Jun 20, 2016

Catching a Partner - What You Might be Fucking Up

First, before you ask me, yes, I'm still doing the Bullet Journal Project, no, I won't blog about it right now, and yeah, I think it's not my thing, but I'll keep doing it until I finish the notebook. So, what do I want to blog about today? I want to blog a little about people. Yes, you know, one of those posts.

I actually do have a couple of cases in mind that had me thinking for quite a while, but I don't want to make specific mention of them - mainly to protect the innocent - but also because through some of the paralelysms I've found, I realized that a more generic kind of post may help others. But then, lets see if I can keep this on a pattern fashion rather than a story.

Sometimes it can be difficult to actually understand people who are different from us, and I don't mean, like they speak a different language, come from a different culture or have a different sexual orientation, but people who have a different life experience or a different view of life. It doesn't mean that you can't respect them, but lets face it, it often is difficult to actually put yourself in their shoes and understand where they come from. For example, for a meatlover, it can be really difficult to understand the eating choices of a vegan. It doesn't mean that the meatlover can't respect the vegan's choice, just as the vegan shouldn't have any trouble respecting the meatlover's choice, BUT when it comes to understanding each other, it can be difficult.

Through the years, I have been witnessing a quite interesing battle as a complete outsider, in the lives of several people about a think I have little grasp of: the desire to marry and have children. Though in my younger years I firmly believed in that sort of goal, as I grew up (basically from my 20's on), I grew out of that... "goal", and soon found the prospect of such a happening as a quite horrible, shackling event. Thus, though I've been there - in the desiring phase - as I see others dreaming and planning and getting all happy about marriages and kids, my first instinct usually is to try and jump in to save them from catastrophy. I don't, obviously, because it's not my place, and what for me sounds much like a life sentence, for them might be the best thing in the world.

The topic of forming a family, finding your One and all that, is constantly bombarded on us, and we are exposed to this message 24/7 and on every sound and surface we see around us. It's in the advertisements for detergents, food, clothes, drinks, and it's the topic of loads of songs, novels, movies, self-help crap, series and TV shows, documentals, reality TV shows and many, many other stuff. Though with some people it seems to "naturally happen", others struggle a little with the whole thing. And a lot of people put a really lot of effort into it, even to the point where they work so hard to keep up denial and try to salvage what can no longer be salvaged. Others stand on another end, single and desperate because of it, curiously showing their anxiety about it in different ways. Some try to act cool about it, but with a degree of aggressivity that belies their efforts. Others are openly depressed by their state and slowly edge to the point where they will claw into anything willing to take them in. Honestly, all three of them are scary because it's clear that none of them are happy, and you must wonder whether they'll be able to be happy when they reach their coveted goal.

On one successful case I know of, there was this person who was crazy commited to their partner. Like, really, crazy committed. This person I knew was up to give up everything for their partner, no questions asked. Ok, maybe some thinking and process was needed for some of the hardest parts, but this person basically forfeited their own believes and opinions to basically match those of their partner. Probably not a healthy thing, but the person was happy and seemed balanced. Then they discovered that their partner wasn't taking them seriously, and cheated big time on them, while actually planning on going serious with someone more to their way of thinking. Some will say that this person I know, was asking for it (no, they were not) because they deformed themselves and became a puppet for their partner. Actually, as I slowly came to understand, this person was actually acting under what they perceived as commitment. Misconstrued or not, they tried to make something work by working hard themselves and trying to accomodate the other person, while at the same time trying to negotiate aspects they found necesary for the other to accept.

From this person I learned that often this commitment thing isn't the key, or not as we superficially understand it. Commitment should be a measured thing where you know very well how far are you willing to go, how far can you ask the other person to go, and be ok with it. Commitment should also be about not forcing something that doesn't work to keep up just because you can't imagine your life without it.

This person, after the break up with their partner, spent some time being single, and took the chance to use it for introspection. Through this period, this person purged from themselves many of their toxic asupmtions and predispositions, and learned to love themselves as they are. A new partner came into their lives and now they are to get married.

While this was happening with this person, I realized that they shared characteristics with other people who were struggling with their single status, and getting quite desperate about it. From the aggressive people who yell it and post it on every surface, how they hate this or that type of jackass or cocktease, to those wrapped in gloom declaring that they are no longer willing to date people who are not going to take it seriously, because they are tired of people using them, I stopped to wonder why while all three types want the same thing (form a family), why some get it and for others the chance seems to forever elude them. It's kind of though, specially when one considers how I myself are not into marriage, not even into relationships and I have been in a couple of serious relationships where my partners have actually seriously considered marrying me. Even though they knew I was going to say no. Because I warned them.

So, I was thinking, what is the first person doing right, or what may I be doing right to get where the other two types don't get? The reply is quite difficult, because there isn't a recipe to this. There's no charm to use to make sure the person you are having a dinner with will turn to you and propose or look at you with dove eyes and recite a song from Bryan Addams. But perhaps there are a couple of things that maybe could help. Maybe. Emphasis on maybe. That's the operative word.

I imagine that, if I wanted to get married right now, I wouldn't find a single person to do that with. So, when your family asks you "when are you going to get married" it's such a stupid question to aske, because actually getting married isn't like starting a diet or joining a gym. Getting married is a two-people decision, and you can't (or shouldn't) make decisions for others. Also, it wouldn't work to get married right now because then I would be out on the hunt, looking for a husband or a wife, and that alone - that hunt-for-a-spouse vibe - would probably scare away any potential partner. Just think about being at the other end of that laser objective: there is a person who barely knows you, who wants you to commit for life with them. And want you to be responsible about it. Maybe even dishes lines like

"I'm not willing to waste any time on something that's not going to be serious. I want to marry and I want to have kids."

Or maybe a charming line like

"All men are just jackasses/All women are just whores who only have one thing in mind."

Do you know what that looks like? It looks like danger. A person pushing this hard at the begining can be expected to push harder through it. Potential of happiness? 0. A person like this looks more likely to end up on an Investigation Discovery show like "Who the F**ck I married", or any of those about crazy people commiting passional crimes, or killing family members. In my experience, men are not so prone to dish out lines like those on the first date, but some cases have been documented.

The thing here is that not everybody is so desperate to get a ring on their finger, and when people go out on a date, or meet others - aside from the potential hook up - they are on an exploration mission. They don't want to commit right at the begining because they first want to get to know the person. I would say this is pretty clear and desirable. A partner that first wants to know you before becoming an issue, is a smart partner.

Then there's the other component: the desperate hunter is looking for a spouse. They have already all figured out: weekend plans, vacations, the housing, the number of kids, their routine... the only thing missing from their fantasy is the partner. So basically they look for someone to fill the slot - no pun intended. From the other side, this feels like it doesn't matter who you are or what you may want, because it has all been planned out. And you know that you would be to blame if you don't comply to the script. Your role has been casted, all you are expected to do is play it. The person isn't interested in you, but in your role. They seemingly don't give a rat's ass about you. And as they show love and appreciation, you can't keep from wondering if it is real or part of their role.

So, for once, before you keep on bitching about your life, take a second to look at the situation from the other side. You might get surprised.

I believe the first person succeeded in their goal because they took the goal off the table, it wasn't their priority anymore, and their new partner got to meet them open, unpretentious and with no pressure to commit. They got to meet the person, not the expectation.

In order to be in a relationship, first you must love yourself, otherwise you are unfit to love others. You also must understand the relationship and what a relationship is. You have to understand your particular relationship, and how it evolves and where it goes. Just because you want to move faster or slower, it doesn't mean that's how the relationship is going.

A lot of people step into a relationship, but keep on thinking with an individual mentality. It's all about what they expect, what they feel, what they plan. They put effort into it, try to take it this way and that, and don't actually stop to consider the other person and what the other person is putting into it. They just rule and bulldoze over everything that doesn't comply with their plans. They might even call that commitment. That's a lot of imagining, keeping your head in the clouds and not doing anyone a favor. You must understand the relationship you are in.

Also, you shouldn't be afraid to break something that's not working, and trust me, I know how hard that can be, but we must realize that it's much better to be free and able to live ourlives ourselves, under our own rules, facing the world as it comes on our own, than staying with someone who gives us more grief than joy.

It's curious how the people who are so desperate not to be alone are also the most selfish, individualistic and uncapable of empathy you can find. So yes, maybe you are all sad and alone and thinking why God left you alone, while you are not considering that despite your bitching and efforts and even your lucky charms, books, spells, and all your gadgets, God is actually pulling overtime helping a lot of unfortunate people to avoid falling into your destructive hands.

Think about it.

Jun 13, 2016

This Bullet Journal Thing

So how am I faring with this project? Not so swimmingly, I must say. Should I, perhaps, post about this less often? Like once a month or something? Not enough time going on between update and update (this is only the third post, and granted, my last three post have been about the bullet journal, but isn't that too early to complain?)? Who knows. I'm determined to stick to this project until the end of the notebook I'm using - as I said previously, in some other post - or the end of the year... whatever I feel like it. I'm still watching videos of people bullet journaling and how they set it up, but then, the more I look at it - and now that I'm using the system - the more I realize that this isn't cut for my style. Hey, you have to face the music, don't you? So here are a couple of my latest spreads.

Daily Spread
First of, the notations started all to flow into each other, so I had to break out my coloring pencils and put up some color into the bullet journal, shading the boxes (or banners) for the days so I could more easily make those out from the general flow of scribling. That's nice if you have time and the inclination to do so, BUT not so much fun when you are not filling up your "Today" the night before on the place you normally do and where you keep your colors. And that's where some of my issues with the system start.

I know that to make a habit you have to stick to it and keep doing it for a while and yadda-yadda-yadda, BUT there are things I know about myself and I know that they would requiere quite an amount of effort and time that do not compensate the expected benefits. (Sorry, economist here, I do analyze things like this on a Cost-Benefit basis. Everybody should, I think, but then, that's just me.) Normally I'm not very productive at night, save if I'm studying, but even for that, I can't just jump into the book at 9 pm and study all the way until 1 am or so. No, I don't work that way. I have a process for studying at night, which is pointless to detail now, but the thing is that I don't relate to studying as a "routine" thing I do. My mind sees studying as a different type of activity, specially because I don't study at night always. I study in "time pockets", which is not the same as to say when I have free time, but in carved little moments when I can make time for it, and these pockets are flexible, movable, from one point to the next. A habit would require a fixed time, and my fixed times are better settled during the early hours of the day, which is why I rather wake up earlier to do my exercise routine, than wait to do it at night.

I normally wake up really early, so by night I'm normally quite tired. If I have to study, I know I can muster some time before my brain teflons-up and nothing stick to it anymore, but to think that I still have to plan the next day out? Yeah, not gonna happen. Hell, sometimes even cooking up the easiest meal, or making a sandwich is a HUGE effort! Planning? Out of the question.

I've been planning for a whole week now with the bullet journal system, and if I have planned out my day the day before twice, that's been a lot. Copying down lists every day, trying to figure out good ways to put in my movable tasks - which in my filofax I just write up one day, and they remain there, maybe copied over for the next week, or written in the "this week" box... - and using post-its and fearing that I might end up losing my tasks because of way too many post-its crowding the place... Is it a mechanism to make me work though the list faster? I don't know, but I definitively don't appreciate the pressure.

As you can see in the picture above, I started using the "coding" suggested in the original bullet journal system, with the dots, circles and dashes. Don't really do it for me either. It's simpler that the boxes I was using - which I use in my filofax - but I'm still not there yet. What's my problem with them? Basically that they "disappear" from my sight. They become a listing and I don't see at one glance what's a note, an appointment or a task. I'm kind of using my filofax system by notating appointments at the left and tasks at the right, and now decided to import more from my FF by adding color coding into it as well. We shall see how that works in the future.

I did add other spreads, like a new spread for tracking my university subjects, and I like it, but then again, that's something I can easily do and refer to in my filofax, using a segment in one of my sections.

Subject Track for University
The thing I'm taking from the bullet journal so far is that it's a system that present definitively some challenges for proper future planning, doesn't quite give you (or at least me) enough peace of mind to make sure all your important tasks and appointments were dutifully recorded in the right dates (particularly for those of us who actually fix appointments or dates months in advance), and basically requires more time spent on planning than traditional systems.

Personally, I think the filofax system fills my needs about time planning much better. I don't have to worry about noting down every time I have class, or a test or so, per month, per day, per week. I don't have to fret I'm too tired and forget to file in something important, because a lot of important things were noted down the day I knew about them, so I don't have to deal with them now. In this first week of the project, though I used the system, I've been leaning heavily on my filofax to get things done and keep myself on task.

Wonder if with a little more of time, I'll change my mind about this.

Jun 8, 2016

Bullet Journal: First Days into the Experiment

It's kind of late for me to be at the office, and I'm already feeling a bit tired, though that might also be because I'm on the Second Day of the period and all that chunky blood loss does make me a bit zombie-ish. It's still quite a nice day, though, except that I was a tad late today and didn't get a parking spot at the closest parking lot at the office, but had to go to the one further away, AND on the way I realized I had plate restriction (I blame that bout of forgetfulness on the blood loss due to the period, because, really, the period should be good for something, other than tell you that you are not pregnant), thus I decided to wait until 7 p.m. before leaving. I'm not chancing a ticket.

The extra time I used wisely by actually studying for one of my University subjects: Service Costs. Nice, huh? And now, in the last few minutes - as my mind desperately races thinking of the lunches I have to make for tomorrow and Friday (I'll do zuccini, it's the easiest, and I love zuccini) - and the German homework I have for tomorrow - I decided to let you know how the Bullet Journal Project is going.

If you recall, in my last post I talked about the Bullet Journal, how it wasn't for me and what I have found as criticism on the Internet while I was researching the matter. Then, by the end of the post, I was actually considering the possibility of keeping an experimental bullet journal, just to see if it really was for me or not. And so the Experiment was born.

I started by fishing out an old blank notebook a friend had given me a long while ago, and which I actually couldn't really put to proper use.

Bullet Journal Project: Starting Page

This notebook is a spiral bond, blank page notebook with plastic covers. I had started using it in the past as a Book of Shadows until I moved into a larger book - also blank paged - with hard covers. so what better than this, right?

For the project I checked once again Ryder's site and introductory video making all the necessary notes for it, and then started making an Index page, a Yearly Spread - which in my case was a seven-month spread, and the first Monthly Spread, which was for June.

Here's the Index

The "Yearly Spread"

Monthly Spread

First off, the paper turned out not to be so good for this sort of experiment, as it bleeds through quite a lot. I tried first a fountain pen, but it went right through it. So the pilot pens. And the highlighters. It doesn't really bother me so much, but I put a limit at the point where the bleeding ink renders unreadable the other page.

Up blank, the pages look nice, but when on use, they look a bit... cramped.

This yearly spread can't take more... sadly.

Getting packed...

At one point I started using post-its to supply for the lack of space, but really, it didn't really do the job. Of course, this could simply mean that I would need to make my yearly spread in more pages, like a spread per quarter or per each four months... or try and make my handwriting smaller, but as it is, with just my University MAIN appointments it got all filled out. No space for my German classes, or my other notations.

I did created a spread for tracking birthdays and important gifting/card-sending holidays, which is currently only Halloween and Christmas, and indexed it, but then I thought of all the tracking lists and systems I already cram in my filofax, and the idea of transfering them by hand into my project was beyond daunting. Yes, I could print out a template and glue it into the bullet journal if I decide to keep the system, but not now.

For the journaling part itself, the idea of checking every night your day and plan the next day is lovely and nearly romantic, but very inconvenient when you get home late or tired. I really don't want to journal and write down stuff when all I want to do is curl up in bed and read a little of whatever I'm reading (currently a book on the Salem witch trials, because, really, I'm still obssessed with the topic and the city). I also developped a system for my tasks, where I use a post-it with a sort of on-going task list with things I need to get done but still don't need to be done a given day. This is easier for me than to copy every day the tasks I didn't finish, even though I just wrote them down to keep them in mind, not to have them finished that day.

filofax and bullet journal side by side.
So far, though I do enjoy the novelty and the space and the flexibility of the bullet journal, the system that still makes it the best for me is the filofax. Yes, I love the space of the bullet journal, but I love the structure of the filofax, and so far I feel like that's a lifesaver for me.

But I'll continue, at least until I fill this notebook, or get to the end of the year - whatever happens first. And you, Dear Anonymous Reader, will be able to keep track of the developing of this project, if you desire so, by the post I'll keep making on the subject.

Jun 2, 2016

Bullet Journaling and Planning

:: HELLO, IT'S BEEN A WHILE AND I'M SORRY, THIS POST CAME OUT WAAAY TOO LONG::

Recently I finished my second intensive course of German, earning myself the completition of the A1 level, which amounts to something like "Survival Language Skills", which is UNDER the "Beginners' Level" (which would be the A2 level). Before we go any further... I did tell you I was learning German, right? I think I did. If I didn't, yes, I started learning German (for real this time) in... was it February? I think it was in February. I'm learning with the Goethe Zentrum, and they have six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2), and each level is divided in three or four courses. If you do all the thing on regular lessons (once a week), you finish in six years... or more. If you do the intensive (twice a week), you can finish in about three years.

I started with my sister-in-law, Yul, and we both finished the first course, but in the second she didn't pass. This made her - understandably - very sad. I did pass - as expected - but felt so very bad because she didn't. We did met to study a couple of times, but we don't go at it the same way. Basically because I just don't study when it comes to languages - for some reason I don't need it, I'm good at it - so I was doing homework at top speed, while she was slowly struggling, trying to organize herself while attending the demands of her kids. When the last test was do - with was one of those oral tests, where you actually HAVE to reply to questions by SPEAKING the language you are learning - we practiced. Our teacher told us before hand the topics we would have to talk about, so we prepared a monologue and a dialogue. Before the test Yul was quite good, and we wrote out a sound dialogue for all the possible choices we had. Yul was actually being too ambitious, composing long sentences, which I cut to smaller ones so we would remember them easier. However, at the test itself it was like her whole brain blanked out, and she couldn't say a single properly worded sentence.

Concerned about that, and looking to help her, I started thinking on ways I could be of assistance. I haven't offered her anything for sure yet, as I'm waiting to see whether she will retake the class or not, but for once, I thought about helping her once a week with the kids, so she can have a few hours for herself to study. That brought me to thinking about sharing with her study tips, so I researched a little about Test Anxiety, about which I found a couple of quite good articles. One of them is "Freezing on Exams - 5 Tips", by oxfordlearning.com. This took me to start checking on studying skills and packing up my tumblr, my youtube channel and just about everything with this topic. After all, I'm a college student too, and while I'm very good at learning languages, I really need to put some serious elbow grease into Finance, so why not see what good tips the world has to offer? And THIS brought be back to the world of planning. Now, this isn't a post on my learning techniques - I might do one of those later on, but not now - but it must be said that effective learning, like effective working, can't be done without planning, and planning requires a planning system that works with you.

taken from bulletjournal.com
If you are on tumblr or youtube - and probably many other social networks - you may have noticed the fashion in the studying communities and planner communities about the Bullet Journal.

What is a Bullet Journal?

This is a planning and recording system that's rather flexible and is based on lists. It was developped by Ryder Carroll, who also made it free for anyone to use. The whole system relies on a notebook - any notebook, really - in which you will have an index page, a future log page, a yearly (or semestral spread), a monthly spread and then your daily logs. Each item is written down as a task, or a bullet list - you know them, you've seen them in Power Point presentations - with different markers to signal whether it's an appointment, a task, a task with a deadline, and so on.

You don't have to do all the parts of it, or you can add more, and you can put in your journal other stuff, like lists of whatever thing you need  lists for, notations, ideas... and then just reference them in the index. You can reference whatever you want to reference in your index. It works with You. It does what you want it to do.

taken from filofax.co.uk
For a moment I caught the fever - specially seeing all those cute pictures of working bullet journals - and so I gave it a thought. Just imagine NOT getting any inserts next year for my filofax, but go bullet journaling with a pack of graph paper! I'm a kinetic person, so yes, the idea of that was exciting. Except that the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the system wasn't really for me. Why? Because:

1. I do a lot of future planning, and a lot of my plans are very specific. This is mostly because of the University, where I have the whole period (three to four months) planned ahead with specific times for tests, classes, deadlines for projects and homework, and I tend to use a lot of space (if I can) writing down all I need to know about the given appointment, like chapters, tutors, location and so on. 

Normally, with my current planner, when I get my program, I spend a couple of days copying all in my planner, in the monthly and weekly calendars, and then in my witchy calendar, and now also in my U-calendar. Sometimes I even take the time to copy them down in my Google Calendar. Sometimes. Why so many? This is my system, so I always have these important appointments at sight and can prepare for them.

Before I go further, what's a U-calendar? Simple. I printed out a monthly calendar for the months of the period in a month-on-two-pages (MO2P) format, in letter-sized paper, punched it and put it in my notes binder, right at the begining. It holds ONLY my university appointments.

original picture
2. Though I do have quite some calendars, they all work in a given system: my main calendar is my Filofax. In it, my main reference is my weekly calendar, where all my tasks and appointments are noted down in as much detail as I can squeeze into them. 

I don't use the monthly so much, but it also has a function as to offer me a broader view of how my time is planned out. This allows me to better see how much time I have alotted for completing projects and homework, or how far am I from deadlines and tests. This is my panoramic view, and in which only the most important appointments are noted. 

taken from www.themagickalcat.com
The witch calendar includes notes on my tasks and activities that are not work related, so they give me a clear view of my personal life, and then the calendars, and wall planners offer a quick glance. I even have one of those Post-It undated weekly planner calendars mounted over my desk, so as I study I always can look at it. 

However, all of them put all of my days together, and I have the same space in each day slot. At once glance I see always the same amount of time: a week. As days go by, I usually have to fill in my weeks with notations for this day and that, appointments get crammed in, moved around... and my Chronodex stamp really works miracles for me there! With a bullet journal, how would I manage?

Getting a bullet journal and parceling it all down to equal slots, for a whole year, well, it would defeat the whole purpose of a bullet journal, wouldn't it? Not to mention that I really like the Chronodex, and on the days I don't want to use my stamp for whatever reason, I make my notations in a system I already use of appointments to the left and tasks to the right.

I still did some research, continued looking for it, and was trying to find a case of someone with needs similar to mine that could make their bullet journal work, but most of the cases I saw were those of people who only need to plan, maximum a month ahead. Then, through my research, I started finding a few people that didn't like the system, or who tried it and left it after a while. Those posts sounded interesting, so I checked them, but soon found out that often the case wasn't mine either. Two of the articles I found listed as cons situations that are very subjective or personal, and which shouldn't be a general reason to abandon the system. Those articles are "The Bullet Journal: why analog task management doesn't work", by Alina Vrabie, and "Bullet Journal Didn't Work for Me", by Josh Medeski.

Some of the things these articles mentioned were the following:

1. The Bullet Journal Isn't Flexible (Vrabie): while in my case it isn't flexible for the reasons afore mentioned, Vrabie means the physical nature of the bullet journal, since you only have the actual, physical space of the paper as the reason for the lack of flexibility.

This is quite curious because actually I prefer paper over digital because for me paper gives me more flexibility. In paper I can use as many colors as I want, highlight, stick stickers, post-its, draw, stamp, write in any language, add my icons... you name it. Some calendar apps give you that option, but not all of them.

2. Legibility (Medeski): this goes on the same line. Medeski here notes that his handwriting isn't very neat, so the bullet journal (or any other paper system, for that matter) doesn't work for him. My first thought here is, really, if his handwriting is so bad, why would he ever bother writing anything by hand at all? And, how come he even tried the system? He wasn't aware of how bad his handwriting was? My handwriting can be very bad in some cases, but then again, I don't usually write on a rush, so my filofax doesn't always see the bad side of my handwriting. Vrabie also mentions that, which makes you think about the future of hanwriting.

3. Future Log (Vrabie): this I can't argue with.  Vrabie mentions the difficulties that can arise when trying to log future appointments, when the daily part must be prepared... daily. I know that actually you can do this with the monthly spread, so each day at night you prepare next day's daily with the notes of the monthly spread, BUT then again, the monthly spread could not be as spacious as you need it. Not like - I'm suddenly thinking - you couldn't fix that with writing details in post-its...

Look, probably there is a way if you look at it, and think for a while on a solution that works for you, BUT, in here I agree with Vrabie, that some people don't really want to be bothered with taking 20 minutes of their time every day to fix up the next day's agenda.

original picture
However, the bullet journal would combine daily logs and notes and lists... sort of like the way my current notebook (a notebook I carry around to jot down stuff), and though that might be good and liberating for a notebook where all thoughts collide and things don't get revisited much, it might not work the same for a planner. Yes, you do have an index, but maybe for some people that's not the feel they are looking for. Not like you couldn't do your notes and lists from the back forwards, though then again... how do you make sure you can plan all the way to the end of the year? And what if the second half of the year has to go in another notebook? How much do you copy? How do you keep notes and lists? (See why I prefer filofaxes?)

4. No Prioritizing (Vrabie): this I didn't really get. Vrabie argues that priorities change through the day, and bullet journaling don't help you prioritize unless you know your priorities BEFORE HAND, not to mention that the markers used might means something else to you entirely. Yeah, I just... blink stupidly here. I mean, I KNOW that studying for my tests has priority over stuff I can do other days or take less time to complete. Deadlines have priority. And the markers aren't set in stone! They are suggestions! For instance, if I were to bullet journal, I wouldn't put a star or an asterisc (*) next to the given appointment or task, I would highlighted. I really doubt the Bullet Journal Police would come searching for me for it. And if your priorities change... do your bullet journal in pencil, or with frixion pens. There are frixion highlighters also, so there you go, your priorities can change.

I really tried to understand that, I really did, but I couldn't.

5. Lack of Speed (Vrabie and Medeski): both said that the bullet journal isn't as fast as typing. This is very, very personal. Recently I switched to a Microsoft Lumia, and the touch pad, the intuitive keyboard and all that are killing me. I'm better at typing on my laptop than on a phone. Specially when it tries to change all my English and Spanish words to Hungarian. Not funny. I'm however, good at handwriting, so I'm faster with a pen than with the phone.

Also, they mention (or one of them), that it's so complicated to pull a notebook out of your bag and a pen and write with something that needs both hands rather than flipping out your phone and doing the logging with one hand. One: this is a matter of skill, which not everybody has, and Two: maybe not where they live, but where I live I won't expose myself to being robbed for flashing out a notepad and a pencil, while flashing out a phone might.

Then, this isn't a problem of the bullet journaling, it's an issue they have with any paper system. I mean, if I weren't worried about betting robbed, and I'm travelling in a packed train, I could pull out my phone, and make a note with the voice recorder. THEN get home, listen to it and nicely log it in my bullet journal, and maybe even DEVELOP the idea further more.

Both Vrabie and Medeski also note that the whole writing and re-writing takes time, diminishing the speed of the journal. It does. Now, compared with a digital system where you log ONCE and the you have all the views - daily, weekly, monthly, yearly - updated, it does take time to copy over and over all the tasks. And what if you miss a task or an appointment? Technically, your system works for you, so unless you slack at it, you are not supposed to miss it. I mean, if you do it DAILY, how hard can it be to copy the tasks left from the day before, and those previously jotted down in your yearly and monthly spreads? Here's a trick - which works better if you are right handed:

1. Place a finger of each of your non-dominant hand (left, in my case), on each spread or page where you have tasks and appointments to migrate.
2. Use your dominant hand to write (right, in my case).
3. The fingers of your non-dominant hand will be like bookmarkers.
4. Using ONLY the fingers of your non-dominant hand, flip through the spreads and the current page where you are doing your daily log.
5. Remore the fingers FROM BETWEEN THE PAGES, NOT FROM THE HAND! when you have copied what needed to be copied or "migrated".

I'll be happy to provide a video of this trick, if required.

All other problems and cons listed were really a matter of not liking paper systems, or clearly prefering digital systems, or a particular system. Stuff like being deep into GTD (Getting Things Done), or not being able to colaborate, or the search system not being good enough (old school people like me, actually are faster with paper indexes and paper dictionaries than with digital search options), or requiring too much discipline... are personal stuff, personal issues, not a flaw of the system itself regarding it working for one type of planning or the other.

taken from
http://scription.typepad.com/
Vrabie does mention - without developping - how your notes and tasks can end up lost in the bullet journal, never read again. I can't argue with that, honestly, specially considering the case I made before about the moment when you switch notebooks. However, systems like the Midori could help there if you keep one notebook (indexed, for instance) for notes and lists (or one for notes and one for lists) and then another for the daily logging and calendars. There are ways in which you could do it, and then again, it's all about what you really need. Are you really looking for and reading to-do lists from two years ago? Do you need little scraps of ideas jotted down a year ago?

The thing is that the digital solutions can be messy too, and they also clutter up. Paper solutions make clutter evident and force you to clean and neat up, and depending on your skills, might even be easier. I do find it easier to order my paper files and pictures than my digital ones, for once. But that's me.

I think it's important to get both sides of the situation and consider first and foremost what YOU need and what YOU want, and what works for you. Hardly any system will work for you at once, all of them need a time to adjust and need to be adjusted to your needs. And before you spend any money on them, THINK whether it will really is what you need. Don't move from something that workd for you just for the fashion of it.

Through writing this post, I became more curious about the system, so I decided to make a pilot - draft up a bullet journal along my regular planner, in one of my many unused notebooks, see how it goes. If I do, I'll probably tell you about the experience. :-D

Mar 27, 2016

Off the Cyberspace, Looking for Real Space

Though I did had the intent of writing a post every week, lately I've been struck by a sort of revulsion towards the digital and the cybernetic environment. It's not that I don' wish to blog, but I don't feel any desire to be active on any social media. Thinking about checking my Facebook account makes me cringe. Same with Tumblr and Twitter, and then, by default, I don't desire to deal with anything Internet related. I'd rather read, I'd rather watch movies, I'd rather not turn on the computer at all if I can avoid it. Is it because I'm old or is it because there comes a moment when there's just too much Internet crap around us?

Maybe it's the heat, or the amount of homework I have, which have taken the joy out of a good chunk of my small holidays, but be it as it may, I really don´t want to spend time online. Not, if I can avoid it. So why did I post now? Because I was thinking that maybe there's someone out there who feels the same. They usually are. For them, imagine just the joy of logging off, stashing your laptop, your tablet, your phone away and walk away from them, barefoot, feeling the organic world around and coming to the fabulous point where you turn on the TV to watch something, or pick a REAL book off a shelve to read, make a real cup of coffee (or tea, or cocoa) and sit, looking outside your real window, into the real world out there and feel, really feel yourself connect with the many people through the ages that had done the same. 

Feb 28, 2016

Modern Dating

Picture taken from:
 https://kerriemore.files.wordpress.com
/2012/07/german-books-1.jpg
Tomorrow I start the new level in German - or shall I refer to it as a partial-level? - and I'm quite excited about it. More German, more knowledge and a step ahead for mastering a new language. Yay! Can't wait to know enough to start reading books in German! I'm already crunching up numbers. trying to figure out ways to squeeze a day in Vienna for my next trip to Europe, which will be now during the Spring. A really short trip. I smile just imagining going to Vienna and looking at it differently, able to understand more and say more. Won't that be a hoot?

I think I might also be nervous a little bit, as I dreamed that the first day of class I forgot about it and went home after work, and when I realized I was at home and the class had started 40 minutes ago. Waaaaah! It was awful! I remember thinking that I'd ask my sister in law for her notes and then thinking that actually nobody's notes were as good as mine. It's not the first time I have a bad dream like that, and curiously they are all about forgetting something important and not remembering until it's too late.

Recently I also went out on my first date since... a freaking lot of time. By the end of last year, I decided to give the online dating a chance, mostly out of curiosity. It was quite surprising for me to realize that more friends than I thought were on different dating sites, or used to be, and that they were meeting people through them. I tried it out, as you know, and well, this week I had the first date with someone I met online. I was thinking about it, and realizing it was a date, instead of a simple meeting, as I usually tend to see this kind of thing. But then again, I normally meet people face to face and then decide to go out somewhere, usually in the frame of some program, so maybe I've never actually dated before.

The guy I met is really nice and we got along really well. It was pleasant and casual, and I guess I won't really see much of him ever again - just the way I like it - but the point is that, as this went on I realized that I might like this quite a lot. :-) The world is changing, and people don't pick up people at bars and so, as we used to, back in the day, but when people's heads are stuck in their phones, effectively cutting them out of the rest of the world, isolating them from real life, the way to meet people now is online. Kind of sad, but this is how mankind rolls now.

Feb 21, 2016

Dating Amid Turbulence

Life as a single person... is quite a busy thing. Happy but very busy. I still have a pile of letters to reply and my reading of books for entertainment is going really slow - though that's in part due to the fact that I have read three of the Anne of Green Gables novels, and by the end of Anne of the Island I couldn't be bothered with reading another of her books. The first one was enjoyable, the second one was also quite nice, but the third one got to my nerves. Be it as it may, 2016 is proving to be a year full of activities and tasks for me, with my trusty filofax nearly bursting at the seams with things to do. Between the German classes at the Goethe Zentrum and the classes I've taken at the University to get ahead with Finance and Marketing, I'm finding myself again at that point where I really don't seem to have much time to do anything.

I must admit that I take it as a wonderful blessing that I can live this phase in my life being single. I know that for many people a life partner means support and companionship and someone with whom to share the burden of daily life, but that hasn't been my case. I'm too much of a lone wolf to find much solace in company when I need to power up to charge on life, I guess. Between studies and lots of plans for the future, I've also been experimenting with the world of online dating. Some of my friends have tried it out - more than I thought - and I find this world quite interesting. Haven't actually met with anyone yet, but no like I aiming towards that either. Hyne, I think I might be doing the whole thing wrong, actually. OK, not like I'm putting much effort in it, truth tobe told, but then I connect with these people, we exchange messages and start chatting, and I feel really good with them. I make friends and I act accordingly, and so, when suddenly someone says something more flirty to me, I'm startled thinking "why is he flirting with me?" until I remember that this is a dating site and I'm supposed to be out there looking to date people, not just friending them.

What am I supposed to do there? Honestly I'm a little at lost there, because though I know a lot of women complain about how many men approach them butnever want anything serious, in my experience, I'm always the one that just wants to have fun why the guys that apporach me all are aiming for the white picket fence and the 2.1 children. So, am I looking for dating? I don't want a relationship, but I do would love to meet people for some casual get together, have a drink, share a good conversation and then maybe - if things click right - have unattached sex. The operative word being "unattached". My life is speeding ahead and I have so many wonderful projects in my plate right now, that I really don't need something else to pay attention to. But then is adating site the right place for me to find those loose tied, entirely casual brushes with like minded people?

Some people are nice, some people are really loving and smart, and then some are players that like to lead on others, or see how much can they jerk other people's chains. People can be so strange sometimes. I don't know, I'm still thinking about this all, about what should I do about this part of my life, and then thinking about how I used to solve these questions before, only to realize that I have never worried about it, it has never been my thing to go look for people, but people happened, I flashed my smile and things somehow got going.

I'd give it more thought just for the fun of it... it I didn't have so much studying to do.