Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Yesterday

  • spoke with my parents for our weekly Sunday morning phone chat. Mom had some of her meds adjusted recently and she sounded much improved on the phone. It was so good to hear.
  • managed to get some small chores out of the way (paid bills! gathered tax documents!) and then settled down to schoolwork while Scot sat and watched movies with the kids.
  • The movies got loud. I bugged out to the local library for about an hour and a half so I could work in QUIET. There were at least 6 other people in that study room and you could have heard a pin drop. FANTASTIC.
  • Came home, managed to feed everyone some kind of dinner, then got kids ready for bed as necessary.
  • Watched some Veronica Mars then collapsed. T-I-R-E-D.

Today

  • Jamie didn’t have preschool today due to a teacher planning day so after I got Liam off to school, I made some phone calls to set up a couple of doctor’s appointments. One of them was to take Jamie in for his last big set of vaccines before kindergarten. He’d been unable to get them at his well-child checkup because he wasn’t well.
  • Jamie and I went out and dropped our taxes off at the accountant and then headed up to the pediatrician’s office so that Jamie could get his shots. He was not best pleased with this turn of events but the kid was a trooper. He sat still, he didn’t scream, he didn’t cry. I was so proud of him. We went out to lunch to celebrate.
  • After lunch we stopped at my in-laws house so Jamie could visit with Grandma. I hung out for awhile and then left Jamie there and headed back to our house to start chores here.
  • I did the boys’ laundry, I cleaned the front hall and the powder room, I vacuumed the library AGAIN (dang dog hair!), cleaned up and vacuumed the family room, and steam cleaned the couch. The dirty water from that little chore was DISGUSTING.
  • Jamie came home around 3:00 pm saying his arm hurt from his shots so I gave him some Motrin and then we picked up Liam at the bus stop.
  • typical afternoon shenanigans ensued.
  • Scot came home, dinner was had by all, and then I sat down to do more school work.
  • Jamie went to bed early since he was feeling punk from the vaccines. Liam did his homework then went to bed. I finished my school stuff for the day and then finished loading the dishwasher and ran it.
  • blogged
  • I will probably watch some kind of TV to chill out before sleep and then collapse into bed.

Tomorrow

  • It’s Tuesday so that means grocery shopping. Jamie and I will drop Liam at school then head to the grocery store.
  • Usual Tuesday cleaning chores will be on the to-do list as well as folding the laundry I did today and getting it put away.
  • I would like a nap. I probably will not get a nap.
  • WORK. OUT. I really need to do this tomorrow.
  • Yet more school stuff.
  • I’m hoping for the day to be a bit less hectic, both because I am tired from today and because Jamie is probably not going to be at his best due to having gotten vaccines today.

The Bullet Journal: A Tool For The Organizational Misfit

Last week on Twitter I saw a lot of chatter about something called a Bullet Journal. At first I was all “oh, a Twitter fad, whatever,” and moved on. Then, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked what the heck it was. I am so glad I did.

I was directed to this post to explain the basics. Make sure you watch the video that’s included. It really helps. I watched the video and read through the post and thought “This is brilliant!” I’ve been a list maker since pregnancy first stole my memory. If I don’t write it down, I don’t remember it. I can type it into my smart phone all I want and it still doesn’t stick. Plus, I’ve never found a *really* comprehensive app that fits my life.

The Bullet Journal solves all those problems for me. It has all my lists in one place. It keeps my calendar. It can be as flexible as I need or want it to be. All I have to do is make sure the index is kept current and I’m set.

So, I sat down to think about how *I* wanted to work my personal Bullet Journal. I planned out what pages I wanted to use and what information they would include. I actually wrote it up on some scrap paper so I felt like it was correct before I started in on my journal.

Then, I went to Target for supplies. I already do some paper crafting so I had some of this stuff here at the house. I really just needed the moleskine, some pens, the glasses case, tabs, and some stickers.

Fun with art supplies!

Fun with art supplies!

The glasses case is to hold my pens. The original post I read suggested a small makeup case but I didn’t see one small enough for my needs (since I was just going to be carrying pens and nothing else). I stumbled across the glasses case and knew it would be perfect. It’s just the right size for my needs and won’t get squashed banging around in my purse.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

So, now it was time to start organizing my journal. First up, the Index page.

Index-y

Index-y

You can see here the kinds of things I chose to include in my Bullet Journal. A list of birthdays and anniversaries; the very useful “future dates;” projects that need to be tackled around the house; my cleaning rota (more on that in a minute); etc, etc.  Both Future Dates and the Exercise Log are tabbed so that I can find them quickly and easily. I really hope I’m using that Exercise Log ALL. THE. TIME. (Motivation, ahoy!)

Now, about that Cleaning Rota – many years ago I sat down, wrote out a list of all the household chores that needed to be done each week, and then broke them out into the days of the week. It allowed me to spread things out so I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed by it all every day which meant I could focus on *just* that day’s tasks instead of the whole job. I tried to plan it around my scheduled kid-free time so that heavy cleaning was saved for when I could be uninterrupted. The goal was to have a clean house by Friday night, leaving the weekend free for fun.

Unfortunately, this rota stood posted and unused on a kitchen wall because of babies, toddlers, etc. Now, both boys are older, more self-sufficient, and don’t need my eagle eyes at all times. This makes the whole thing easier. It’s been long past time for me to get back into this cleaning rota on a full-time basis instead of just half-assing it like I have been.

So here’s my rota:

Lots o' cleaning

Lots o’ cleaning

The kitchen and family room are listed on every single day of the week because we use them the most. They get dirty and cluttered the fastest. If I keep on top of them it’s a 20 minute job instead of a 2 hour job. When I write up my daily task list for a particular day, I can refer back to these pages to make sure I’m including the household chores that need to be done that day.

Moving on to the monthly pages, I decided that I much preferred the grid view to the list view. So, one page has the calendar grid and the opposite page has the tasks/goals/important dates for the month. The calendar grid contains all our important dates and information for that month. It is color coded so that each person has events in a separate color.

Image 1 JournalCalOnce again, these are pages I refer to when writing my daily task lists so that I don’t forget what’s coming up or something I need to do that day.

Daily task pages come next. Here is a sample page of daily tasks:

Lots to do; no time to waste!

Lots to do; no time to waste!

You’ll notice that I have a “notes” section on each day. One of the commenters on the original post I read recommended this and I love the idea. It’s just a place to jot down things about that day – who had a cough or runny nose, when was the last time I dyed my hair, a random blog post idea – whatever. That way I can look back and know what was happening without guessing.

Also, on my grocery shopping day, the grocery list gets written under that day’s task list. So, I keep it all with me and I don’t have random bits of paper cluttering up my purse with the four things I needed to grab at the store.

Right now, I don’t have a job outside the home. BUT, I do have school. The Bullet Journal is a fantastic place to organize this as well. I flipped toward the back of the moleskine and started a page for each class I’m currently taking. Those pages contain the tasks I need to tackle for the next little bit. I tabbed each page for easy reference. Whenever I sit down to do schoolwork, I can flip to the pages and know what’s up next.

Tabbed pages

Tabbed pages

Sample task list

Sample task list

Every moleskine has a nifty little pocket on the back cover. I decided to use mine for coupons. I don’t clip them regularly and generally only have those ones that print out with your receipt upon checkout. But they can be useful. The ones I might use had been living under a magnet on my fridge but I *still* forgot them almost every week. So, I popped them into the pocket in my moleskine and now they’re there when I need them.

Coupon pocket!

Coupon pocket!

So far, things are going well with this. I feel much more organized and I’m getting stuff done more regularly. When I feel at loose ends but I *know* there is something I could be doing I pull out my Bullet Journal and check the task list. Plus, who doesn’t love getting to play with office supplies regularly (or am I just the weird one)?

Try it! I bet you’ll love it!

UPDATE: Two years later, here are some changes I’ve made to how I use my bullet journal.

Fabulous Five

It’s official. There are no more toddlers in this house – only big growing boys who eat everything in the cabinet and ask for more.

Last week, Jamie turned 5. I remember this being a huge milestone for me in regards to Liam. It was like I let go of all the baby stuff and took hold of kid things. It helped that Liam’s language has always been ahead of the curve so at five he was going on fifteen.

Now I pass this milestone again with Jamie and once again, the baby is clearly gone and all that is left is my KID. Honestly, I absolutely adore that. I just love having older kids and I am so excited that Jamie is finally at a point with language where he says hilarious things. He is SO READY to go to kindergarten next year – I don’t know how I’m going to keep him occupied this summer.

Comparing older to younger kids is often an odd thing for me. There are things we let Jamie do that we would NEVER have allowed Liam to do at the same age. Some of that is parental worry with the first child that turned into being more laid back with the second. Jamie gets exposed to a fair bit of TV I wouldn’t have allowed Liam to watch at age 5 – and that’s because he has a 9 year old brother. It’s just too much to try to police that.

In the same breath, there are things Liam did at 5 that Jamie isn’t doing. He still can’t sleep all night without an accident. He still doesn’t dress himself. He knows HOW to do this but he doesn’t. With his stubbornness and temper this is a cross that I’ve chosen NOT to hang myself on. It’s faster and easier to do it myself. He is capable of dealing with his needs in the bathroom without help so he’s fine in school. I figure the rest of it will come in time. No college-aged person allows their Mommy to dress them, after all.

His birthday was really fun. As always, we kept it low-key and just family. Since we weren’t celebrating until the evening, we allowed him to open one gift in the morning to tide him over. That helped take the edge off quite a bit.

In the afternoon, we skyped with my parents so they could wish Jamie a happy birthday. I also let him open his presents from them while we were talking so they got to see that. Technology is pretty awesome sometimes.

Scot’s parents came over in the evening and we did dinner, presents, and cake. Jamie loved all his gifts and he’s been playing with them non-stop since Tuesday. One of his presents was a Plasma Car and this was a HUGE hit. Liam loved it, too (so much so that we got him one just to stop the arguing over Jamie’s). Jamie rode that thing around the house for several days then it finally got warm enough to take them outside. I loaded up the kids and the cars and went to a big empty parking lot so they could ride with abandon.

I think he likes it.

I think he likes it.

Liam is a fan as well.

Liam is a fan as well.

It was a great birthday. I’m ready to experience all the fun that five brings.