Monday, January 4, 2016

Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going

Hello!

Happy fall!  Happy holidays!  Happy New Year!

It has been over three months (!) since my last post, unless you count my Philofaxy guest post, in which case it’s been over two months.  Either way, this is the longest I have ever gone without blogging.  I have both missed it and…not.

I have missed the physical and creative aspects of writing, and I’ve missed the interaction with my readers and their comments.  However, I did not miss the stress I often put on myself to get a post published.  Typically, I average a post a week, and since the summer, I have not been able to do even that much.  I decided back then that I wasn’t going to stress over getting a post out just for the sake of doing it.  My mind was tired of forcing a post on a topic that I didn’t have much heart for just to publish something.  See, since I moved into a compact binder (specifically my two VDS binders, one and two), and having other supplemental binders and notebooks, I have been perfectly happy.  “Planner peace,” as it is referred to, doesn’t allow for much fodder for writing about planners, which I assume is what a majority of my readers are here for, though who knows—maybe I’m wrong about that.  I’m happy with my system, and because of that, it rarely changes.  I haven’t had a topic burning in my brain that I needed to write about.

It is more than that, however.  Whether or not I had topics ideas, I simply haven’t had the time.  The fall was busy with fall activities: nieces’ soccer games, trips, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, and yes, even a funeral.  Then came the holidays.  Between work and activities, it seemed as if every weekend was taken up with something.  Even if it was only one day that was spoken for, everything else had to get done on the other day.  It’s hard to fit a week’s worth of tasks and chores into one day, much less only the two or three hours I sometimes had for them.  Needless to say, blogging fell by the wayside, as it wasn’t a high-priority item, especially with a lack of exciting topics in mind.  I did feel bad about not getting to it, and more often than not, it would get rescheduled from one day to another, then rescheduled again.  On and on and on.  But I had to remind myself that it just wasn’t worth stressing over.  Readers would still be here when I finally got back to it, though I did notice I lost a few.  Oh well.  I can’t control it.

Anyway, now that the holidays are over, I do have some time to devote to blogging again.

But because of all the points mentioned above, I have been really thinking about time.  Each year, time seems to go faster and faster with no way of slowing it down.  I can’t believe we’re already in 2016.  Nor can I believe how quickly 2015 flew by.  So not only have I been thinking about time in a general sense, I’ve also been thinking about how I spend my time.  I have numerous tasks and projects written down that I would love to get to.  But the reality is, there just isn’t enough time for them all.  Slowly, I’ve come to the realization that I need to let go of most of them.  They aren’t urgent, after all.  They’re not even important.  They’re just things that I would like to do, that I’ve created for myself to do.  But I’ve had to decide on whether or not there is even a point to them. 

I admit—I am my own worst enemy when it comes to time.  I create more tasks for myself than are necessary, put too much importance on getting them done, then get stressed out when I don’t get to them.  So I’m learning to let go of unnecessary things.  I still have these projects and tasks written down—some day I may get to them, or I may never get to them.  But at least I won’t forget that at one time they were important enough for me to think about it and write them down.  Time will only tell what will become of them.

My resolutions for 2016 are pretty much the same as they were for 2015, mainly because I didn’t achieve them in 2015, not in a consistent manner, anyway.  There is one addition though, and that is to pay more attention to how I spend my time—where am I spending a majority of my time and with whom?  Most importantly, of the things I spend time doing, how many of them are important; how many of them to I truly love doing?  I want to reassess my activities, tasks, and time.  Perhaps it’s just a question of managing my time more efficiently.

One of my biggest time wasters is social media—Facebook, Instagram, blog reading, and yes, perhaps even blog writing.  Where does this blog fit in my list of important tasks?  I’m not sure.  The reasons for this are simple: in my experience, most people prefer videos these days; a majority of people are looking for decorating posts; people tend to read blogs that update daily; and people gravitate towards bloggers who are heavily involved with social media.  I realize that these are general statements and that there are exceptions.  In any event, I cannot do any of these.  Therefore, I question whether or not it’s even worth it for me to continue.

This blog started as a hobby, one that I have grown to love and enjoyed every moment of.  I do not make money from it.  I have a full-time job and therefore cannot put forth the effort it would take to grow this blog into a moneymaking brand or even a brand that many people know.  I have often wondered if it could even be done, based on what I have to offer.  But in the end, it doesn’t matter.  I can’t devote the time to find out.  Not right now anyway.

During my time away from the blog, I decided that when the time came to return to writing I would only write when I had something to say.  I decided not to stress about it.  I decided to see where the chips may fall where the blog is concerned because, let’s face it, keeping up a blog is a lot of work, especially when we’re in the digital age of instant gratification and content is constantly fighting other content for attention.  I can barely keep up with the current technology I’m familiar with, let alone any new technology that comes along.  And in my quest for more time and deciding what is worthy of my time, social media is falling by the wayside for me.  I’m trying to focus on more personal interactions and communication.

Of course, since coming to the above conclusions, I have had several blog topics pop into my head.  So we will see how it all plays out.  I hope to continue with writing once a week but I am not going to force the issue.  That is the only way I know to figure out what I want to do with this space.  Hopefully I will get to post about some of the topic ideas I’ve come up with recently.

In the meantime, I’m still active within the Philofaxy community, even if it’s in smaller chunks at a time.

Thanks for reading and I wish you all the best in the New Year and the days to come!

27 comments:

  1. I can understand, and I appreciate your efforts. One of my favorite blogs is La Vie Graphite. He writes at most 2 posts per month, but they are of such high quality, I am perfectly willing to eagerly anticipate the next one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Happy New Year.

    Blessings & Peace.

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    1. Thanks, Crofter. It's good to know that people are still choosing to read my blog when there are so many to choose from, many that are much more active than mine. If people are willing to wait for what I have to say, I am honored. I appreciate the support. :)

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  2. If you have time, check out the La Vie Graphite blog. Abraham is an archivist, and spends an inordinate time in some great libraries. I think you would enjoy it.

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    1. What a beautiful blog, Crofter! Thanks for suggesting it. I can see that it might open me to a different world of blogs, which could get me into trouble...good trouble. :)

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  3. Hi! I'm really happy to see you post again but I understand what you say. I've been reflecting on this, too, lately. I wish people would get over this "blog consistency -- blog at least weekly" thing, and value bloggers actually writing when they feel like it, when they got something to say. It would make blogging more authentic, right? (I want to get back to blogging, too, on these terms)
    Anyway, I'm so happy you've got your planner peace (I'm far from it, lol). Organizing is broader than planning, though, so maybe you'll be more inspired about that (how to do the things the matter, and do less of the rest; how to seek quality rather than quantity in a world of more more more). But yes, take your time and blog when you want. As for me, I'll always keep your blog on my following list on bloglovin' :)

    Happy new year and enjoy your well planned life!
    -Becky

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    1. Hi, Becky, thank you! I have to say that it's been only me to put pressure on writing on a specific schedule. I just know from my own blog reading that people tend to give up on blogs that aren't updated regularly. However, I am still subscribed to blogs that haven't updated in over 2 years simply because I love them -- and that's the difference, I guess, like you said -- it's all about what resonates with a reader.

      I have done some general organizing posts and other random writing, but it's the planner posts that get the most attention, so that's where I feel the pressure (but again, only from myself).

      Hmm, I'm sensing a theme here -- perhaps I should just let go of what *I* believe others to believe blogging to be. New resolution! :)

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  4. Great minds Kanalt... I was just looking here yesterday (before you posted), and I meant to congratulate you on being able to take a step back! Hip hip hooray!!

    I understand completely about having to take a step back. As you know, I was posting on my Facebook page everyday for almost four months. It was exhausting, especially when I had a full-time job, and there were naysayers and complainers, and, like you, I felt compelled to respond to every single comment...even when it was in the dozens. Three weeks ago, I took the step back by closing it down (as "the mission" was, thankfully, successful). I missed the nice people, but what did I have left to say? We had saved that which we had set out to save!

    Then, on New Year's Eve, I happened upon a person who told me about all of the wonderful happenings in store under the new management. I just *had* to share it, and I did! People were so nice and welcoming and they even told me they are glad I am back. I advised I would be posting "periodically."

    Like you, it felt like a second job to try and keep the readers happy, and I wasn't excited about it anymore. Now, like you, I will post when I feel like there is something I feel like saying. On my time, in my own way. It is a wonderful feeling to let go of these tasks which have become burdens, but more so, to be able to visit sometimes, and to know everyone will be glad to "see" you and hear what you have to say.

    So please, post when you feel like it. We are all here because we think you are wonderful, insightful, and funny. You are amazing! I'm glad to have been a part of this journey, and I hope to continue to see you pop up once in a while too. :)

    ~ Sheila

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    1. Aww, thanks, Sheila! Such kind words. :) Yes, it has been a relief on some levels. But I won't say that I didn't miss it entirely, as I mentioned. I do hope to post on some sort of schedule, whether that is once a week or once a month or randomly. I just like to have an idea of a timeframe in my head so that I don't feel like I've gotten behind. Again, it's only me that's putting the pressure on. (I really need to stop that, lol.)

      In any event, I'm glad you're still following along, wherever it leads to!

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    2. LOL! You're perfect! Don't worry about what about what other people's expectations of you are. You are not the kind of person who would ever let anything that was actually important slide!!! I will continue to keep an eye on my RSS Feed folder for that happy day when you feel like posting! :)

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  5. I understand exactly what you're talking about. I'm taking January off from blogging due to the deadlines of my job and business (bookkeeping), but am also pondering what direction to take it in. I was pushing myself to post content 2-3 times a week and realized that I was doing so to be in competition with others who do this as a full time job and have all the time in the world to research, take pretty photos and write. I do not.

    My blog too is a hobby and I want my content to come from my heart, not because I'm trying to keep up with so-and-so. I had at one point been focusing too much on planner-centric posts that I completely lost track of the purpose of my blog. I'm more than just about planners so I want to delve into other things in my life that bring me joy and productivity through efficient and functional means.

    Do what your heart and head tells you. Don't worry about followers. If someone chooses to not follow you anymore because you're not feeding them on a consistent basis, so what? Those whom you've built up a reputation with over time will stay no matter what. My main goal for 2016 is FOCUS and that means cutting out distractions. Instagram is my biggest social media visiting spot, but I really enjoy it. Not a Facebook person - I don't have it on my phone and rarely check in on desktop. I just don't care for it. After that comes Google + (I like the community aspect and not as clogging as the FB fan pages)and Pinterest. Then, of course, I can lose hours on Youtube videos, but I save those for when I'm in bed. Limiting my SM to certain areas and reassessing the purpose of my blog has relieved a lot of stress and given me so much time back.

    Don't worry, do what you want when you want and enjoy!

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    1. I think you've hit the nail on the head -- on some level, I'm sure I was keeping up with the so-and-sos, if only to keep myself relevant. (I'll never be able to compete with the decorating crowd -- nor do I want to -- because that is not my focus of planner use, never has been, never will be. This is not to say that it's not worthwhile, however. It's just not me, so it's easy for me to stay out of that area.) But among so many platforms and all different types of content, I'd like to keep myself relevant to some degree. However, if the content is good, I should be able to retain my most loyal followers, videos or no videos, washi tape or none.

      I think, in general, we've seen a trend in this community of people striving to be like this one or that one or do things like her/him over there. And while this is human nature to some degree, it's not what we're all about, or at least it shouldn't be. I never would have considered myself to be trying to keep up with the others, but when so many people are turning to YT videos instead of reading blogs (generally speaking, of course), I couldn't help but wonder if this blog had run its course. And if it has, that's okay. I guess that's what I'm on a mission to find out, both through the blog itself and my devotion to it at this point.

      Pinterest -- I have dabbled in that and know many people have found so many wonderful things there. But I won't let myself go down that rabbit hole -- my husband would never see me, lol.

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  6. Well another excellent blog post and one I agree with totally. I find time goes by too fast to fit in all the things we have in this expanded internet world we live in. I love to follow blogs and instagrams and twitter as well as Facebook but ,wow, what a lot of time it takes to keep up. My own blogs are only written when I feel inspired and I don't worry about followers as most use apps like feedly to tell them when new posts are there. Having said that though, Sue, I really enjoy reading yours and will spend time gladly reading it and following links and getting to know your planning which is very inspiring. That apart I would feel very sad if I wasn't able to find out how you are and what you are enjoying in life - so having said that I hope you will continue to blog as and when. Happy New Year and regards, Teresa

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    1. Thanks, Teresa! It is true that there isn't enough time for all of my hobbies. I always say that I'd be fine if I didn't work, but then, how would I pay for all of these hobbies? ;)

      I do hope to continue writing and that inspiring topic ideas will strike me as I do so. Thanks for your comment and for reading!

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  7. A friggen men. I have been trying to figure out how to say exactly these same things regarding my blog. My only regular posts have been Photo Fridays, and even those are only half hearted and more done out of obligation than anything else. I'm hoping to spend the next few days figuring out how I want to proceed - I also know a lot of my followers are planner peeps, and since I really don't have much to say on that front, I really don't know if it makes sense to keep going.

    Plus, I hear you regarding priorities. I have some pretty big personal goals this year, and while some might make for good blog fodder, I don't want to feel obligated to keep posting. So, in short, thanks for this - I'm glad I'm not alone. I'll probably have a similar post popping up one of these days!

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one! I do love your blog and what you have to say, J, so I would be very sad to see it go. However, having just posted the above, I certainly can't blame you. Life just gets in the way, or rather, work gets in the way of all of my life hobbies. ;) But of course, it's more than that -- there just isn't enough time to focus on all of the things I want to, which means it comes down to focusing on the stuff I *need* to (or "need" to because they're more important to me). We'll see how it goes in the coming months...

      Good luck figure it all out on your end -- if you come up with the secret to creating more time to the week, please let me know. :)

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  8. From a completely selfish perspective, I love reading your blog. But I get it. All of it. I've been posting daily, but I think I am about to move to every other day instead.

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    1. Thanks! I am amazed at how much posting you do, given all that is on your plate. I commend you for having done so much for this long. But I guess we all reach a point where our priorities shift, even if just a little. :)

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  9. I'm your loyal reader, I've been enjoying reading your blog a lot for a long time. Don't stress yourself over what is not important to you. If the blog is worth reading, people will follow. If you enjoy to write, write. It doesn't matter when. Blog posts still shows up in my greader. And you still could monetize the blog this way.
    I have a blog anf YT channel, and still question if I need all of that. I guess I need likeminded people who love planners.

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    1. Thanks. :) I agree -- it's nice to have a vehicle (whether a blog or YouTube or an Instagram account, etc) that allows me (us) to interact with like-minded people. I guess that's why I'm so emotionally attached to this blog and keeping it updated, regardless of whether or not it fits into my weekly schedule. I want to still be involved in the community, however that ends up being.

      Thanks for reading!

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  10. Hi there,
    I'm delighted to see you back, but please, don't feel pressure. As others have said, if you lose readers, their loss.
    I'm be in the (small? Maybe not as small as we think?) band of not watching videos and not decorating like mad. I use my planners to plan. I have a separate journal that I might stick things in, but even that's not really decorated.
    Post what you want and when you want. I'll still be following!

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    1. Hi Amanda, thank you! I have to say, I do like the look of some of the decorated binders. And I'm all for doing whatever works for you. But for me, it would distract me too much from the point of my planner. I used to add stickers, but even that became too much -- it was a chore finding seasonal stickers that I actually liked, and for what purpose exactly? So I'll stick with straight-forward, boring planning for task and appointment management. ;)

      Thanks for reading!

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  11. I'm a few weeks behind and I did notice you took some time off! Very happy to see you back! I know what you mean. I started my blog almost four years ago and I let it die after a few months because I was pressuring myself on what to write. I have been thinking of restarting it......

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    1. Hi Michele, I would love to read what you have to write! It is hard coming up with enough topics to keep a blog going. I had plenty of them when I was switching binders and layouts and all, but know that I'm pretty happy with my setup, it's just a lot harder to come up with topics, even when including other non-planner things. Hopefully I'll come up with more in the near future. Let me know if you start yours up again!

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  12. I understand how time consuming a blog can be. That is why I decided long ago that I would have my blog for fun. It is more personal than anything else, but I blog when I have time and I don't make a habit of worrying about it. I hope you continue blogging, but doing it at your own pace. I enjoy reading your posts and I will not unsubscribe just because you are absent for awhile.

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    1. Aww, thanks, Jaime! I have taken on the mentality that I will write when I have something to say and/or the time to do it. So far, it's working well. I don't stress over it, but I'm still at it for now. here's hoping it continues to be stress-free!

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