The January #planwithmechallenge (days 1-5)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been doing this challenge (geared towards planner nerds) called the #planwithmechallenge. I haven’t been cross-posting it to the HaldeCraft Facebook and Google + pages because it’s not really work related… well, it kind of is, in that I use my Bullet Journal the way some people probably use administrative assistants…  ANYWAY, a few of my tribe on Ravelry were interested in me doing some blog posts about it, because they’re not on Instagram but are planner nerds (or want to be, muhuwahahaha, one of us! One of us!). Pretty much all I’m going to do here is copy and paste what I’m putting on Instagram, but if you have any questions or want me to go into something a little more deeply, let me know in the comments!

I’ve found as the month has progressed that I don’t have something to say every day – for instance, the day on School/Studies. I would have loved that day if I were still in college, but alas, I am not. No, wait, not alas! Hee!

Anyway, moving on….!

Day 1: Hello! Intros

#planwithmechallenge Day 1: Hello! Intros I'm Lorena, an artist and maker and dreamer of dreams. I prefer coffee in the morning and tea at night (and whiskey any time). I have terrible food allergies and no fashion sense and I'm usually covered with claI’m Lorena, an artist and maker and dreamer of dreams. I prefer coffee in the morning and tea at night (and whiskey any time). I have terrible food allergies and no fashion sense and I’m usually covered with clay or paint. I knit like the wind and can can talk feminist science fiction for days.

My bullet journal helps me run my business and acts as a personal assistant. A few people in my tribe have asked for a deeper look into my scheduling and planning methods, so I thought this would be a great place to start.

Day 2: My January Setup

#planwithmechallenge Day 2: My January Setup My January setup consists of three main things; a tracker for daily chores/things/to-do, a rough outline of products I'm releasing in January and when to blog/post about them, and my weekly setup which for JanMy January setup consists of three main things; a tracker for daily chores/things/to-do, a rough outline of products I’m releasing in January and when to blog/post about them, and my weekly setup which for January takes up eight pages (four weeks and two pages per week) – which is where I veer away from the traditional bullet journal just a bit in that I make space for all of the weeks of the month at the same time, back to back. I need to plan my work in advance, I need to write things down so I won’t forget to do them, and I do a lot of custom work that needs planning over weeks; so instead of starting a new day, every day, like a traditional bujo, I put all the weeks of one month in at the same time, so I can plan ahead. (I believe there’s a day with the challenge later that goes more into layouts, so I’ll get more into my weekly layout then.)

Day 3: Planning Strategy

#planwithmechallenge Day 3: Planning Strategy First, I plan things out on a wall calendar by week. I make three main things, and it's hard to have multiple things be a priority for the week, so first I plan out which weeks the priority is going to be. YaFirst, I plan things out on a wall calendar by week. I make three main things, and it’s hard to have multiple things be a priority for the week, so first I plan out which weeks the priority is going to be. Yarn is scheduled first, because much of my dye schedule rotates around when I’m running yarn club. Then ceramics – even though I plan it second, it gets the most time during the year. Third is soap, based on what time is left over and/or when I have a craft show coming up. I also throw an “admin” week in there every now and then, giving me time to catch up on website design, office work, get ahead in blog posts and newsletters, etc (or use it as vacation time if I’ve managed to keep up with things).

Second, I have a monthly wall calendar into which I write blog topic titles on the day I want to write blog posts, and I add weird holidays I might want to remember to mention, like “Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day” (a day much celebrated by ceramic artists because it keeps our babies safe in the mail). I update this about every other month, writing two months worth of ideas at a time.

Third, I have my Lisa Jacobs “Your Best Year” planner/workbook, which helps me to keep my business goals on track for the year. I compare her monthly prompts with my wall calendar to help set my monthly and quarterly goals.

Fourth, I have my beloved bullet journal, which I’ve been doing now for about four or five years. Close to the beginning of a month, I draw out the pages (one week per two pages) for the next month (not the current month, which I would have drawn out the month before). I title these by date and also by focus as per my wall calendar; one of the two pages is a seven day spread plus a box for things to do just some time that week, and the facing page is where I write notes for the week, keep track of custom orders I’m working on that week, make lists of yarn colorways or soap fragrances I need to restock, etc.

Whew! Sounds complicated, maybe, to an outsider, but overall this planning strategy makes me feel like “Everybody stand back; I got this”.

Day 4: Big 2016 Goals

#planwithmechallenge Day 4: Big 2016 Goals Goals! Do I ever have them! Although, oddly, I'm not a fan of the term "goal" any more than I am "resolutions." I more prefer to think of them as "things I plan to do" rather than "goals" because goals can be miGoals! Do I ever have them! Although, oddly, I’m not a fan of the term “goal” any more than I am “resolutions.” I more prefer to think of them as “things I plan to do” rather than “goals” because goals can be missed. Things I plan to do may take longer than originally intended, but I do get to them.

ANYWAY. So, my Big Ideas spread for 2016 is as follows… a two-page, 12-box spread in my bullet journal; each box is a month, and each month contains one big thing for each of my three main areas that I plan to do that month. Sometimes it’s big, like an entire new yarn colorway, or sometimes it’s smaller (or seems smaller) like “get yarn club out” (trust me, though, that’s bigger than it looks!). I generally have more ideas than I have time, so I limit myself to One Big Thing per month. This also spreads out my ideas — for example, I have ten really great ideas already for new ceramics this year, but as much as I want to I know I can’t competently do all of them in January… so I spread them out and leave a month or two blank for that during the initial planning, because I know I’ll come up with something else in a couple of months and really want to get started on it ASAP.

Day 5: Layouts & Inserts

#planwithmechallenge Day 5: Layouts & Inserts I don't usually use inserts in my #bulletjournal because it makes the book too thick (if I used a ring binder, I might use them more), so here's my favorite layout -- my weekly layout. This is a good week toI don’t usually use inserts in my bullet journal because it makes the book too thick (if I used a ring binder, I might use them more), so here’s my favorite layout — my weekly layout. This is a good week to show off, too, because it’s a yarn dyeing week so there’s a lot going on.

On the left side I have small boxes for all the days of the week (I start my weeks on Sunday) and a box for general things I have to accomplish some time during the week but not on any specific day.

I limit my daily boxes to about six lines, because I’ve found that I’m prone to inflating my to-do list to fill all the lines I have available and giving myself more to do in a day than can humanly be accompished. I’ve found I’m much more productive with smaller boxes and smaller lists than when I list ALL THE THINGS.

On the right side I put things that need to be done this week, or notes I take during the week about things I’m working on. This week is a yarn-dyeing week, so I have listed all of my colorways and then next to them the base yarns that I’m currently out of stock on, so I know what needs to be done. I also have notes about different custom orders I’m working on this week.

Come back next Monday when I’ll talk about days 6-15. And if you have any questions, leave those in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer!

3 comments

  1. Do you stencil or freehand? At what point do you start to make the February pages? Do you have one book per quarter? Fill it until it is full? Does it last six months, longer? If something that is in teh box for sometime that week does not happen, do you move it forward and write it in the next week’s box?

    • Do you stencil or freehand?

      I freehand, although I’ve been known to sketch things out in pencil before finalizing them in pen (freehand is part of why I like graph paper, so that it’s easy to keep things the same size and/or on the same level).

      At what point do you start to make the February pages?

      I usually make the next month’s pages some time in the first week of the month; so, I made February’s pages during the first week of January, and I’ll make March’s pages some time during the first week of February. I might start to make them in the last week of the previous month (so, I might block out March’s pages some time this week) if I have time or am obsessed with an idea or have a lot of custom orders I want to plan out or know I won’t have time the first week of the next month.

      Do you have one book per quarter? Fill it until it is full? Does it last six months, longer?

      The thing about bullet journals is that unlike a traditional planner, you can add things in as you think about them (like, in the middle of your pages for November you might stick in a page for Thanksgiving planning, for example). So there’s no hard and fast rule about how long a book can last. I’ve had a book last as long as eight months, but then I’ve also had one last only two months — it also can change depending on the type of book you get, how many pages it has, whether you are happy with the layout (and if you’re not, if you just get a new book and start fresh with the next month) and how clumsy you are with coffee or other drinks near your book. Uh, so I hear. La la la la la.

      If something that is in teh box for sometime that week does not happen, do you move it forward and write it in the next week’s box?

      It depends on what it is. If it’s a thing that can be done that next week, yes (like, if I meant to do some website redesign work or update some listings); but if, say, I don’t finish dyeing all the yarn that needs to be dyed for restocks, I’ll have to move that forward to the next dyeing week as opposed to the next actual week. So sometimes unfinished things might not happen for another three or four weeks, depending.

      Thanks for your questions! 🙂

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