January is a great month to start reflecting on the year that has been and planning the year ahead. December, in my experience, an extremely busy month, with more pressures on us than usual. There are often a lot of events to attend, work parties, and other end of year activities, plus any holidays or celebrations to participate in. So, January can be the perfect time for reflection.
So taking stock of what has bee and what is before us is actually very beneficial. For me, it is easy to become very passive in my life, to let the day to day activities drive my life rather than working to have control; this often looks like indecision. But it can often be due to decision fatigue and a lack of commitment to my own goals.
I started this blog to use creativity and creative processes as a way to engage and fight against consumption. To spend time using creativity instead of filling up hours with consumerism or buffering on social media platforms. Being involved in creativity certainly makes me present in that moment, relieves the constant anxiety to have the same things or compare myself to my peers. To me it is a personal protest against consumerism, with the added bonus of enriching rather than taking (time/money). Even though I’m discussing not purchasing unneeded ‘stuff’ – 2 books, which I have shared before I think are a good purchase, and help – with less purchasing… does that even make sense? These are The Bullet Journal Method, and La’rt de la Liste: Simplify, Organise, Enrich your life.
So coming back to my first point; January is a great time to take stock, reflect on the year that has been and put some new processes in place for the new season. To do this I want to discuss ‘lists’. YES, you read it correctly… lists. One of my current finds is La’rt de la Liste: Simplify, Organise, Enrich your life, it is a beautiful book on lists and the art of list making by Dominique Loreau. When I first picked it up I thought, “Oh No, another book to organise my messy life”, and in a way it is, but it is done with creativity, inspiration and flair.
“Writing, correcting, editing, clarifying, refining… the work of deleting, of filtering, of gradually trimming back the superfluous as we aspire towards the essential. It is always possible to express truths, personal convictions or powerful, fleeting pleasures in a more succinct way. Just like the haiku, the list can represent a way of turning a selection of words and sensations into a mini work of art.”
There is delightful Japanese approach to the book, the way Japanese approach lists and the fine art and execution of them. If you love lists – then you will find this book a treasure. Link here to review.
So back to January. It is here and I have a need to reflect. What have I done in 2021 that has helped me to organise my life and in turn given me freedom for creativity? The biggest change I have made is incorporating bullet journaling into my life (BuJo for those in the know). I actually did this a couple of years ago – BUT – it is still changing the way a ride the wave of time and motivation. Ryder Carroll wrote a book titled The Bullet Journal Method, which outlines a style of journal/diary, he states:
“The Bullet Journal method will help you accomplish more by working on less. It helps you identify and focus on what is meaningful by stripping away what is meaningless.”
Without reading the book, it’s quite difficult to explain the elements of the BuJo that make it so successful. What I like most about it is its ability to put everything in one place. I’ve always had a diary, but then hated the waste of paper, I use lists all the time, and then I write little quotes to myself, or draw, or write down goals in another book – the BuJo method puts it all together using an index system, which is easy and quick to learn.
I recommend the Matter Bullet Dotted Journal it comes in a variety of colours and is simple to use, this is the Lavender one – my favourite. You will see from the pic below – this is not one of those journals – but mine is on order….
This method of organising, has probably been the biggest change I have made and stuck to this year. And, I will definitely keep practicing the BuJo method next year. I absolutely recommend this book. There is also a website to visit, which is linked here.
Thinking about 2022 commitments and goals: I have a selection of ‘list’ activities (below), which I will work through to come to a decision… and stick to it. These activities can be used in all manner of ways, for small aspects of your life, or larger projects you may be working on. I will link the different websites or references for each.
This is a great way of making lists smaller at the beginning stages. If your possible lists for an idea or project has become too large, and you’re confused as to which one to start, you can use the negative selection. We have a great ability to see the negative in something, more than the positive. Go through the list and write down, NO or MAYBE beside each as you think about the possibilities.
- List all the attributes of the object, or process in question
- Consider the value of the attributes
- Do the attributes have a positive or negative value
- Modify the attributes
- Look for ways you can modify the attributes, so you can increase value
- When having an block, or trying to solve an issue, you can write a challenge assumptions list
- Start by listing the assumptions you have of the problem
- Then ask, “What if…… was not true?”
- This type of listing and thinking will help you to see the issue from different perspectives.
Alex Osborn, who developed the brainstorm technique, also advanced other thinking strategies, and one of these is the Osborn Checklist.
- Adapt? What’s similar, what are parallels, what can you imitate?
- Modify? Can you change colour, moving, size, shape, tone, smell, etc.?
- Substitute? Different process, positions, music, elements from other countries, etc.?
- Magnify/Maximise? Increasing frequency, size, height, length, distance, etc.?
- Minimise/Eliminate? Lighter, smarter, etc.?
- Different sequence, etc.?
- Reversal? How to mirror the ideas, etc.?
- Combine? Is it part of a bigger picture, etc.?
- Other use? Is another use possible, etc.?
The Wish List
Wishing helps to expand our thinking, it is playful and without boundaries. You can wish for anything. Making a wish list helps you understand yourself and you can consider ‘what ifs’ without limiting your choices to practical solutions.
So these are some of the activities I will use over the next week to reflect on my commute. Hopefully it may be useful to you as well to think about how you can make some positive changes in your routines for next year.