the journal

the journal

For those who journal, the getting started and into one can feel liberating and joyful. As a place for all those details and thoughts, goals and dreams, commitments and recordings of time, the benefit of a free mind cannot be overstated.

However, for me, a journal is overwhelming; like my head spins off into five dimensions. I've tried a number of practices - 

  • a to do on a sticky note (reason being if your list is longer than a sticky you won't complete it)
  • an index card with one task per day per week.
  • a simplified month at glance calendar
  • a detailed day by day calendar
  • a digital task manager
  • google calendar

None have proven efficient or effective over the long term. Where I personally fall down is in collating all the pieces together. For example - there's never enough room to jot down an idea I had and then a way to easily retrieve them; there isn't a place to drop in little bits and pieces of inspiration along the way. Most journals are extreme - there's a lot of time at the onset of going through pages, answering questions that are then referenced to map out a plan for the year.

So I was hopeful when I picked up the this year. But it hasn't gone along as I'd hoped. For starters, while I ordered it in November, it didn't arrive until the end of December so I didn't have time to really get into it until AFTER the new year. Which was kind of defeating the purpose out of the gate.

I then struggled with the initial pages and about fell over when I got to the actually mapping things out; I had a hard time getting through the plan for the year ahead, let alone what 3, 5 or 10 years look like. As a small business with an unpredictable income, it's not really possible for me to map things out that many with salaried jobs can.

So that's the not so good parts. The parts that ARE working for me (and is taking some adjustment) is folding in a daily ending. Like the morning ritual has helped me in productive ways, closing the day out with a review of what I achieved and what I'm thankful for, and a little bit of writing on what the day held - what I learned - is deeply meaningful. 

I'd love to hear form you - what journal do you use? What methods have you found useful for creativity and the mass of ideas that we hold? How do you organize them for easy retrieval?

Would love to hear our thoughts.

a morning routine

a morning routine

In our conversation with Claudia, we talked at length about her morning routine and how this ritual sets her day. For her part, she gets up at 6am and does yoga first (before coffee!) and after, she mediates for 30 minutes. From there, she showers and then a full hour later has coffee and writes her morning pages. For those who've never heard of morning pages, she was referring to a recommendation of The Artist's Way which suggest writing three pages of free thought streaming every day, preferably in the morning as a way to release all the noise that's stuck there and in the process, releasing and in an unintentional way releasing ideas. 

While I've tried the process on more than one occasion, I haven't ever been able to maintain them, most likely as I never committed at the onset for a set period of time which I've found is essential. 

But what this conversation did for me was set in motion a series of actions that has led to a definitive morning ritual for most days of the week. It's not all flushed out and I'm still terrible at managing my own time in a way that allows for creating, reading, researching and wandering, the beginning part at least has set a form of a discipline and a foundation that does shift the rest of the day. 

Where I fall down is seeing a discomfort with loose time or when things get difficult or a near inability to "commit" to block times for creating. It's in those moments where hopping on social media channels becomes the great distraction. 

So - it would be great to hear from YOU! What are your rituals? How do you structure or not structure your time? What tools have you found useful? Will look for your comments and thoughts and appreciate them!

And if you didn't listen to the podcast with Claudia - do check it out! And enjoy some of her projects below.

Clockwise from top left: Pinwheel installation, closeup of community-created pinwheels, HULA installation; What is a lot billboard installed in the Point Neighborhood in Salem which was filled out by the community; Get to the Point community project.

Trained as an architect in Los Angeles, Claudia Paraschiv is irrevocably committed to the study of public space, especially participatory projects in public space.

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