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A Week in my Planner: Brain Dump Lists & Work Reflections

This week I wanted to try a few new things with my planner to help with my work and creative productivity. I use the Happy Planner which is a disc bound planner allowing you to move or add sections to personalize it to your needs. In the planner world (yes, there totally is one) this is called “frankenplanning” when you take multiple planners to create one; the term coined from Frankenstein’s story where his mad scientist took multiple parts to create his perfect beast.  

Not a Happy Planner? Please do read on, these are things you can try in any journal or planner system. 

Brain Dump – Idea List

The Happy Planner Monthly Extension Pack
Other Ideas for this layout: Social Media Calendar, Food Journal List, To-Do per day

I work in front of two computer screens, so the distraction of the internet is one of my daily battles when it comes to productivity. I focused this week on writing down every random thought, idea, inspiration, personal to do item that came to my mind vs. letting the monkey brain take over. 

It took quite a few days to get in the groove of this. For example, one thing I started to think about while working on a financial report was, “hmmm, I wonder if I could outsource someone to turn my drawings into stickers…” and just as I was about to pop open a new tab and “just look real quick” I wrote it down as something to research on the train or at home. These little thoughts and interruptions add up during the day, and writing them down allows me to relish in that little moment of inspiration, without going down the rabbit hole. 

Journaling to Tame the Anxiety

This journal entry happened earlier this month when I was feeling behind, in my personal and work life. I wrote many versions of this that day, and just knew I had to get all the thoughts out of my brain onto paper.

Here are the questions I asked myself to help tame my anxiety:

  1. What are two things that are causing me to feel anxiety?
    • I wasn’t focused at work, I was getting sick, I felt out of control, and I knew it was because somethings was missing. After some reflection, I immediately recognized the two cornerstones of what would make a successful week: my fitness routine and having more time for my hobbies. If I can’t accomplish either one of these two, then I can’t focus at work. My life feels unbalanced. 
  2. What are some things that make me feel productive and successful? 
    • Having healthy snacks available in my bag or at work.
    • Having a clean apartment/ clean laundry to start off the week.
    • Time to journal and think about my weekly goals. 
  3. What causes me to have a bad week?  Or what makes me feel overwhelemed? 
    • Having Sunday booked. Not having a day off on the weekend to just relax and gather my thoughts. 
    • A messy sink. When the kitchen is a mess, I can’t make my morning smoothies. Then I am hungry at work and then I buy a chocolate croissant. 
    • Waking up tired.
    • No exercise. 

This helped me quantify the causes of my anxiety to come up with concrete solutions. As you can see in my reflections below, I was able to take the things that make me feel productive and apply it moving forward. 

Work Weekly Reflection

  1. What are some easy, mindles tasks I can do at home to help me get ahead at work? 
    • Organize my desktop, and spend 10- 20 minutes each night merging duplicate records in our database system at work, which is a pretty mindless task. 
  2. What are some positive things I did this week?
    • Worked out
    • Focused on just “jumping in” with tasks 
    • I completed personal to do’s which made me feel more balanced, like I controlled my time, instead of my commute and work controlling me.

The first question came from a week’s worth or asking myself the same question over and over again – what is causing me to feel overwhelmed at work? I realized that it was the small things that I kept putting off such as properly storing files into the correct shared folders, and slowly chipping away at mindless data tasks that kept growing on the back burner list. These small tasks I realized could be done while watching TV at home. Coming up with this action plan, of spending at least 10 minutes a day, made me feel more in control of the chaos at work. 

This second question was the result of identifying what made a successful week and what made a stressful week? Since I was able to identify them a week prior to this one, I was able to reflect and congratulate myself on the changes I made in my lifestyle that helped improve my workflow.

Wellness Weekly Reflection

In my wellness weekly reflection I asked two similar questions: 

  1. What did I accomplish? 
    • Made it to the gym 3x this week! 
    • Had a better clarity and focus at work and with hobbies.
    • Completed personal tasks and creative projects. 
  2. What could I improve? 
    • Go to bed earlier. 
    • Get back to making morning smoothies. 
    • Eat better meals, I didn’t eat enough vegetables this week. 
    • Take my vitamins 
    • Get back to my daily 10 pushups! 

Closing out my week felt great after getting all my thoughts out on paper. Even when I don’t think I have anything to say, just prompting myself with one simple question opens up so much clarity. Try it out, ask these questions of yourself every day and see what happens! Every day is a new day and even though these questions may be repetitive, the answer is always different. 

Next Week’s Layout 

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