Expectations

Hello! I’m happy to report that I have survived the busiest months ever! Somehow, the end of June into beginning of August was when All The Things™ happened, and big part of making sure I survived was prioritizing the small amount of free time I had to take care of myself. This meant not feeling bad about falling behind on an arbitrary blog schedule I created for myself. I definitely stand by the fact that even though I’ve had all these ideas of stuff to write, I decided to get some sleep instead.

So what have I been up to these last two months? Well, after wrapping up a successful pride month, there were birthdays to celebrate, concerts to dance at, a four day work conference to prepare for and attend, and I moved out for the very first time.

Like I said. ALL. THE. THINGS.

But for real, being busy is my favorite, so being busy with all these incredible events in my life made for such an exciting way to spend my summer. And the fact that my yearly family vacation on the beach fell exactly at the end of my busy months didn’t hurt, either. It made the reward that much sweeter.

It’s sort of been a little too perfect. Spending time and energy on projects I was excited about, practicing self care to handle my busy schedule, and then getting to relax and refresh on the beach for a week. It’s left me feeling completely recharged and motivated. Sort of like New Year’s. Plus, when I realized that I moved into a new apartment at the very middle of the year – the beginning of July – it was a perfect opportunity to hit a reset button. On my resolutions, intentions, and general plans for working toward my goals.

So what now?

As an overly enthusiastic and creative person, it’s tough to navigate all of the ideas and aspirations I have for myself. I get so amped about a project I want to start, and then I have 10 other projects I want to work on, and then I get so overwhelmed that I don’t choose anything and instead just watch Netflix.

I see so much stuff online discussing what to do when you’re lacking motivation and want to get started on something. Or how to keep the momentum going once you’ve found it. But what about when you have the drive but aren’t sure where to direct it?

As I will tell anyone who will listen, Leslie Knope and I are undeniably the same person. There’s a particular quote that comes to mind when I think about our similar levels of enthusiasm, motivation, and stamina:

“I’m going to work until I’m 100, then cut back to four days a week. I’m already bored thinking about that fifth day. Oh, well, maybe I’ll go to law school!”

Right, so that’s how I feel most of the time. When I have a day off, if I’m not crossing something off my to-do list, I feel unproductive. Sure, I’ll take some time at the end of a busy work day to hang out with friends or watch YouTube videos and eat some ice cream. But there’s always this lingering judgement in back of my mind that is trying to convince me to step it up. When was the last time I wrote something? Should I be focusing more on a side hustle? Why didn’t I go for a run before dinner? I always want to be working, improving, and feeling as fulfilled as possible. But there’s certainly a difference between being fulfilled and being completely stuffed.

There’s another quote from Parks and Rec that I’ve been considering lately that I think will serve me better than my usual Leslie Knope energy levels.

Never half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”

Much like the goal I had set for myself to write a new blog post every month, my motivation often comes from my own personal expectations. While there is certainly a benefit of purpose that comes along with setting a goal, it’s important to remember to keep a balance. Once you start setting too many goals without the proper resources to complete them, you’ll likely end up more frustrated than satisfied. It’s absolutely important to work hard to achieve what you want, but not at the price of compromising your true and full potential.

So maybe right now, instead of using my newly renewed energy and motivation to figure out how many projects I can work on, I can pick the one I’m most excited about and see where that takes me. Maybe after a few weeks I’ll want to shift my focus onto a different project for a while. Or maybe I’ll find time to take smaller and more meaningful steps forward in the areas I can handle. While it may take more effort and discipline, I think I can stand to be a little more flexible. I can whole ass one project at a time and move on when it feels right. That way, I can feel productive and creative while still having time to watch Parks and Rec. Again.

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The Beauty of Bullet Journals

Here’s a list of things I love more than most people:

  • Dogs
  • Bread
  • Lists

SEE WHAT I DID THERE? 😉

I’m notorious for having multiple notebooks, post-its, written on hands, etc. to keep track of my life. But as you can probably guess, not having one go-to place for my lists made it even more difficult to stay organized, leading to dumb stress and somehow even more lists. Then I was introduced to the idea of bullet journals and, no exaggeration, my life was changed.

A bullet journal is a to do list, planner, and diary all in one. Rather than just simply writing down events, reminders, and random thoughts in a notebook, a bullet journal gives you the opportunity to be creative in an incredibly organized way. (I’m not going to take the time to explain the particulars about bullet journals because Buzzfeed already did that – it’s the most comprehensive look at bullet journals I could find and it definitely encouraged me to take the final plunge and start one. Thanks, Rachel!)

Some people may see a bullet journal and think “that looks like too much work” or “I’m not artistic enough for that”. Trust me, I would agree with if either of those things were true; the way to make your bullet journal work to its greatest potential is to throw away any expectations. At first, all I could think of were the pretty Instagram photos I would take and all the different colored pens I could carry around with me. But when I sat down to put everything together, I realized that all I wanted was to keep track of things in a productive way.

The aesthetic of a bullet journal is definitely appealing, but it doesn’t magically happen, and it’s not really necessary. You can find endless Pinterest pages of handwriting tips and decorative layouts, which actually do look really great, but I know that if I tried any of these things, I would get frustrated when it didn’t turn out how I expected. So my main advice with a bullet journal is to make it your own. If you start your journal and change your mind along the way and decide you want to spend more time making it look “Instagram-able”, GO FOR IT! There are so many choices for this journal, all with the same overall outcomes: organization and productivity.

Most bullet journals start with tracking monthly, weekly, or daily scheduling, including things that need to get done, events, birthdays, or notes that you want to jot down throughout the day. In addition to these daily to-do type lists, lots of people like to use their journals to keep track of other stuff, like what TV shows are on your binge radar, how many times you go to the gym, or even hobbies and moods. My personal choices are keeping track of my monthly finances, great quotes I come across, and daily gratitude. But as I said, there is no “correct” way to choose these lists, and they don’t need to be the same throughout the span of your journaling! Choices!!!!

Here are some cute photos of my journal! Are any of y’all planning on starting one? Let me know and we can share ideas!