Posts Tagged With: organization

Every Day Carry (EDC)

In Which Our Heroine Ponders What Burdens Are Necessary

I have a very bad habit of carrying far too much (mainly literally, but sometimes figuratively) on my person every day. I like to travel light, but I also like to be prepared for any contingency. I also detest not being able to find things – everything I carry must have its designated place in my Daily Kit.

Every so often, I purge my handbag of All That Is Unnecessary and try again, but there are certain Things Without Which I feel Distinctly Uncomfortable. I continually struggle to find the balance between Bare Minimum and Distinctly Overloaded. Add to this my constant Hunt For The Perfect Handbag (which means changing bags fairly often and sometimes forgetting to move some Essential from one bag to another), not to mention the back problems that occur when I overload myself, and you see part of my need to simplify and streamline my EDC.

I imagine that I am not the only one who struggles with this dilemma.

So, how does one decide what is necessary?

For some people, there are auxiliaries that will vary from day to day and situation to situation. Is today a work day? A vacation day? Will I be near home, or will I be far away for the day? Will I have a lot of down time, or is every moment booked solid?

While these are all important things to take into account, most people carry a “core” with them every day. For some, it’s as simple as KWP: Keys, Wallet, Phone. As long as one is carrying those three things, one can contact others and be contacted, one can get into one’s home/car, and one can identify one’s self and make purchases.

For many people, however, there are other daily tasks and activities that require equipment. I gave myself this guideline: If you truly use this every day, then carry it. Otherwise, leave it at home.

In the interests of keeping myself accountable (and possibly inspiring others to take a good, hard look at what they carry every day), here is my current EDC:

(Not pictured: my phone, as that’s what I always use to take photos. Pray ignore the cat hair. Hiro firmly believes that I stuff bags full of yarn especially so that he can cuddle with them.)

My wallet is a Pocket Deluxe Chic Sparrow Elysium. It holds all the usual things (cash, cards, ID), as well as the notebooks in which I keep my Bullet Journal and a fountain pen. (My current favorite is a Pilot Namiki Decimo with a Fine nib, though I have also been known to carry my ever-reliable Kaweco Sport.)

My other supplies are split into Tom Bihn Organizer Pouches by category. Because I have at least one fountain pen with me at all times (as this is definitely my favorite kind of pen), I also carry ink cartridges. In the same pouch, I have a letter opener, a pencil sharpener, and three tiny stamps that I use to track weather in my planner. I usually carry a knitting project, so a second pouch holds essential knitting notions. A third pouch contains a very minimal First Aid Kit with Advil, adhesive bandages (Star Wars and Wonder Woman, because life is too short for boring bandages), and lip balm.

To be honest, I probably still carry more pens than I strictly need, but I use them every day. I also always carry at least one ordinary rollerball in case my husband needs one and forgets his.

The various pouches help me to make sure that I can find everything, even in the most capacious, non-pocketed handbag. They also make it easy to remember to transfer everything from bag to bag.

I use everything on this list almost every day. Those things that I carry “just in case” are purely medical at this point (other than Alex’s pen). There are things I have left behind in the past (like my knitting), but I have consistently regretted it.

What do you carry with you every day? What are your reasons and requirements? Let me know in the comments or, if you’ve done your own blog entry on this subject, please leave me a link!

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Categories: Pondering, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

The Bullet Journal

In Which Our Heroine Attempts To Bring Order Out Of Chaos

As readers of this blog know, I am not the most organized person. My methods, particularly in the creative areas of my life, tend to be slapdash and haphazard. This leads to long breaks in productivity, a tendency to forget things (such as the fact that blogs need to be updated in order to remain relevant), and the necessity for scrappy “catching up” entries like this one.

Fortunately, I have been working on improving my organizational/planning skills over the past year, so I am hoping that I can go less than a year between blog entries. Apparently, creating an actual schedule helps. Who knew?

The most important organizational improvement I have made is using the Bullet Journal system by Ryder Carroll. I’ve been using the system for over a year now, in conjunction with a couple of mobile apps, and it’s working very well. I work better with pen and paper generally whether I’m planning or writing fiction, and the Bullet Journal has been great for that. I remember things better if I write them down by hand. Just the Index and Page Numbers have made a huge difference.

It all started with my notebook collection. I mentioned in an earlier entry how much I love notebooks, as well as my bad habit of purchasing notebooks and storing them in a drawer rather than using them. A little over two years ago, I decided that it was time to find a way to use those notebooks. I came across a tweet from Maureen Johnson about how she had nearly lost her Bullet Journal in a taxi. “What’s a Bullet Journal?” I (and several other people) asked. She sent us all to Bulletjournal.com.

I knew this was the perfect way to usefully consume at least some of the notebooks in my collection. I always try to carry a notebook on my person in any case. The idea of being able to put everything – plans, tasks, story ideas, sketches – in one, everyday notebook, and then to be able to reference and find everything when I needed it was an epiphany. It was simplicity itself, yet endlessly adaptable.

The best thing about the Bullet Journal system is that it has worked. I have filled notebooks. I have become more productive creatively. I have managed not to forget as many things or let them slip through the cracks. I still have a long way to go as far as forming productive habits, but I have consistently written in my journal every day (except perhaps one or two) for over two years now. I’ve modified the system to fit what works for me after extensive experimentation with different modules. I’ve also moved from the recommended A5 Leuchtturm1917 notebook to a B6 Slim “Fauxdori” Chic Sparrow notebook, as I’ve found it useful to split my Collections off from my Monthlies and Dailies. I still use digital apps like Google Calendar and Habitica, but I’ve integrated them into my Bullet Journal system.

One trap to avoid: There’s always that idea that, if we just buy the right pen/notebook/dividers/stickers/sticky notes/fill-in-your-favorite-stationery-supplies-here, we will instantly be effortlessly organized. If you want to take up this system, my best advice is to avoid the words “Bullet Journal” on Pinterest and Instagram for at least a month. The artistry that some people devote to their journals turns said journals into beautiful jewels – but that’s not where the focus needs to be. That’s additional stuff, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but a Bullet Journal should be functional first. Figure out what modules work for you, and go from there.The wonderful thing about the Bullet Journal system is that one uses whatever notebook one has on hand and whatever pen gives one delight.

This is not to say that I do not have an impressive collection of sticky notes and pens and glittery ink and suchlike. My powers to resist Shiny Things are not strong. But I am using these things, and I suppose that’s what counts.

Next on the list, of course, needs to be an Inventory and Organization of my Organizational Supplies. That always feels just a trifle recursive.

Have you tried the Bullet Journal system? Did it work for you? Do you want to, and just haven’t dipped your toe in yet? What’s stopping you? Let me know in the comments, and I will respond with encouragement!

Categories: Pondering | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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