My Child – My Teacher

My Child – My Teacher

In Search for a Perspective 

Today’s world is filled with information. There is so much information circling around everywhere we turn. We are inundated not just with information, but also on information of information — also known as individual or group perspective — we have already consumed. As a matter of fact, people build entire businesses charging for their perspective on readily available free information. Everywhere you turn you can find at your fingertips the answers to any question you have; Someone has shared their perspective on it in some shape or form! 

Yet we continue to grow less and less content, less and less satisfied, less and less smart. Why is that? We go off and we accumulate knowledge through official education standards out of curiosity, out of a need to reach a certain status in life, out of fear we’ll be left behind; Whatever the reason. In addition, we are hooked to a never ending river of How To videos, books, podcasts. All these resources we can use to learn how to do, act, be, stand, talk, think, express, etc. Yet, we continue to wonder why even after all this information we have absorbed from multiple mediums, we continue to feel as lost as ever.

Gaining New Perspective or Filling a Void?

I can not tell you how many times I have found myself in the fast lane of productivity, for instance. I have been consuming this material for years. It seems like the more I dive in, the less knowledgeable I seem to feel and the more there seems to be to learn. It’s a pretty vicious circle and once you are in it it’s hard to break free. It’s hard because it all makes sense. I absorb the information and for the most part I agree with most of it. I set out to try things for yourself and then I keep finding more and more things I must explore. 

It’s like vortex that takes you in and you have no choice but to give in.

If this is you, stop! Pause, sit down; Take a deep breath and ask yourself: Why do I know what I know? Why do I need to know this? Am I using this? Is it improving to my life right now?

There is a difference between gaining a new perspective and filling a void. It’s the difference between consuming information to enrich your life, move forward in your career, become a better parent, or significant other, and consuming information out of fear you may fall behind, be seen as not smart enough or important enough. The first centers you, the latter destroys you. And whether you are willing to admit this to yourself or not, you do know the answer!

Dust It All Off and Go to the Source

In the last five years of my life, I have learned to limit the information I consume at any given time. For example, if I am reading a book I make sure 1) I am addressing a specific aspect in my life by reading it, 2) I study the book. How is this book adding to my life aside from me just reading it so I can say I’m a reader? How is it enriching my life?

There was a time in my life when I would read a book and once done, put it aside. I would feel accomplished. Like I was 300+ pages smarter, more knowledgable, more resourceful. And yes, that absolutely stands true. I am not insinuating here you stop reading books! Not at all! But what I am addressing is the element of how much information consumption on the topic of personal development is too much? 

For me it all started with me reading the book and it ended with me having read the book. I didn’t really apply what I had learned in my daily life in order to make reading the book serve a purpose. No. The reading was the purpose. 

But after a while the whole pointless reading started to get to me. I needed more. So at some point I decided to put the brakes on all of it and simply pause. This pause happened right around the time I got pregnant after a long journey through infertility. 

It’s when I realized what I needed was not a book after a book after a book to teach me how to be productive, how to be happy, how to be this or that. I simply needed to connect with what I already knew, what I already have learned as a child, as teenager, as an adult. And after all the information on personal development I have consumed over the years, I still had zero clue how to go about connecting with it all… Search for more books on how to consume what I have consumed? 😉

Meet Your Teacher

The idea behind letting our children teach us simply borne out of an observation I had while playing with my child, while parenting my child, while being in my child’s presence. My child has taught me patience, accountability, responsibility, structure, time-blocking and everything in between. 

How? By simply existing in my life. Or maybe me existing in her life… Because as she came into this world she brought an uninterrupted, untamed, imaginary orbit around her being, and she is in the center of that orbit. That’s how we all come to this world. In that orbit I am external arbitrator invading it. And as she grows older there will be multiple arbitrators invading her orbit pulling and pushing her of her center. 

As parents we are the first and most persisting arbitrators of our children’s’ orbits. But what if we changed that? What if we put aside all the information we have consumed that has made us feel like we know better than our children and succumb to the purity and wisdom of their existence by helping them strengthen and grow their invisible orbit instead of crushing it so we can “show them better” because they are just children and they don’t know better. 

I assure you, they know so much better! If we only pause, swallow our pride, get pass our ego and let them guide us.

Everything we do, the way we are, who we are comes down to the sum of all things we are to our children. They see us. They can read us better than we can read them. And if we listen, they can teach us lessons we have forgotten, lessons we never learned, lessons that help us. And the best part is: all they ask for is a little bit of space and uninterrupted moments of our time away from the “important” stuff we need to get to. 

Planning & Productivity for Personal Growth

Planning & Productivity for Personal Growth

Planning and Productivity for Personal Growth

Planning and productivity for personal growth has always been a topic I love discussing. But when it comes to productivity tools nothing quite compares to the analogue way of practicing this discipline. Nothing quite compares to that feeling of flipping through pages of your planner or notebook.

A Word on the Online Planner Community

Being naturally drawn to this topic has led me to discover a small online group of planner enthusiasts that over the last few years has grown into a rather large community. This large community has opened a pandora box that is still hard to close.

What I discovered is that online planner communities can be exciting. They can be helpful, they can be overwhelming, they can be flat out daunting if you get distracted and forget the purpose of your quest. Always keep in mind the very reason why you decided to dive deeper into this phenomena that is the planner community.

You need to be willing and able to explore some of the resources out there (there are so many), and then step away from the planner community scene all together. This is to allow yourself good amount of time to process all the information. Otherwise there is a very good chance the vortex will suck you in.

 

 

My Planning and Productivity for Personal Growth Journey

I have to say, I have always enjoyed journaling, but I was never really a “planner girl”. Created mental and written to-do lists, but I never really kept a planner per-se. In essence, what led me to planners is my interest in personal development. My connection to the planner scene is that I love all things paper, notebooks, pens, etc.

That led me to discover brands like Levenger, Kikki K, Filofax, and eventually Etsy – where everything is customizable and simply unique. This was more than enough to get me started on a path of continuous “research”. I love me some product research! And then… The planner community moved on YouTube and social media. Oh heavenly heaven of heavens! I loved it! 

Most of these sources provided typical planning systems. You know, your perpetual calendar, monthly, weekly and daily sections, important dates, additional note pages, etc. I have made multiple attempts at these planners but I just couldn’t keep up. Or should I say I wouldn’t keep up? Whatever it was it was enough to keep me going back, but not enough to stick with.

 

A Different Kind of Planning and Productivity for Personal Growth 

Then, I discovered bullet journaling. What attracted me to the bullet journal method was the cool pages I saw online people were creating and using to plan their days, weeks, months, years. But when I tried to make those rather artsy pages it wasn’t the same. It worked for a little while. Then it turned into too much work. Something that should take about 15-30 minutes to set now was claiming too much of my time. 

Meanwhile, the planner community got flooded with this planning method. So much so that the originator and designer of this planning method wrote a book about it titled The Bullet Journal Method. I found the book helpful and insightful as it clarified what a bullet journal really is meant to be used for and how to use it. However, I still struggled to keep up with this planning method. Until finally it became evident to me that it was not about any one style of planning or the tool, or the method itself. 

 

 

Needs Versus Trends 

It was about understanding what I need out of a planner as a tool to support my personal growth. My planner had to be meaningful in serving me, not just a long to-do list. And definitely not doing it for the sake of doing it! It had to serve as a single place/tool/thing for all the “stuff” in my life. Something I can reach for when I need to record my goals, write a poem, jot something down during a meeting, etc.

I needed a tool to help me keep a close eye on something I wanna capture quickly now and look into later. A tool where I can write important events and tasks that need to take place and be done. This left very little room for spending time on prettying up pages. Instead, I wanted to make sure I have enough time to focus on what’s on those pages.

 

 

The Journey Continues…

This realization led me right back to the Bullet Journaling method. But this time it was not about following the method one hundred percent as instructed. And it was no longer about creating beautiful pages that no matter how much I tried simply didn’t come out right. No, I was tired and done with that approach to Bullet Journaling. This time, it was about me on those pages. It was about the doing part of all the “stuff” in my life, not about contemplating how to express in my Bullet Journal what I want to do in real life. 

Oh, what a relief that was! To no longer torture myself with figuring out how to draw that perfect doodle or lettering style on just the right part of the page in the perfect proportion and color scheme. It felt like breaking free form some invisible chains of close mindedness. And it felt liberating. It simply felt awesome! 

Once I decided to use the Bullet Journaling method as intended, its purpose was fulfilled, which is using it to fulfill a purpose – my purpose. That’s how, I found, this method works best (at least for me). It’s not about the type of spreads created or the artistry behind some of the most beautiful spreads I’ve seen on social media. 

It’s about: how have I moved forward in my life and career using the planning and productivity tool/method of my choice? In this case the Bullet Journaling method.

 

 

What’s It All Really About?

All these productivity tools I have been searching and researching for the past two years have taught me that there isn’t a single method that is universal for everyone. We all like aspects of things. Fractions of the whole. We are a part of the same whole, but individually we are very different. It’s just that some of us pay close attention to these differences and others are not bothered by them. 

This is why in the planner community there is something called planner peace. It seems to be such a thing that everyone in the planner community struggles toward but never really achieves. Much like the struggle around achieving happiness as I describe it in my Where Does Happiness Come From blog post. Even if someone in their video states they found a planner peace with the newest, coolest tool, system, method, what have you, it’s a planner peace at the moment. 

Using the Bullet Journal method as intended will actually eliminate the concept of a “planner peace”. You simply wouldn’t need it because it will not be about the planning itself, rather about how you take steps forward in your life. 

I believe the Bullet Journal method is not supposed to be the thing in the spotlight, but rather the thing that holds the spotlight! There is a big difference there…

 

 

My Planner Peace

So after a long time of struggling with finding my own “planner peace”, I realized the only way I can speak of finding a personal planner peace is to take the time to do a thorough research of what’s out there. Take what I love from each unit and compose my own planning and productivity for personal growth flow. Then quit the research. Quit checking what everyone else is doing and instead focus on perfecting my own version of a method or a combination of methods. 

…And since achieving perfection is a no-go from the get-go, my focus is on the life improvements I get from using a method or aspects of a few methods to help me become the best version of me today, tomorrow, the next day. I hope this blog post will inspire you to do the same!