As I mentioned last week, I have spent the last few years in notebooks and with a large variety of journals. I've experienced the value of putting pen to paper and grasped the power of a hand written note. I don't dislike analog living, but after dealing with some intense anxiety, I decided that I should try something different.
Let me explain my previous method of organization. I had a bullet journal with a calendar ranging from June to May, because as a mom and teacher my schedule has always worked better that way. I would put my appointments in the monthly spreads and my task lists on weekly spreads. I used a habit tracker and beautiful stickers. The whole thing was in written in beautiful fonts AND I made the whole calendar system in French. I've received LOTS of compliments on how beautiful it was. I had stickers too. Fun planner stickers that I could use for notating everything from laundry to getting coffee with a friend. It was absolutely adorable. Who would give up an adorable French bullet journal? Here's the issue. Remember when I said I wasn't organized? Well, I would go somewhere and forget to bring my journal. If I did remember, it was cumbersome and then I started carrying around my Sharpie pens (wonderful, by the way) AND the adorable stickers just in case a situation came up. I would keep all the stuff out on my counter because if I didn't I would never use it. I spent more time "jamming on my planner" than actually working on the stuff I was supposed to be doing. .
The first time I actually put aside the planner and made a task list on my phone. I realized that I have been making this way too complicated. But I was doing all that so I wouldn't become distracted by the digital. Apparently I have to ability to become distracted by the analog. Pens, paper, stickers, journals - these are what intoxicate and distract me. They are just so fun in and of themselves. (You're just now realizing what a big nerd I am?)
I've read quite a bit about the dangers of digital distraction. Reading things with hypertext slows down our reading by milliseconds. Our phone's chimes and rings hold a powerful sway over our attention. I don't want to get so caught up in my phone that I ignore what is going on around me. I want to be a good example of digital well-being to my son. All of this made me nervous about relying too heavily on the digital world. I thought I would be too distracted, but woah. That isn't what happened at all.
I will refrain from explaining the details of each app and specific change for now, but the overall impact has been more interesting than anything to me. I put away all my journals and stickers and pens and all the other stuff I had been using. I simplified. Everything is connected to Google. Because Google is available online, I can used it in whatever, I'm logged into. Doctors appointments? No problem. I can search for the phone number and make an appointment right here. No need to go find my calendar. My task list is linked to my calendar so I can see which days I'll be able to get things done and keep track of them from wherever I am. (Yes, I am careful to log out and practice on-line safety.)
My anxiety has dropped significantly since starting this experiment. I honestly didn't expect that. I'm not carrying around so much stuff because I only need my phone. I'm not misplacing my phone (usually) because I always have it on hand. Rather than leaving me addicted to my device, I've been on it less. Before, I used it to call and text and for social media. Now it's a work tool. It's something that allows me to focus on things so I can put it down and enjoy a clean counter and time doing things I love. When I go to look at my social apps I am given my daily task list so I put down to phone to get to work. Then when I'm done with the work, I find myself enjoying a board game with Logan or watching a show with Jason, which are things I thought I didn't have time for.
This might change. My brain may get used to the switch and flip back over to craving social media updates and focusing on the minutia rather than on the important, but for now I will revel in the ability to get things done and make stuff happen!
"A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one."