how I'm getting back on track after life got crazy

Sometimes life doesn't go as planned and a single life event can throw things off-kilter for weeks.

I didn't plan to give birth in February but my sweet Beyla came two whole weeks after her January due date. The first quarter of my year has been crazy, but with important deadlines and events coming up I knew I had to get back on track as soon after the birth as I could.

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I started with a single page brain-dump of everything I needed to do. I kept this as a running list through the end of March, adding to it anytime something came to mind. My brain was like a sieve surrounding the birth—what am I saying? It still is!—so if I didn't write it down it was lost to me. Likewise when I had a few moments free I wouldn't have known what to work on without the list.

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I had too much clutter in my mental and physical space following the birth, so I needed my overview for the month of March to be as sparse as possible. I decided on a layout inspired by @minimal.paper on Instagram.

Having the whole month on one spread helps me to get my bearings and picture what life looks like in context. This layout focuses on that and removes everything else. Even the numbers are subtle and the header with the days of the week is minimal.

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Finally, I'm returning to my writing habit. As I process this new thing called motherhood my musings go into one journal and business writing goes into the other.

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The number-one thing that is helping me to get my life back on track is writing.

Putting pen to paper makes the scrambled elements of my life tangible and helps me to get a handle on them. Once something appears in writing I can decide whether it is actually important or not. I can keep track of the things that I do deem important, but without trying to hold them in my memory until the relevant moment. Beyond my to-do list, I can use journaling to untangle the thoughts and emotions swirling inside me after a life-changing experience.

This is why I write: because I'm lost if I don't.

2018: the year of excitement

Every year since 2013 I've had a "word for the year."
I don't choose this word so much as it chooses me,
and this year is no different.

These words tell a story,
each one representing a chapter,
and each teaching me unexpected lessons:

2013: hope I learned to see beyond my little world and forseeable future.

2014: go My year of hope prepared me to move to Kansas rather unexpectedly and travel a lot for my new job.

2015: love Going to Kansas resulted in meeting my future husband, though we didn't begin to fall in love until halfway through the next year.

2016: adventure The friendly love of the previous year blossomed into romantic love as we individually stepped out of our comfort zones in big ways and found ourselves drawing closer.

2017: together I had prayed for years that my husband and I would marry only when we would be more powerful together than apart and that prayer was answered.

2018: excitement This year, as in years past, I have an idea of what this word could mean for the coming year. Still, if the pattern holds I am certain that 2018 will bring plenty of unexpected exciting lessons too!

To read more about 2017's lessons and 2018's plans, visit this collection of year-end reflections.

reflecting on 2017, preparing for 2018

At the end of this month I'll be hosting a workshop to help people create a custom planner system that will work for them. Since the participants will be starting their planners right before 2018 begins, I want to share some tips and ideas specific to the new year.

I set out on a search for inspiration, and Pinterest and Instagram did not disappoint. Just as I was beginning to get overwhelmed, I found a series of year-end review prompts written by Kara @boho.berry. I realized that spreading out the process of reviewing 2017 and preparing for 2018 over the course of the month would be the perfect way to avoid overwhelm. It fits my goals perfectly since avoiding overwhelm is the number-one thing I want to help the participants in my workshop to achieve!

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Each day I will be responding to the prompts in my journal and I may create "bullet journal collections" in either my personal or business planner when applicable. Either way, I will share a peek at my responses on Facebook and Instagram.

The goal is to write in my journal every morning over breakfast. (I would say before breakfast, but growing a baby makes me wake up needing food!) I've made this goal before and haven't succeeded at accomplishing it for very long, but with a prompt to start me off every morning I hope to do better this time around.

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If you decide to join in the #bohoberrychallenge and respond to these prompts, even if only for a few of the days, let me know! Tag me @jordanelisheva on Instagram or Facebook!

why you broke up with your bullet journal {and shouldn't have}

I've been seeing a trend in blog posts and vlogs telling stories of bujo break-ups — people talking about their attempt to create a bullet journal and failure to find it helpful. I've also recognized a trend in why they are failing, and it isn't the bujo's fault!

In my years of using the bullet journal method to organize my life, I've seen a whole online community form around this highly-customizable planner system. I've also seen people try to join this community and quickly pull out. The reason? Overwhelm.

The irony is that overwhelm should be the last thing a bujo newbie feels.

The bujo community online is doing newbies a disservice by focusing on customizations and decorations. Of course a newbie would face overwhelm looking at this page full of color-coding, hand-written headers, and complicated layouts! I'm overwhelmed by it! But here's the thing: all of these overwhelming things are add ons and aren't technically a part of the bullet journal method at all!

The bullet journal method is highly customizable, so for people who want to add color and complication, it's the perfect "blank page" to do so. I've done a bit of that myself. But ultimately, the method itself is much simpler.

How to have a good relationship with your bullet journal:

1. Forget everything you've seen on Instagram and Pinterest and watch this video created by Ryder Carroll.

You can also find it on the bullet journal homepage. As shown in the video, there are three main pillars of this method, and if you remember nothing else, remember these:

  • If you can rapid log, you can bullet journal.
  • Collections help rapid logs from getting out of hand.
  • Any notebook will do.

That's it.

2. When you do want to add customization, add a little at a time.

The beauty of the bullet journal is its flexibiity. If you like to color-code or doodle, the bullet journal provides a great canvas. This is where the bujo community that has sprung up on Instagram and Pinterest comes in. It provides a wealth of inspiration that can be quite useful, when taken in small doses, so my advice is this: only add up to three customization or changes at any one time. If the change is a big one — say a weekly layout or a new tracker — focus on that one change. If they are small, like making your headers pretty or working on your handwriting, up to three are managable.

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If you scroll through my Instagram feed you will see how I've made my bullet journal my own. I didn't do any of it all at once, though. I've been using the bujo method for years now, and have tried all kinds of layouts, collections, trackers, etc... Looking through my current bullet journal would probably overwhelm a newbie, but that's because I've spent years experimenting to create a custom system that works well for me. Which brings me to my final bit of advice.

3. Do what works for you.

Experiment. Play. Try new things. But only keep what makes your life better.

I started out using a pocket-sized notebook that I already had, then I experimented with different sizes, ruled or gridded with lines or dots, and ultimately decided that Baron Fig's Charcoal Confidant is the perfect notebook for me. But that was only after I'd determined what things were important to me in a bullet journal — and I did that through the process of using the basic method day after day, month after month.

If you'd like to try a Baron Fig notebook of your own, click here for a $10 coupon!

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The bullet journal method may not be for everyone, but far too many people don't give it a fair chance. I'd love to see more people fall in love with their bujo. If your relationship with your bullet journal is struggling, message me on Instagram! I'd be happy to help rekindle the fire that got you interested in the first place.