Have you ever had that feeling… The moment you stop to stand back and pause to reflect on life, you realize you can’t. There are too many strings pulling, too many balls up in the air and if you stop… they drop.
It happens to me regularly.
I want to stop.
I need to stop.
The more I look, the more I see. I got myself into a spin that keeps twirling round and round. With a complete overload of tasks at hand and eyes on the horizon to make sure I don’t drown.
I found myself *screaming* for simplicity.
I need a simple overview.
I don’t mind hard work.
I love the things I do.
I do have time to rest and play with my family.
I want to be able to step back, see the world spin, think … and breathe.
Recently I discovered that one of my biggest frustrations was that I don’t have my life together. Literally. I have bits and pieces of tasks, orders, notes everywhere.
I always carried several books with me. My daily planner, journal, books for notes and loose papers with lists. Of course I couldn’t find that one note when I needed it.
I just need an overview of where my life is, and where I am going.
The only thing that would prevent me from going crazy would be to have my life in ONE PLACE.
The sad reality is, I’m a recovering chaotic.
An input addict.
Picture that on it’s way to simplicity…
I spend many hours on the internet to find anything out there that would save my life. That’s when I came across the Midori Traveler’s Notebook . I absolutely adore the concept. The MTN gives you the possibility to insert multiple notebooks which means you don’t have to replace your entire notebook when one part is full.
So I decided to create a Life Journal.
I’ve journaled most of my life – including teenager hate-love-life journals – and found that one of the easiest way to create peace in my mind is to put my thoughts on paper.
Actual paper. The process of writing has been tremendously helpful for me, and is still an important part of my morning routine. My daily journaling happens in a separate binder, though. It’s not something to carry around all day ;-).
With our frequent trips into Africa I want a place to capture my thoughts, the important lessons I learn and the beautiful memories that I collect along the way. Yes, I’m one of those that still keep the old fashioned boarding passes… Yay, for traveling in Africa.
Because I am an avid leather lover – that smell, the feel, the look – I bought a nice piece of leather at our local leather shop. With help of a youtube tutorial I managed to figure out how to make my own cover. It worked, and I love it!!
8 components that make up my Life Journal
1. Daily planner
I have tried many planners over the years. As soon as the new stock was out I would be wondering through the bookshops, finding the most beautiful one, hoping it would work for me. I also spend many hours on the internet, downloading printables. But it wasn’t for long that I would go back to my own plain and simple planner. I actually drew my own yearly planner by hand. It’s a fantastic mindful activity, and I enjoy creating that open space of expectation.
2. Life Roles
Earlier this year I started defining my roles. It has been a real eye-opener and absolute life saver for me. For every role I have, being a wife and homeschooling mother in ministry, I wrote down my values and goals. It was a fun project to do and it helped me focus on what is important for me in life. It makes it easier for me to track where I am, and to check if my priorities are still okay.
3. Life Roles – Project pages
Every role comes with it’s own set of goals and projects. I made a very simple booklet that functions as a project overview. On Sunday nights, when I plan my week, I go over my roles and see what projects deserves attention the coming week. I write the next action steps down to make sure I move forward.
4. Daily routines
One of the things as a teenager I swore I would never do, was to become a boring grown up that does the same stuff day in day out. Now, 20 years later and a little bit wiser, I know that making the same simple decisions over and over again costs way to much energy. So I finally gave in and the first thing I did was creating a simple morning routine. I wake up at 5 and follow the same set of activities every day. I did the same for our homeschooling and next up is my evening routine. I’m consciously making new habits. Still a way to go here…
5. Important Data
With our family travelling, I need a lot of numbers. Numbers of ID’s, birth certificates, passports, bank accounts, insurances and so on. I can’t count the numerous times I looked for a certain number and it took me hours in stead of minutes. They were everywhere. Yes, I do have them in my laptop, and should probably put them in my phone too ;-).
6. Smash Journal
A few years ago I discovered the Smash journals. I love it! We gather so many little memories that will get lost if I don’t glue them in immediately. I seriously wish I was one of the creative wonders, to make it look nice and pretty, but I don’t get much further than actually *smashing* it in. It also functions as a creative notebook during conferences, or as a piece of white paper when I’m bored.
7. Words of wisdom
I re-read Ken Blanchard’s The One Minute Entrepreneur a few weeks back. Such a inspirational read. He suggests that you keep a journal with one minute wisdom you gain throughout life. I love the idea and put it in practice straight away, because it helps me to be more inquisitive to find the pearls of wisdom from people I meet.
8. Pocket folders
At the back of my Life Journal I created some folders from old A4 envelops where I put my sticky notes, wordlists for writing (homeschooling my kids is finally paying off), our standard printed grocery list and Stephen Covey’s weekly compass sample (which from next year I’ll be implementing in my daily planner).
It is a journey! And it will be tweaked much more. But it was worth it!
All I carry with me now is my Life Journal, a tiny pencil case, my wallet and phone.
I’m set to conquer the world ;-).
Just in time to prevent me from going crazy.
Now I would love to hear from you. What is the one thing that helps you keep your ducks in a row?
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