Monday, June 30, 2014

Starting a new month in your journal

Which is also your notebook and sketchbook. Because reasons.

 I feel like a new month is a chance to start over, and to try new things. It's definitely a chance to add in new pages, to replace the ones you've been using all the previous month with clean, open, fresh ones. Here's some of what I'm doing right now.

Because my journal is the same book as my notebook, my dream journal, my day-to-day list-book and scratchpad, and everything else, I set up a month like so:

  • A new calendar for the month. Lately, I've been using the one sent by StarGardener in her Right Brain Planner subscription, and it's great. I'll use this one for scheduling, notes, what I did and what I should do, whatever. 
  • I usually also have a second (and sometimes a third) dedicated calendar to record weather, moods, how I feel, etc. I usually use the freebies from LiveCraftEat for that, since they're cute, clean, have a lot of space, and I was using them before I discovered the #RBP.
    • I also tend to put a little smudge of any nail polish I use on the day it's used, or the day it's bought.

  • This month I'm trying something new: Across from my calendar, I've added in a sheet of things I want to track this month, with a square to fill in for each day--practical things like when I babysit, when I get orders in my shop, when I exercise, and more aspirational things like meditation, reviews, stuff like that. It's also got lines for mood, body, whether I keep to my diet, household chores I tend to forget, stuff like that.
  • Then there'll be a page for me to track my monthly spending, because I've gotten bad about that again.
  • A page for the first week's schedule and to-do list.
  • A page for ongoing monthly notes, things I need to remember during the month, and future dates. Usually also whatever from last month still needs doing, sometimes on its own to-do list, and sometimes just in a general way, mixed in with other pages.
  • Then it goes back to being a journal.
I'll mark the pages I need to remember to go back to with little post-it tabs, and I'm playing with the idea of color-coding the edges of pages so I can more easily find things--but that'll probably be more like something I do when I'm closing the book, as part of the indexing process.

Throughout the month, I have my RightBrainPlanner pages:

And I usually have a page a week or a month where I just stick down things I find--lately, it's been things like leaves from the playground, colored bits of paper off the ground, samples of new art supplies / nail polish / whatever, pretty packaging off things I buy, just stuff like that.

Sometimes I put a list of journal questions to answer during the month, a list of goals for the month, a list of items that need buying, a rough financial plan; it all depends on what's going on and how I feel about it, but these are usually all clustered together, set up when I start a new month.

I also like to Take A Moment--I'll think about, and sometimes write about, what happened during the last month, what I learned from it, and what I can do in the month ahead. This is especially useful when the month I just finished was hard or hectic, and it gives a feeling that I've wrapped it up, that I can move forward without dragging all that behind me.

Do you do anything special when you prep for a new month? How do you track the passage of time, either in your notebook, your journal, or your planner?
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