I am a big believer in planning. I enjoy a well-made to do list with crossed out things. In high school I didn’t have a school provided agenda (until my senior year and we viewed it as the teachers trying to control us- we were not very bright) so I’d write lists on my arm in marker (again, not very bright), but I really loved being able to mark things off each day. My lists then were things like:

  • Finish history
  • write Michelle back
  • send Colleen a happy note

In college I got my first day planner and I would schedule my entire day when I was feeling overwhelmed.

7:30- Wake Up

8:30- Get out of bed

8:35- Shower and dress

9:30- Meet EGB at Tea Hole for breakfast

9:45- Directing I- Have blocking completed

It made me feel really productive to mark off things even if was just to shower or call home.

As my life has changed, a list or plan of action has always been the most helpful for me. It’s how I cope when I feel overwhelmed by life and how it’s going. I leave post-its all over my house with lists. Reminders of dry cleaning, what day field trips are on, when money is due. It might not be every minute of every day, but it’s good.

This year I’m tackling a new way of organizing. I still love my post-its, but I bought a Spark Notebook. It’s like a day planner, but more of a life planner. There’s space to write things like dental appointments and when that project is due, but it’s also a place to explore what you want to accomplish over the year.

There’s a section to write out your Yearly Theme. They give you room to brainstorm what that might mean to you, a place to write it out, a place to list your top goals. This year I want to work on finishing two books. This is going to be quite the accomplishment since I haven’t started the first one yet (I will in November). But, I want to write it down on paper that my goal this year is to write two books. I also have other goals- stop procrastinating – spend less time wasting your life on Facebook (word to the wise, you will never agree with some folks, stop hatewatching)- write every school day for an hour.

For me that means actually writing. Putting the words down and developing the story in someway. I’m the best at saying I’m writing and then before I even know it I’m on Tumblr and my life is gone.

I really love the whole concept behind the Spark Notebook. The days are broken into Morning- Noon- Night. I love that I can set goals for each of those times of day. And sometime “brain leaking out your ear while you watch Gilmore Girls for the elevintybillionth time” is completely acceptable. At the beginning of each week there’s a place to list your goals for that week, to reflect and celebrate, and to review your other goals that you’ve set. It does a great job of reinforcing what your big goals are for the year. At the end of the notebook is just a place for notes. My heart jumped a little there. I can write ANYTHING in that spot. Story ideas, gas mileage to record, what books I want to buy, quotes or inspirations.

I’m working on my goals for the month of November. Obviously, NaNoWriMo is going to be a big part of that, but so is being a friend, showing hospitality, and not neglecting the other areas of my life.

Sometimes you just need a little Spark to get moving.

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