As CEO of my business and my home I always had dozens of Post-it® notes stuck to the message board, my car dashboard, my computer screen, my bathroom mirror, etc… to remind me what my priorities were at any given moment and to record my random thoughts. In fact, managing my Post-It notes was becoming a part-time job! What a time-waster! That’s until I discovered a simple trick that I incorporated into my daily ritual of journaling. You are spending time, alone, in the quiet of the a.m. (and once more at night) with your thoughts on gratitude and big questions, aren’t you? You’re not? Hmmm, more on that later.
Here’s the answer to my Post-It Note overwhelm: I journal it! It’s quite easy. I have a self-created 2 pages p/day journal. The left side includes how I start my morning (Analog Only: no email, no screen-time, just sacred quiet time with my coffee and a book older than the Gutenberg press). I also journal, pray and meditate. Then I scribe Prayers for Self and Others, What I’m Grateful For, My Big Question of the Day (ask the what, not the why; e.g. What would happen if I…?” vs. Why am I not…?”), and a shortlist of the Top 3 Things That Will Make Today Great. Is that not a great way to start the day or what?
But, on the right-hand side, I’ve titled the top of the page “JUNK DRAWER”. The sub-title is: Thoughts, To-Do’s, Scribbles, … Why “JUNK DRAWER”? Decades ago, to tame the paper tiger, I gave myself permission to have 1 junk drawer that I would put whatever-needs-attention in. It could be dentist appointment reminders, coupons, quotes or thoughts on Post-It notes, gift ideas, etc. But, I would only get to it once a week or month. Or longer. So, it became stuffed. The idea was good but the execution didn’t work for me because it was out of sight, out of mind.
The “Junk Drawer” Journal works because I write everything that comes to mind. I don’t care how it looks or sounds. Its purpose is to just to get my to-do’s, my priorities, my worries, off my mind. I’ve added my (short) grocery list, recollections about a gnarly conversation I had with my husband, list of calls to make, a cute memory of my children, household tasks that needed completing, conversations that need to happen at work, etc. Sometimes I create 3 columns (1 for each business: CastCoverz! and Till Business Do Us Part and 1 for personal) and put what I need to do under each main category. Sometimes I scribble a flow-chart or a picture of what I want my bathroom remodel to look like. Most of the time it’s a combination.
But, here’s my secret to really make it work: I whip out my smartphone and take a picture of my 2-page journal spread. That way, I can refer to the picture throughout the day! FYI…this is for my eyes only and I don’t allow myself to judge me. Caveat: I still use an exhaustive daily planner. Hey, no judging. I have 2 businesses! 🙂 But, this works because my journaling is a random, free thought process. Too many times, my “Junk Drawer” thoughts just don’t belong in my daily planner but they still took up space in my head. Getting them out of my head and on paper in a structured, yet creative format allowed my brain to focus on my important tasks.
Journaling in your handwriting vs. typing sparks creativity. Actually creating a journal with your handwriting is the very essence of creativity. I would love to know how you keep track of your random thoughts, below. Remember to always keep your comments family friendly, helpful and kind. We all need more of that.
BONUS: Did you zoom in on how I end the day? I write down nice things done throughout the day by me and others. That always brings a smile to my face. Then I write down my failures and regrets (notice I intentionally don’t give them a lot of room). Then I examine them, learn (from them) and turn (from them). Then I give them over to God. If I see a pattern developing of the same failure or regret, then I do some deeper soul-searching. At then at the end of each night, I give myself the gift of an “Amish Hour” (an extended version of my 20+ minutes of Analog-Only A.M.) No screen time in any form. Just a good book. But, I confess, I usually have classical music playing. I sleep deeper, have more creative/less frightening dreams, and wake up refreshed, ready and excited to take on a new day!
Your Happy Warrior (a person undiscouraged even in the face of difficulties; plucky crusader),
Annette de Lancey Giacomazzi