I love the idea of 'being present', but come on, when you have a lot of thoughts and ideas racing around in your head all the time, like me, it's really hard to be present and focus. It's also hard to be present when you have big goals for yourself and a million things in your head that you know you need to get to in order to make them happen. I've been obsessing about this because I am in a new city, with a new job running my own new business, a new boyfriend, and a new apartment that is still being set up.
So in between taking down boxes, figuring out how to get from point A to point B on the subway, and why our hot water doesn't always work, I'm trying to figure out two things so I can be more present and sane: How to schedule my time and how to keep track of things.
Schedules + Scheduling
I am still figuring this out because I have client work, workshop development, content development, and personal projects that take up time in different ways and require different types of work spaces. I also want to spend time with friends and family and meet new people in this great big city. Here are some methods I am trying:
- iphone + agenda -- I'm a big believer in the digital - physical method of schedules. I keep everything up-to-date on my iphone and then once a week, usually on Sundays, I transcribe everything in my planner in big chunks. I record appointments and large projects.
I'm using the Tropical agenda from UO, which I got at a museum in Barcelona. It's in Spanish so it is nice if you are practicing/learning Spanish.
- Project planner -- I am using the Poketo Project Planner and loving it. I am honestly still figuring out how to make it work best for me without being overwhelming, but I do really like how it forces me to choose what I can realistically work on in a week. I'll probably have more on this later.
- icalendar -- This goes back to my iphone-agenda method, but basically I use my calendar app on my iphone a lot, which syncs with my google calendar. Sometimes I over do it, scheduling in everything thing, but I am trying to instead block out more free time for myself, while still making sure I have a realistic amount of time for work, gym, family, friends, and everything else essential in my life. I also use the reminders calendar to remind myself of little things, like trimming my bangs.
- Calendly -- I have been trying to use Calendly to book coffee dates. It works when my calendar is up-to-date. I feel strange using it for friends, but want to because it makes my life a lot easier. Still testing.
- Daily walks -- I'm still figuring this out, but my goal is to go walk a bit every day. My boyfriend does this and I'm always envious. I realized I could do this, too. We're both working from home in the same tiny apartment right now, so it's pretty important I schedule this in to help me stay sane.
- Gym time -- I joined the local gym, Ludlow Fitness, and it's been great. I schedule in the classes and gym time I want to have each week and stick to it. This helps me schedule everything else I need to do around it.
Keeping Track of Things
But first, some notes on blogging:
I've been thinking a lot about what blogging means these days -- what is it? why would someone do it when there are so many other ways to make and share content? what is the point?
I've also been doing a lot of research regarding internet businesses and it's super overwhelming to see all the ways that people make money and share media on the internet, either as the main activity of their businesses or as a part of it. I'm thankful to live in a time of so much possibility, but I do kinda miss the time before hyper-media-explosion.
In my own business, I am figuring out my content strategy. It will definitely include blogging, but not as much as it would if I had a bigger team or if I also didn't have to think about social media and all the other outlets. It's always been easy for me to think strategically for clients, and still is, but for some reason when running my own business it's harder to figure out a content strategy. It's like how you can give great advice to a friend, but can't give the same advice to yourself.
So I'm going to start following my own advice. On my business blog, I'll follow my soon-to-be determined content strategy, which starts with moving my site from Squarespace to Wordpress. More on that soon! On my personal blog, which is here, I will share updates on my life.
Why? Because every once in a while I look back on my old blogs from when I lived in Spain, started out in San Francisco, and my early days in DC. I wish I had been more consistent with those personal blogs because they are super meaningful to me now and help me remember things I did, things I loved, and who I was.
I also realized that blogging is a key part of how I keep myself sane and organized. I take lots of photos and want to remember places, locations, and feelings. I share these on social media, but something about blogging feels more permanent (I know, silly, because it's the internet, but also not silly, because it is the internet). On my blog I have total control of what is shown, and I'm not at the mercy of some algorithm deciding whether or not my content is shown. I don't expect anyone to read this, but if you are reading, awesome! Welcome to my mind!
How I keep track of my daily life:
- My agenda. I keep a handwritten old school agenda and look at it pretty much every day. I also use a project planner to keep track of work and art projects. See notes above.
- A journal. I write thoughts every morning, kinda like the morning pages concept from The Artist's Way.
- This blog. I'll post updates weekly about my week and any thoughts on my mind.
- iphoto on my phone -- when I take photos of something I want to remember or write about later, I'll add them to shared folders I've set up so I can add comments to them. You can't add comments to a normal photo, which is really frustrating. I also will export the photos I want to use on my blog and resize them so they are ready to put in blog posts.
- notes on my phone -- I've tried so many other apps, but really the notes app on my phone is the best. It opens quickly and I can search for terms when I am trying to find or remember something I know I recorded.
- notes in a notebook -- I try to always have a notebook on me so that I can write handwritten notes as I often need to physically write things down to get them out of my head. I'm trying to make a habit out of taking photos of my notes so I can find them later, instead of trying to move the same notebook around in my bags and purses.
- taking photos with my dslr + film camera -- I want to start taking photos again. I use my dslr to take photos for photo shoots, so there's that, but I want to start taking it out on walks. I also just got a film camera I want to learn how to use. We'll see how this goes.
Paying for Storage
It's annoying, but I realized I really needed to do this to make my life easier.
- Paying for more icloud storage -- I just need to take photos and have them available in a way that connects to all my devices and that requires more storage. Once I stopped stressing about whether or not I should buy more storage and just made the decision to pay for more storage, I felt a lot better and now I am not constantly having to delete things to take new photos. I am trying to delete photos I don't need more often, like the blurry ones.
- Dropbox + Google Drive storage -- ditto. I have files, they are often big. I need to put them somewhere.
- Blog hosting -- I'm using Squarespace for now. But, I don't love it for blogging.
I was going to write that the journalling is a therapeutic activity, but really everything in this post is therapeutic for me. When I don't have a schedule or I don't know how to keep track of things, I start to lose it.
I've realized it is especially important for me in a time of transition to figure out these very simple things: scheduling and keeping track of things. In my line of work I need photos and records, especially because my work is very visual. I often need to recall an artist, a retail storefront, a restaurant, a recipe, and I need to be able to find the records of these things to guide my approach to research, create content, or give guidance.
I am also the kind of person that needs to write things down to get them out of my head, and I know I feel better when I use these methods to do so. Am I neurotic? Maybe, but that's ok.