Hubris: 14 February 2021 edition. Bullet journaling tips, how business makes me happy, and a celebration of the sun’s return.
In This Issue
This Year’s Bullet Journaling Rhythm
What I love about the bullet journal method is that you can continually adapt it to meet the needs of the moment. As my needs change, I can alter the daily layout, the types of spread I use, and the sort of information I’m capturing. My current daily format looks like this:
- Writing/Projects: The one project I need to work on today. Most days this is getting a minimum 6 pages written. Other days there are specific section that need to be complete. If there are bits of future projects that I need to work on, that goes here as well.
- Marketing/Web: Anything having to do with the blog and social media. I’ve moved this to a marketing function to change my mindset. All of this is about selling more books, folks. At least, that’s how I’m trying to steer things.
- Accounting/Admin: Any business tasks that aren’t related to writing and marketing. Most of this is bookkeeping. The rest is strategic planning for the next quarter and the coming year.
- Research: This category is for anything that needs to be looked up. Books that need to be read, articles I want to mine for ideas, stuff that needs to be found on the internet. I do it in a scheduled block so I don’t wander into a book or end up mindlessly surfing the web.
- Household: Things that need to be done around the house. I’m currently decluttering one small zone per day, from a dedicated spread. This also includes normal cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and so on.
- Reading: The book I’m currently reading for pleasure. I make myself write this down daily, and cross it off when I’ve read at least a few pages, to make sure I do it. For the most part I have swapped out internet surfing for reading.
- Media: I’ve started scheduling media consumption. It makes me be discerning about the movies and TV shows I want to watch, and the podcasts I want to listen to. Running those things as background noise while I’m working is a distraction. The goal is to consume less/better content.
- Journaling: A reminder to update the existing logs/spreads. Update the white board and calendar. Add new spreads for upcoming projects as needed.
Not all of these categories have to be touched every day. My routine is to run down the list to make sure I’m not forgetting something. I tend to get so caught up in writing that I let little things slip past me.
So I don’t overwhelm myself, I’m considering using a 1-3-5 method when scheduling daily tasks. No more than 1 big thing, 3 medium things, 5 small things. That also helps me to set priorities. Most days, writing the the big thing. I can slough off anything else until I get my daily page count done. Then I know the medium things are more important than the small things.
I’ve been considering making spreads for each of these categories, to capture tasks as I think of them. Every writing project has its own spread, as does each website. Research gets written down as a project task, so it doesn’t need its own thing. I’m trying to find a good way to organize reading and media consumption into spreads that will serve my needs. Lists of titles to check off don’t help me in any way.
Business is My Happy Place
Lately I’ve been having more fun (yes, fun!) with the business side of my job than with the creative side. For a start, the metrics for business are a lot easier to fathom. Am I making money? Then I’m doing my job correctly. Did I make more money this accounting period than I did in the last accounting period? Then I’m doing my job well. There are objective measures that show I know what I’m doing, and that’s a confidence booster.
My closest friends, including people in my industry, know the problems that I have with this publishing niche. The metrics for success are closer to those of social media or show business. How large is your fan following? What do your reviews look like? Who’s giving you those reviews? What awards have you been nominated for, and how many have you won?
I don’t care about any of that. It’s superficial and meaningless. I want to get my work into the hands of people that will appreciate it. That needs to generate enough income to live on comfortably. Period. Chasing clout doesn’t necessarily result in increased sales, and has a high cost in terms of time and money. It’s not profitable. The whole industry is built on a terrible business model.
The other thing that frustrates me — and I know this will offend some people, but here goes — is that the field feels creatively bankrupt. I’m not saying that there aren’t creative people out there producing interesting, high-quality books. It’s more akin to how YouTubers, TikTok creators, and other social media influences have had to alter their content to suit the algorithm.
The Long Dark is Over
There was an essay I wanted to write earlier this week about February in Central Finland. I didn’t have time in my schedule, and in a couple of weeks it won’t be relevant. In short, I love this time of year because the sun is finally back. Everything is covered with snow and frost, and when the sunlight hits the world looks like it’s covered in glitter. I wish I could think of a better word to describe it than “magical”, but my schedule doesn’t allow my time to wax poetical or consult a thesaurus.
The downside of February here is that it’s cold. Ridiculously cold. That alone doesn’t bother me. I’ve come to embrace the Nordic saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. That’s my issue. You can’t just put on your shoes, grab your coat, and head out the door. Not if you want to avoid frostbite.
I wear an ankle brace, a wrist brace, and an elbow brace. If I’m doing any walking, or plan on carrying groceries, I need these. They go on first. Next are the thermal tights. Yes, tights. Form-fitting pants and a matching long-sleeved shirt designed to hold in body heat. They need to go over the braces, and situated so they don’t ride up or twist. Then regular clothes. By this point, you’re starting to sweat. Then two pairs of socks, and boots. Either a sweater and then a coat, or a superhot coat, depending. Because covid, two masks. A sock hat, stretchy and close-fitting, and a normal hat over that. Two pairs of gloves. Sunglasses, because damn it’s bright. Sling on the backpack, and now that you’re soaked in sweat you can go out.
Repeat the process when you get home.
If I had my choice, I’d never leave the house between Yule and the March equinox.
Hubris: 14 February 2021