Often the smallest works take the longest.
Status report. Health stuff. And what happens after you prioritize.
After several weeks of bullet journaling, I am seeing some changes for the better. But here’s the question: Can I use my ten-minute breaks to get my creative fill for the day? I’ve been working on that this week! Also, here’s the dilemma: Is it possible to be rewarded by the short term if the long term is lacking? Can a short term strategy help consolidate and focus your creativity toward the things that matter?
If you’re a creative with a dayjob, come see if this can work for you!
Make art. Make haste.
& Thinking of Why I Wanted to be an Artist.
What shaped you? I was shaped by tacos, Mexican sweet breads, and stories. For the sake of this post, let’s say stories did most of the heavy lifting.
When I was a boy, I wrote comic strips about robots and time travelers. I saw vehicles lining the base of the rolling hills in the Southwest corner of Wyoming. Interstate I-80. I wondered where they were going, and how each one of those drivers had a story. I pondered on direction and destination often. My childhood of watching interstate travelers zip back and forth is one that fostered a fascination with time and distance, set against a backdrop of western landscapes from bygone eras. It really felt like a place stuck in time while all others moved along.
At the end of the day, I would listen to the highway traffic fleeing into a bold, amber horizon, and only the humming of the road lingered. I listened for more so I could feel whole.
Time and distance influenced my pursuits and worldview because I was in the proper conditions to be shaped by them. I listened so attentively that here we are:
I’m still obsessing over the gulfs between fictional lovers, friends, communities, and all others who push to create distance between the truth and themselves. I write about that.
I’m still lamenting the cruelty and magic of time, and how the craft of capturing those and that which is bound to leave us, is the greatest gift of all. I want to capture that joyfully and honestly.
This is why I listen, and write, and record. Why do you make stuff? What shaped you? Leave a comment or drop me a line! I’d love to hear how you came to be an artist.
A breakdown of my recent productivity attempts as a creative with a day job.
The road to self care and self control is paved with revamping and paving new roads. Yes, that sounded worse in my head. Over the last month or so, the experiment of bullet journaling has been a pretty triumphant and challenging one, but I’m getting some shit done!
Recently, I settled on a format for my quasi bullet journaling experience. While the Ryder Carroll method is extremely specific about intent and productivity, the more I learn of its methodology and idiosyncrasies, the more I realize I am prioritizing a mere planning method rather than a fuller journal for accountability. As I keep learning, I’m sure I will adopt some more of the Ryder Carroll concepts, but for the time being, as I seek survival methods to not drown in tasks and responsibility, I’m choosing to do something that works for me and my needs, whether it follows official bullet journal doctrine or not. Therefore, I’ve settled on a temporary layout for a weekly spread that has been guiding me pretty well throughout the last month or so.
Taking into account what is important to me and what I need to keep track of, I feel this has been a decent start into my journey of organization and commitment to personal betterment. This is what made sense to me and how I structured it:
- Leftovers: A little space for all the shit I forgot to do or couldn’t get to the week before.
- Monthly Outlook: To know what day of the week is what number and all that because I never know anymore…
- Weekly Outlook: Provided enough room for the events, appointments and tasks in my life. I also left some room in the margins because I’m regularly having to measure my blood pressure now because thanks genetics and stupid horrible life choices in my 20s. (mostly sitting too much, nothing big).
- Habits: Designated a space for habit tracking for the most important areas of my life and where I need more discipline:
OUTPUT (SPECIFICALLY CREATIVE OUTPUT & COMMUNITY EFFORTS)
- Notes Section: A section for practical daily notes and memos. (This is where I hit a stumbling block. I need more space for the creative notes, so I am currently wielding another notebook everywhere I go. I shed the agenda already, so hopefully in the next few weeks, I will be able to consolidate all my work / life / creative road maps into one well designed and customized journal for me!) For now, this notes section is just for real world, adulting stuff and the unexpected chore/task/expense/deadline.
- Assessment: Considering how much happens in a week, I think it’s prudent to look back on what works and what can be improved upon. While some aspects of this may lean more toward the actual bullet journal philosophy, I don’t need much to know what went wrong and what I need to do better, so I made just a little spot for it at the bottom and labeled it as I pleased: VICTORIES & NEEDS WORK. Then do better next week. Easy enough.
What I am surely missing is the big picture stuff I have coming up on the horizon. Long term events and important dates, as well as personal, career, and family goals. This is why a monthly or long term spread is necessary for me as well. I started one for December but it just looked too lackluster, much like a clunky calendar. I’ll revisit this when I have time, but for the time being, the weekly spread has been the most successful part of it all.
It’s been such a blast diving into this world that I feel I have found something I truly love, and that is the process of documenting and arranging information on a page. It calms me down and puts me in a state of hope. It’s all about seeing yourself doing something different, fighting stasis, and seeking a new way to better yourself. I’m not a completely new person and I don’t think I will ever be, but I am definitely feeling more in control of my life and where I want to take it. I’m very much committed to start designing more of these layouts down the road and making them available for anyone who may want to balance work / life / creativity. It’s also been so inspiring to browse and analyze the various ways people cleverly build and shape their chore lists, worries, and hopes into one place on paper. It says so much about their priorities and life story. It’s fascinating!
How do you keep your shit together? Asking for a friend.
I come out of my cave all
to meet a world
smiling hostile at times.
Hostile because of its indifference
not because it’s out to get me.
I caution you to look both ways:
and ensure you are wearing enough padding to handle the onslaught, as all of us adjust to the workweek.
Be well, friends.
P.S. The padding is the love you have to offer.
We have a podcast episode for you! Madd and I sat down to talk about JoJo Rabbit’s masterful handling of the joyful and the horrific, as well as the hilarious and sweet crammed into one standup/one-man show by Mike Birbiglia. Good stuff on a weekday. Enjoy your week, friends!