked the total sleep time in a line graph.

Sleep Tracking | LifeofProjects.JPG

That was a week ago and here’s this week:

Sleep Tracker | LifeofProjects.JPG

As you can see, it’s all over the place. The only reason I got into the “green zone” there is because of benedryl and…wine.

I think what impacts my sleep most has been my lack of consistency. So I worked hard all weekend to set myself up well for this week. Of course that included a lot of planning! I planned out our meals, did meal prep, planned my workouts, set aside things I would need this week, and of course made my plan in my Bullet Journal.

I am hoping I can stay on track this week and not let life-things get in my way and impact my sleep schedule.

This month I also added a “Bed before 9pm” and a “no TV” tracker to my monthly trackers. So far I’ve not been great at it but after reviewing this weekend I feel like I can make progress and do better the second half of the month. Either way, I’m going to keep working on my sleep habits and tracking them for now!

Bedtime Tracker | LifeofProjects.JPG

Do you track your sleep in your Bullet Journal? What parts of sleep do you track? Has it helped you? Leave a comment below!

Bullet Journal July Weekly #3

Bullet Journal July Weekly | LifeofProjects.jpg

 

How’s it going?

Over here things have been a little hectic. I’ve been really exhausted and not able to keep up with things. So Friday I finally gave in and went to the doctor for some tests. She had some thoughts on what it might be (nothing serious) but we are waiting on the test results to come back before she makes any suggestions.

In the meantime I’m working on being more consistent so that perhaps I will be less stressed, sleep better, and therefore have more energy. Consistency was my word of the year for 2017 so I’m trying to keep that in mind as I move forward.

I often lose consistency over the weekends as is evidenced by this blank page:

Bullet Journal Fail | Lifeofprojects.JPG

It wouldn’t be a big deal if it only happened on super busy weekends…but it’s every weekend. Every weekend I have to go back and fill things in. I am going to try and work on this in the next week.

I also don’t do the best job at filling in my weekly spread to add things into the week as they come…but I did try to fill it in a little this weekend….so maybe that counts?

Week of July 16 | LifeofProjects.JPG

I’m sticking with the cactus/succulent theme both in my Bullet Journal…and in my house….

New Family Members | Lifeofprojects.JPG

These little guys came home with us this weekend from our local nursery! We got a discount since that one seems to be looking a little worse for wear but I’m hoping I can rehab him. We shall see.

For this week, again more succulents. Still tracking sleep and trying to keep on top of things. I really think I’m liking the monthly theme rather than weekly.

Before The Pen | LifeofProjects.JPG

How is your week going? Do you use monthly themes or weekly? No theme? Let me know in the comments!

Bullet Journal July Theme

Hello friends!

Trying to get back into this blogging thing. My good friend whom I shall call A…inspired me by asking a ton of questions about my Bujo and now she’s hooked too! So I thought I’d make this a regular part of my blog.

This month I decided to try a theme for the whole month. I’ve not done that in the past, usually I switch things up every week but with work and everything else that has been getting a little hard to deal with.

I decided to go with the theme of cacti and succulents this month since July is pretty hot and dry where I live. I’m also good at drawing these things so….cheating. 🙂

July Bullet Journal Monthly | LifeofProjects

I gave myself space to add in my monthly To Do’s and played around a little with the July header. I’m not sure if I love the lines dropping in to the monthly boxes but because July takes up 6 week-lines and I loathe half-boxes….I had to make it work.

July Bullet Journal Monthly | LifeofProjects

For the weekly spread I’ve got my standard format pretty set in stone. I like equal sized boxes for each day, even weekends, even if I don’t fill them all out at the start of the week. I need to get better at going back and filling them in during the week…

This week was the 4th of July here in the States, but it’s also my dad’s birthday. This is the first year I haven’t been able to spend it with him so it was a little hard.

I also added a sleep tracker that you can kind of see there beside the weather tracker. I’ve not been feeling energized and….I think I might have to work on my sleep hygeine! I’m adding this tracker to this week as well because….I didn’t hit my target of 8 hours any nights. 😦

July Bullet Journal Monthly | LifeofProjects

This is what my daily looks like right now. I’ve switched up the daily header for July and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I love banners….but I like the fully colored in look better than the half-colored….but the issue is coloring around the tiny sun and rain symbols. It gets really hard not to have the yellow get covered up by the color of the banner.

I did really like having the set color theme and having the cactus theme to add in days when I didn’t really have much on the schedule.

July Bullet Journal Monthly | LifeofProjects

Now it’s time for BuJo Confessional Time.

I don’t finish things.

Yep. I plan them but I don’t finish them. And it’s almost always the weekend when I fall off the bujo wagon. Friday went well….mostly. I was a little rushed as we had a post-work outing with a friend so I didn’t go back and fill things in.

Then Saturday….I slept in because we were out WAY late….and then all day Saturday we were busy with grocery shopping and housework. I did not sit down almost all day Saturday and then we went out to hear a friend’s friend’s band play.

Sunday…surely I can get some planning done. The majority of Sunday morning the husband and I went out for a walk…8 miles so not a short one. Then we came home and did our meal prep for the week. This usually takes 3-5 hours so finally around 5pm I managed to prep for next week but wasn’t able to fill in the weekend.

It was a lot of fun but…I felt very unorganized all weekend and it tends to bleed over into the next week. Normally what I will do to deal with the blank space is go back over the month, note where I’ve got a lot of blank space (sometimes it’s left intentionally) and go through my photos and select ones to print and add to my pages. I print the pictures out on sticker paper so it’s easy to just add them in.

What do you do with your blank space? Have you tried one of the photo printers for your BuJo? Leave me a comment!

July Bullet Journal Monthly | LifeofProjects

Project: Planner Peace and Why I Don’t Believe

1.28.16 Calendar

Ok, I’m calling bullshit on “Planner Peace”.

There. I said it. Planner peace is bullshit.

Planner peace, in theory, and in my understanding, is having one planner that is perfect and does all the planner things you need it to do. It tracks your water intake, your meeting schedules, your kid’s soccer practice, your boss’s nieces birthday party. It keeps your grocery list, your dry cleaning receipt, and your tax information. All the things! All in one place!!

It sounds great, right? Your life is finally organized. You just need this ONE thing. This ONE system will solve all your problems.

But let’s be honest, that isn’t going to happen for most of us.

Or at least in my opinion, that’s not happening. At least not for me.

My problem with planner peace is that it makes me feel like I’m not doing it right. I’ve got two planners. And a system on my computer. And then the calendar on my phone. Planner peace makes me feel like this is wrong. But what if I’m not wrong? What if planner peace is wrong? After all, entropy is natural, right??

At any rate, I don’t want planner peace. If you do, that’s fine, I’m happy for you. But for me…I like planner FUN. I like trying new planners, themes, layouts, stickers, etc. It’s FUN. Why should I give that fun up just for one system?

Right now I’ve got 3 main organizational tools. Ok 4. Let’s be honest.

Paper-planner-wise, I use the Bullet Journal system for my daily planner. This goes with me everywhere. It’s a basic notebook, no stickers, not super-exciting. However I DO sometimes doodle and journal in it. I use it mainly for my daily schedule, to-do list, and habit tracking. Here’s a sample day:

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I also keep a long-term calendar and other long-term planning things in it…like my upcoming half-marathon schedule.

1.28.16 BuJo

Then, for mostly personal tasks, and for just keeping my week overview organized, I use a more traditional, super sticker’d, planner.

1.28.16 Lilly Planner.jpg

For me, this planner lacks the detail and minutiae of what my daily life needs. However I love it, I love the stickers, and every Sunday it makes me sit down and review the week ahead. The Bu Jo does NOT make me sit my happy ass down and figure out my upcoming week. I mean it could…but….I like this one better. Plus I’d run through like a notebook a month if I did weekly planning and To-Do lists AND meeting notes all in one place.

Then, I also use two computer systems. I use google calendar for super-long-term things…like if I by tickets to Elton John and the concert is 6 months away. It goes in the google calendar then later it gets transferred to my weekly and then to my daily paper planners.

Then for shopping lists, lists of movies to rent, and my work-related notes, I use Evernote. For more about Evernote, feel free to check out my other blog here. (#shamelessplug #idontwanttorewriteitsoohwell) The nice thing about Evernote is that it syncs to the cloud and I can access it from my phone, computer, or sister’s boyfriend’s uncle’s computer if I have to. Realistically, I could run everything out of Evernote, but the paper planner and the super-fun stickers make me pay more attention to my schedule than Evernote does. Not gonna lie.

So some of you might say that I have NOT achieved planner peace. I won’t necessarily disagree, but I’m also not actively seeking it. I’m perfectly fine with the system I have, but I’ll also be ok if I decide to change it in the future. In fact, I KNOW it will change rather soon and I look forward to it. I have requested (and bought and then exchanged for cash) a Kikki-K planner from my mother for my birthday. So eventually…either around my birthday or maybe next year, I’ll be switching to a vertical layout. No idea how I’ll like that but I think it will be fun to experiment.

What are your thoughts on planner peace? Do you think you’ve achieved it? Did you think you achieved it and were then proven wrong?

Project Planner Peace| Lifeofprojects

Pipsticks Subscription Review – Welcome Box

Have you all heard of Pipsticks?? It’s a monthly sticker subscription service curated by Maureen, the Head Honcho. She created the company after spending tons of cash on stickers for her kids. Pipsticks offers several different levels of membership, for both adults and kids! (Also I’d like to just inform you that I was not asked to review this box, Maureen doesn’t know I’m reviewing this unless for some reason she follows me on instagram, the box I’m reviewing was paid for with my money from my pocket, of my own volition.)

I’ve had my eye on Pipsticks for awhile, I think I came across it on someone’s instagram…I honestly can’t remember. But the thought of monthly stickers mailed to my door makes the 80’s kid in me squeal with excitement! I finally caved and signed up on New Years Eve. According to their website, orders/subscriptions placed before the 1st of the month would arrive to your mailbox by the 15th. And turns out, that was true! I got my order last week!!

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Here’s what was inside:

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 3

All told there are 20 different sheets of stickers of varying quality and number per sheet, a pre-stamped post card, and a cardstock 5X7ish frameable print/quote. There was also a welcome letter that makes me think this is the special welcome pack and not the January Monthly. (Instagram stalking further confirms this thought) Personally I don’t mind that this is different than the monthly that everyone got. I would be willing to bet that having a pre-arranged “welcome kit” ready to go, allows Pipsticks to ship as fast as they do for new customers. Pretty smart thinking in my opinion.

Rather than going over every single sticker in detail, I decided to pick my top 5 favorites to share with you. So here goes.

#5 – Korean Stickers

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 8.jpg

I love Korean stickers!! Now I could be wrong, but I’m 99% sure these are pulled from sticker packs by a Korean company (or two) I’ve seen on Amazon. It may be a few different companies but I recognized the branding on one. Either way, these are super fun and they are sheets I didn’t have. Now, some of you might be put-off by getting sheets from existing sticker packs but to me, that’s the whole point. Pipsticks never claimed to have originally created stickers or anything like that. Most subscription boxes are curated from existing companies. And I also like that I can get variety without having to buy a pack of identical sheets. Since I had seen this company/brand before but love the stickers anyway, this set gets the bottom of the top ranking.

#4 – Opaque Graphics

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 6.jpg

Hello, what’s this? I’ve never seen a sticker like this before. And honestly I’m only 70% sure it is a sticker because I didn’t fiddle with the back of it enough to confirm that. I HATE accidentally peeling off backing because it NEVER GOES BACK HOW IT WAS. At any rate, this one is kind of an opaque sticker (I think) with some super-fun graphics. It has almost an eggshell finish so I can’t decide if I can write on it or not. It’s too big to be used in my planner but I think it would make a fun addition to some penpal letters!

#3 – Around the World

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 4.jpg

These are some really adorable die-cut stickers with different cultures represented. I can’t decide if these will be planner-stickers or penpal-stickers. If can find some flags from around the world I could make a fun international planner spread…hmm…

#2 – Matte Writeable Stickers

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 2.jpg

HOW AWESOME ARE THESE?!?! They are a plain paper matte sticker that you can write on, or color with colored pencils, or just keep as nice black and whites! I want to know where these came from and BUY THEM ALL.

#1 – Qubies!

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 5.jpg

So I have no idea what these are actually called but I’m calling them Qubies because they look like little cube people…or the Qubes plush figures. I don’t know what characters these are supposed to be…the top one kind of looks like Dr. Who to me but these are just too cute for words!!!

Overall, I loved this welcome box from Pipsticks. The print was awesome and will go on my desk at work. I’ve already sent off the post-card to a friend who collects them, and I just love the stickers. I’ve read a few reviews that say it’s not worth it for the price, but if you consider how much it would cost (both time and money) to buy all these packages and split them up with friends so you came out with the same stickers…yeah for me it’s worth it. Also I think the kid packs would make AWESOME gifts for my nieces and nephew….I might get them a 3 month subscription, crown myself “Best Aunt Ever” and call it good…

Have you tried Pipsticks? Any other subscriptions for crafters? Do you want me to share my February pack when it comes?? Let me know!

Pipsticks Review | LifeofProjects.wordpress.com.jpg

 

Project Planner: January Layout

It’s also “Project start blogging regularly” time. I had to take the last 6 months or so off. We had some family illnesses to deal with. My dad is thankfully ok, but I did lose another family member to cancer, sadly. It’s been rough but I’m so thankful my dad’s cancer is gone. It was really just luck that we caught it when we did.

In other news, I completed my PhD so that was taking up a lot of my writing time and efforts. I’ve got a few weeks before I start my new job, so I’m using this time to get organized, plan my year, and get some personal things in order.

As you may have noticed, last year I developed a full-blown planner obsession. I’ve always been a planner…I can’t remember a time that I didn’t have a planner (except for pre-high school, but ever since then). I used to use a Day Runner yearly planner…the plastic-y kind that you could slip photos in to the covers of…that was my high school go-to. I still have some of them somewhere…so hilarious to re-read. When I taught high school, I had more of a lesson planner than a daily planner but I MISSED my regular planner. I felt like post-college I should be all grown up and adult without a net.

Then, going back to grad school I got a new planner (YAY) and I also carried a second “To-Do” notebook for lists and meeting notes (I was basically bullet journaling before I knew what it was).

Around the last year of my PhD program I found Passion Planners thanks to DomesticatedAcademic…and then I found the #plannercommunity on Instagram. And that’s when the addiction started.

Excuses to hoard stickers again…WHAT???

1.5.16 Sticker Hoarding

I even went through my closets and found my sticker collection from middle school. Not gonna lie. I had planner stickers then.

These days I’m using my Lilly Pulitzer 18 month agenda for my personal planning and a bullet journal style notebook for my work and daily to-do listing. I love my Lilly Planner so much. It makes the 8th grader in me so happy…however I would feel really silly taking something like this in to a business meeting:

 

1.5.16 Lilly Planner

But that being said, since this is more of my personal daily planner, and my personal blogging site, we’re going to go with it. Plus, it’s really helping me stay on track with things I want to get done. I do include work-related events in it, but not specifics.

With the monthly view, I can track bills, birthdays, and events. I find that writing it down on paper really helps me remember what I’ve got coming up. Sure, it’s in my google calendar, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s committed to memory and I’ll actually do or remember the event. It forces me to sit down, look at my google calendar, and see what is coming up. The decorating is really kind of a motivator for me to sit down with a planner. I think that if it was just plain and I was just writing down what is in my google calendar, I would quit after awhile. But the different colors and stickers really do make me want to take the time to be organized about my schedule.

Here’s part of this month’s layout:

January Monthly | LifeofProjects

As you can see, I added my blogging schedule to this month. Hopefully this will keep me on track and I can blog more often.

What do you do to stay on track? Do you use a paper planner? An online system? I’d love to hear about it.

Next time I’m going to go over some of my Bullet Journal pages. Stay tuned!

Project January Planner | LifeofProjects