This is a cry for help.
During full lockdown I got completely addicted to watching vlogs. I think it was something to do with being shut up at home. I could not get enough of seeing how a very specific demographic of American women ten years younger than me spent their time. I favoured New York, but I would stray to LA occasionally. I would delve through their archives, living vicariously through their ‘busy work day’ or ‘chill weekend’.
At some point, I stumbled across a video about bullet journaling. It wasn’t for me. At the time I was furloughed and not allowed to leave the house. Frankly it was a miracle if I got up before lunch time and put on clothes that weren’t pyjamas. You don’t need help managing your day when your entire schedule is ‘get up before lunch’ and ‘for the love of god, Nicola, at least put on some different pyjamas if you’re not going to put on proper clothes’.
So I watched the #BuJo video, feeling mild surprise that people are literally drawing out their own calendars and weekly planners every month, and then I shook my head and moved on.
But now. Well, there’s been an unfortunate clash of events. For starters, it is late August and that still means a ‘back to school’ mindset, even though I haven’t been ‘back to school’ in a decade. Separate to that (but now I’ve written it down I realise it’s probably not unrelated), I’ve been bingeing webinars at every opportunity, which have made me determined to do more freelance writing. But at the same time, I’m no longer on furlough, so I have to find a way to fit it in around the sides. Add to that a weak moment on my part and a stunning piece of ad targeting from Hello Time and, look. We are where we are. Things happened.
When I knew I had a lot of time juggling to do and a planner I wasn’t prepared for on the way (some people have unplanned babies, I have unplanned stationery), I remembered that bullet journal vlog and thought ‘I bet there are more vlogs about planners’. That was a week ago and I’ve barely looked up from Youtube ever since.
They’re just so reassuring. I thought the people who specialised in videos about managing every second of your day might be a bit strict. Maybe a little intimidating. But for the most part they seem to be all about just doing your best, and adding stickers. All of which I’m totally on board with.
In amongst the advice to ‘keep organising your life so that you can achieve your dreams‘, and ideas for amazing planner spreads that I will definitely not be using but whose creation I love seeing anyway, there are reminders about the importance of going easy on yourself, not expecting the world, and lots of notes to make time for self care. It’s incredibly wholesome, but at the same time it feels like there’s a subliminal message: We can do anything if we set our minds to it.
And, I mean, I don’t totally buy that. But so much has happened this year that we’ve had less than no control over. It is very likely (nay, basically guaranteed) that I will not become a bestselling author overnight just by breaking out some sparkly gel pens and writing down my monthly goals. But if it makes me a feel a little bit more in control of my life, I guess there’s no harm in a bit of planner action on the side.
It’s just unfortunate that I don’t seem to be able to switch off the planner vlogs for long enough to make a start.