Sunday, 30 October 2011

The kindness of stationary addicts... Pilot Coleto Hi-Tec-C Lumio pen

Hi everyone!

I LOVE hacks for existing things... ideas for making things work better, be more practical, or just work for me. As you know, I tend to colour-code things in my filofaxes, but with only 1 pen loop in the normal filofax, I find it very difficult to do so on the move, because I don't have access to my pencil-case with all my coloured pens in it, which means I tend to just write things in black, or not write them in at all. So multi-pens are the perfect solution! I have a black-dark blue-red-dark green 4-colour multi-pen, and the fashion colours Bic pen (light pink, lilac, light green and turquoise), but these aren't necessarily the colours I use the most. What I would like to do is be able to customise the pen to hold the colours I need. I know I could do this by replacing the pen refills with a refill with the right ink colour in it, but that means that the colour of the button-thingy you push down to get the pen nib to come out won't match up.

As part of my regular procrastination sessions, I often go on stationary websites to drool over their products. One of the best pen websites is, which has a lot of amazing pens! On there I found a brilliant looking pen, called the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Lumio 4 Color (colour ;b) Gel Ink Multi Pen (pheww!!), which is a multi-pen that you can refill with individual refills of your own choice! That means you can choose any colour-combination you like, and even have a pencil refill, which is the best of all worlds, I think!
But unfortunately, jet pens don't deliver to the UK!

One day I was reading one of my favourite blogs, Filofax Fixation written by the lovely Terri, and she was blogging about the new pen she had bought, the Coleto! I commented that I would love one of these pens, but that I couldn't buy them anywhere. Then a little while later, I received an email from Terri saying she didn't really like the pen, and I could have it! I was so happy that she thought of me, and asked how much she wanted me to pay for it... and she said "nothing"! How kind! I think the Philofaxy community is so lovely, and every time I read comments on these blogs, I feel as though I am among friends, even though everyone is spread over the globe! I really can't believe someone would do something so nice, thank you so much, Terri!!

It arrived after a while (apparently Canadian post is rubbish!), and I was so excited I could barely contain myself! But I managed to take a picture of the package

The pen body, and the pack of refills, in their little duvets!

The two together

The pen body itself is made of a lovely smooth plastic, but is so sleek it kind of feels like metal. It is very stylish and would look very nice in a professional environment, as well as anywhere else!
It is quite easy to refill, although I had to watch a youtube video to learn how. You just flick up the little hatch at the top of the pen, and you can pull out/push in any refills you want to use. The refill pack that Terri also bought, and sent me with the actual pen, has 10 colours, so there are plenty to choose from and you can have any combination you like! At the moment, I have pink, red, green and purple- a combination you can't get in normal 4-colour pens! So it is very useful for people who use different colour pens at once! Now I can have all of those colours in my filo in just 1 pen body!
The pen itself writes in a VERY thin line, which is very different to what I am used to, but I will get used to it!
I'm thinking about buying a pencil refill for it, which I think would be the perfect solution to all my writing needs in my filofax! But that means I would need to take out one of the refills I already have in it. I think the only problem I have with pen is that you can only have 4 colours in it- I know this is ridiculous, but I would like more! But I'm dreaming... 

Thanks so much again, Terri!!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Organisation of research projects

I strive for organisation. I don't always achieve it, but I always want it, because it makes life SO much easier! As you can tell, I do this a LOT in the way I plan my daily life- Filofaxes etc- but I also try to do it in my academic life. The major thing for me is organising research projects.

I have to do a lot of research projects, but until recently I hadn't formulated a logical structure for organising them. I had tried to do this a while ago, but this past week I've managed to perfect it! I'm so happy with myself! I have to say, the inspiration came from the method of organisation you use for filofaxes- dividers, with a place for everything, and everything in its place!
First came the realisation of how to organise my folder, then I put my mind to the actual process I should use to be organised in doing the actual research itself.

I have to say, before you start reading, this set-up is relevant for my course, Egyptology, and other evidence-based subjects, e.g. history etc (among others, although I can't think of any more specific ones). This may not work for you if you do a very different course which isn't evidence-based; but you may find some interesting tips in it anyway!

So first, I will explain the lay-out of my research folder, and then the process of researching for different types of research projects.

  • Divider 1 is 'Organisation'- the space for to-dos, list of questions to ask, etc. Subsection 1.2:
  • Divider 1.2 is 'Instructions, methods'- where I write instructions for my assignment, methods and techniques to use in it.
  • Divider 2 is 'Evidence- Dataset/Catalogue'- The most important section- where I will accumulate the evidence I will be using in my research assignment. I will explain why this is so important later. Subsections 2.1 and 2.2:
  • Divider 2.1 is 'Analysis of Evidence'- where I write notes on my analysis of the evidence behind divider 2 
  • Divider 2.2 is 'Interpretation of Evidence/Importance of Evidence'- After I have analysed the evidence, I will write up my interpretations of it here
  • Divider 3 is 'Research'- Where all my notes I make from my research go. Behind the main tab I have lists of books/articles to look at, keywords to search for in the Egyptology publications databases. Subsections 3.1 and 3.2:
  • Divider 3.1 is 'Basic/Background Research'
  • Divider 3.2 is 'Specific Research'. I will explain the distinction between these 2 in a minute
  • Divider 4 is 'Discussion points/Arguments'- I don't know if this is the proper term, but I mean the main topics I will be discussing in my essay; and the notes/evidence I will use to demonstrate/argue these points
  • Divider 5 is 'Plan'- for my essay plan, where everything comes together in an organised and structured way, before it gets written up into my drafts!
Each section has its own divider (cheap ones from Tesco, but pretty colours!), while each subsection is a divider, but I have cut the side-tab off and taped it to the top of the divider to create a top-tab! For quick access within the main section.

So, this folder is how I keep all my notes etc organised which I produce when carrying out the research procedures below. This is the essence to my whole system of organisation: the folder is important for keeping your papers organised in the specific sections, but you have to follow these procedures to be organised in your research to start with.
Different types of assignments require different procedures. The two types of research projects in Egyptology, and in other subjects, are as follows:
Question-based papers
Evidence-based papers
The distinction is as follows: in an evidence-based paper (whether this is an essay set for a student to do, or an article written by an academic), you start off with a specific piece of evidence or group of evidence (dataset) which you analyse and interpret, and it is this evidence which leads on to questions you can address in your research and your discussion. In a question-based paper, you start off with a question (or issue, or statement), and this question itself leads you to the topics you will address in your research and essay. That really is the difference: fundamentally, is your assignment based on a piece of evidence or not? Take these examples: (I'll give examples relating to the subject of History, because more people understand this than Egyptology!)

Did the policy of appeasement cause World War Two, or was the war inevitable?

To what extent did Chamberlain's 'Anglo-German Agreement' cause World War Two?

The distinction between these two questions is on the surface quite slight: both are about the same subject (appeasement), but the first is a question-based assignment- the question leads you to keywords and issues and ideas which you can use to find books, to research the subject, to write your assignment; but the second is an evidence-based assignment- it uses the 'Anglo-German Agreement', the piece of paper which Hitler signed, agreeing to not start a war, as the start of the whole research project, and then you answer the question based on your analysis of this major piece of everything. An evidence-based assignment starts off with evidence, while a question-based assignment finds it along the way. 
Why do you need to know which category your paper falls into? Because the different types of assignemtn uses different procedures. This are the best procedures I have developed for each type of assignment:

Evidence-based assignment:
  • Write down the instructions of your assignment, and make sure you understand them (Divider 1.2)
  • Collect (print out/photocopy) and file your evidence/dataset (Divider 2)
  • Review the evidence/dataset, so you know what sort of topics, issues you will be addressing, keywords to look up etc-->
  • Using keywords etc, make a starter bibliography (using whatever bibliographic database/catalogue is relevant for your course). (Divider 3)
  • Do basic/background research on the general subject and the piece of evidence/dataset in general using these books you have identified in your bibliography. (Divider 3.1). (This is different from specific research- basic/background research is to give you knowledge about the subject in general, so you know enough about the subject to interpret the evidence, and understand the arguments of scholars who have written about this subject).
  • Analyse your evidence/dataset (Divider 2.1)
  • and interpret it (Divider 2.2)
  • Use the background knowledge you have gained, and your interpretation of your piece of evidence/dataset, to develop the main discussion points/arguments you want to discuss in your paper. My lecturer says that an assignment between 2000 and 5000 words should only have 3 discussion points- she wants depth of argument and quality, not quantity (too many issues covered) that doesn't discuss them in enough depth or quantity. (Divider 4)
  • Then, do specific research on the piece of evidence/dataset, and your discussion points- specific research is what goes into your paper, whereas basic research just fills in the gaps in your brain! (Divider 3.2)
  • Write this into your plan (Divider 5)
  • And develop your arguments, by doing more research, and keep writing this up into your plan, and round and round again!
Question based-assignment:
This is somewhat easier because this is what undergraduate students are used to doing.
  • Write down the question (and instructions) and make sure you understand it/them (Divider 1.2)
  • Once you understand what your question is asking of you (you know keywords etc), use keywords to make your starter bibliography (using a database etc) (Divider 3)
  • Do basic/background research on the general subject from the books/articles in your starter bibliography (Divider 3.1)
  • Summarise the main themes/issues you have learned from your basic research
  • Start making your evidence/sources database (evidence you find along the way, that is important for answering your essay question- this is continuous, do it every time you find a piece of relevant evidence, whether in your basic or specific research) (Divider 2)
  • Then analyse and interpret this evidence, towards answering your question (Dividers 2.1 and 2.2)
  • Using your basic research, your summaries of the main themes/issues, and the patterns/interesting features you have found during your analysis/interpretation of the evidence/sources you have found, make the (3) discussion points/arguments you want to make in your essay (Divider 4)
  • Do specific research on your discussion points etc (Divider 3.2)
  • Write into your plan
  • Develop your discussion points etc

I hope all this makes sense! If you have any questions or want me to clarify anything, just ask me in the comments!

Have a great weekend :)

Friday, 28 October 2011

S&L filofax dividers!

Today I am going to review my lovely new filofax dividers!

As soon as I saw them on Imy's flikr, I fell in love with them! I traced them back to her blog, then followed the link that send me to the facebook page, where there were loads of pictures I could drool over!

I couldn't wait until they arrived, unfortunately I accidentally delivered them to the wrong address, so it was a bit longer before I could get my hands on them, but it was well worth it!
Here they are inside my Cuban zipped daily filofax!

First divider, for my 'Organisation' section. Lovely and flowery!!
Back of the first divider, with some post-its stuck on it ready for re-use!

I REALLY love polka-dots at the moment! My uni work section
Beautiful big colourful flowers!
Third divider, doesn't have a purpose yet!
Oops, a bit lop-sided!
My 'reference' section divider!
Spotty-dotty :D
And finally, my 'notes' section, with the beautiful big rose in the middle!

S&L also make today markers/rulers! I bought a set of these too! (2 in a pack!)

These dividers and today markers are gorgeous, I'm so happy with them!
They are covered with a plastic which means they are very durable, and they are double-sided, which means you can see 2 interesting patterns per divider when you turn the page! And most importantly, they are made by two Filofax-lovers, and that's what makes them really special!
I love Cath Kidston designed things! But S&L also have other designs, including Country Garden and Retro (see S&L's facebook page to see the photos), and they make them for pocket and mini size as well as personal!!

I love my new dividers!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Making it work for me...

I just did something unspeakable. I ripped pages out of my pocket Moleskine. OK, I didn't rip, I perforated them neatly with my cute little Xcut perforator and gently pulled them out. But still, some may say, a violation of the precious Moleskine.
But, this little Mole, or the system I was using, just wasn't working for me. It's a pocket ruled Moleskine, and I had it set up as a GTD notebook, according to a lot of the systems linked to on this website. First, I had an inbox for all of my to-dos, which contained a column down each page to write the context in; then a section for different contexts- @home, @campus, @mum etc, then a 'Project' section for anything more complicated than just a couple of to-dos, then a uni work section where I would list assignments, a 'Waiting for' section, and a section where there were post-it notes so I could write down ideas and then transfer them into the relevant place in my filofax. I thought this system would work for me because I needed a place for my non-urgent to-dos, and I was struggling to keep track of them in my filofax. They were behind a divider; and out of sight = out of mind. Also, I was struggling because instead of dumping these to-dos into an inbox and processing them later, I tried to work out their context then and there, which meant I spent longer trying to work out where they should go than it would have taken me to do them. So; my plan was to write all of my to-dos down in the inbox section of the Moleskine, and frequently process them into the right context, and then make myself achieve them. This sounded like such a perfect system, it would undoubtedly work for me; how could it not?!
I tried to make this work; I willed it, BEGGED it to work. But... even if the system is perfect in theory, there's always a hurdle. And that hurdle was me. The system called for me to process the to-dos. I did that occasionally, but not enough. And then even more importantly, it called for me to DO them. There are 2 problems here: my life is very busy; and I am very lazy. Very.
For the past couple of weeks I have walked around with 2 Moleskine/moleskinesque notebooks in my handbag (plus my filo in my hand, and my school notebooks in my backpack!). The first one was my GTD notebook; the second, my Blackwell's bookshop Moleskine-knock off, half the price and just as good! I needed this second one because I always have ideas for assignments as I walk around, and I couldn't write them in my Moleskine, because that was just for to-dos. A whole Moleskine, just for to-dos... that never get done. Today I realised I also need a place for my more general ideas as well as my uni ideas; Christmas presents, things to consider buying, horrendously incorrect maths equations etc... Besides buying ANOTHER notebook, I decided to commandeer half of my Blackwell's notebook as my general ideas notebook. Easy-peasy. But there was still a stinging resentment towards my GTD notebook, as it obviously wasn't working for me. A couple of days ago I considered whether I could tear the used sheets out and use the notebook separately, but thought against it; I don't want to destroy something I had paid a lot of money for.
But thinking about it tonight, I could quite easily use my Blackwell's notebook for all three things; uni work ideas, general ideas, and to-dos within each of them. I realised that I DO need something to act as a brain-dump for me, a place for me to dump my thoughts. There is something very beneficial to writing things down; even if I could remember that idea later, which I probably do with about 60% of my thoughts, sending the thought through your nerve-endings and muscles, out though your fingers, into a pen, and then out onto paper through the ink is VERY cathartic, and just helps me hold that thought better. Anything that wouldn't have been remembered anyway is duly captured in ink permanently, and can be accessed later. For me, nothing is better than pen, paper, and the act of writing.
But, you might say, won't you forget to process these ideas? Well, I don't think so; I like looking back through my filled-up pages, because I feel proud that I have filled them, and just by doing that I cross off things that I have already dealt with or are no longer relevant. Other things will get processed to their relevant place. Or, just by reading them over and over as I flick randomly through my notebook, they will find their way into my brain permanently, where I can recall them at will. This notebook may be, in essence, a brain dump, but it's also a brain re-filler. If that's a word.
So, I decided, I'm not going to let my GTD notebook sit there all forlorn, and me regret ever starting it on that doomed course. So I carefully took out the filled pages (there wasn't many of them). Now it's a tiny bit slimmer, but you can't really notice that pages are missing unless you open it up to where I've pulled them out. The page numbers I wrote in there when I first got it now don't match up; but I don't care. The beauty of my much cheaper Blackwell's notebook was that it wasn't an expensive notebook, so I didn't feel bad about filling it with my bumpy handwriting (I write as I walk through campus); but I always stopped and tried to write neatly in my Moleskine, and wait until the ink dried before I closed it, which was annoying. There's a freedom in being able to treat your notebook as you like. It works for me, not the other way around. When I start using my Moleskine as my next notebook, I will scribble in it as I like. Because I can.
And if (when) this is successful, I'm going to treat myself to Leuchtturm 1917's pink notebook. A nice incentive!

Just to finish with, this picture made me laugh :)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Time Management for university with 3 Filofaxes! Part 1

This might be a very in depth post, but I'll try to keep things simple :) First I will show you the set-up of each filo, and then I will discuss how I use them for time management in Part 2.

I know what you're thinking, 3 Filofaxes?? Well, yes, and I think it will really work for me!

My primary filofax is my personal filo. This changes between my personal-sized crimson Malden, ochre Malden and raspberry Chameleon as I feel like it. I spent a lot time setting this up, but now I think I have developed it into the set-up that really works for me. The fact that it hasn't changed in the last couple of months really tells me it's quite good for me!
Hello, Kitty!!

The set-up:
My weekly rota. This might change, as I might be getting a regular shift rota at work, and I think I will take Thursday nights off instead of Sundays from now on.
My uni timetable
MO2P diary, but I'm not really using it.
DPP planner. This is what I mostly use this filo for; each page is divided in half, so I have my appointments on the left and my to-dos/notes etc on the right. I have DPP until the end of term, and then I have...
WO2P until September 2012 (the end of my MA). This is for future planning for dates I don't have DPP in here for (which are stored in one of the personal filos I'm not currently using).
Then I have a couple of sections that don't really have a purpose at the moment, but I can't think of anything else I need in here!
The next section is for notes, this just has random things I think of and have to write down, and spare paper for more notes.
Then I have my finance section. I use this filo as my wallet when I take it out with me, so keeping my finance in here is handy. Specifically, I have:
Shopping list
Regular food shopping list, just to refer to when I go to Tesco and can't think of what I need
A chart where I record what money my mum has sent me, out of the loan she got me for my MA/1st year of PhD.
And then money I want my mum to transfer, to pay back what I have spent out of my own account for uni stuff
Something that's really important for me: a list of who owes me what money. I often buy things on behalf of people, and need to keep track of how much they owe me and for what.
Then I have my reference section:
My mum's working times
A list of things I have to consider taking with me when I go out on a daily basis. The first things are the most important: keys, glasses, money and cards, phone, Filofax, ipod!
A list of term dates 2011-2012
4 sheets of addresses: family; friends; work; and Egyptology!
Then at the back I have a notepad.

So this filo is for my diary (agenda) and for things I need when I'm out and about.

I knew I needed a separate planner for my university work, as it wouldn't fit into my personal. It's A5, which is the perfect size for this planning :) I'm using my gorgeous A5 red Amazona for this!
It has evolved quite naturally, and so I think it is going to work well for me. I made lots of inserts myself for this filo, which is the beauty of the A5 size!

First I have my list of work to do, on inserts I made myself. I have these sheets at the front of my filo so they are the first thing I see when I open my filo. I need to keep this list at the front of my mind.
A chart where I fill in how many hours I've worked for each module each day, to make sure I work hard enough each week.
A list of library books I have borrowed, and when they are due back, but I keep forgetting to update it because it's hidden behind other sheets. I might make a specific 'Library' section.
Then I have my dodo-acad pad. I didn't realise when I bought it that it had the same design on each page as the 2011 dodo-pad, which I already have. But oh well, it was cheap, and will last me until the end of my MA! I'll talk more about how I use it in a minute.
My WO2P columned appointments diary. I'm not really using this that much because I mostly use my DPP planner for this, but it's useful for a week's overview.
Then I have dividers for each module I have. In each section I have details about the module, info and planning for assignments, to-dos for that module, some notes from talking to lecturers etc. I DON'T put actual notes for assignments/lecture notes etc in here, I write so much it just wouldn't fit!

This filo has to stay at home now. For about 2 weeks I took it to uni with me and used every day, but the corners of my gorgeous Amazona started getting scuffed, and also it was heavy to carry around with me all the time. So instead, I have my new Filo:-

There's a LOT of red going on!!
My personal-sized Chilli red Cuban Zipped! I did a post about this filo earlier and I have spent all day setting it up, and I'm ready to tell you all about it! The set-up may seem strange at first, but read the time management post and hopefully it will make sense!

First up, I have a transparent fly-leaf. I'm using this to stop my first sheet in my filo being damaged by the cards I have opposite, which I think could dent it.
The first section I have is my 'Today' section. I'm not going to explain this here, but in the Time Management post, as that would make more sense with my explanation of my time management situation now.
Then I have my log book. I have such a bad memory, I really need somewhere to write things down. I find it really hard to recall things when people ask me when something happened, so this will help me as I can look back through the events of the previous days.
A to-do sheet for ASAP things; although this relies on me actually looking at regularly!!
Then I have my first divider: Uni work. This section is a mini-version of my Amazona, and basically will have a copy of my list of uni work to do, and information about assignments to refer to in the library/in class.
The next section is my 'organisation' section. This isn't fully developed yet, but has a couple of bits in it:
Library stuff- books to get, Interlibrary loan books, books borrowed and when they're due back.
Then I have lots of to-do sheets, which came with the filo.
Next I will have a section which is for fact-sheets about ancient Egypt, things I will frequently need to refer to or always forget, or I'm trying to learn.
Then I have the post-it note insert which came with the filo. This serves as a divider between my 'uni' half of my filo, and the general section of my filo.
I have a WO2P diary until October 2012 to note down any dates I find out when I'm away from my proper DPP diary.
Then I have a notes/lists section, including finance stuff I will add to my proper finance section in my other filo later.
My reference section comes next, a copy of what I have in the same place in my personal filo.
Then some spare paper,
and a notepad in the back!

In the next post, I will discuss how I use them both separately and together for time management.

Hope everyone's having a lovely weekend!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Cuban Zipped personal Filofax :D

I just received my new filofax through the post! I'm really surprised it arrived so soon so am really happy!

On Wednesday, I went onto flikr to see if anything interesting had happened. I saw a picture of a Cuban Zipped on Aspiretobe's photos, and saw some features of this filo that would work out really well for my current life. The last few days, it's been horrible weather, and I've had to keep my daily filo in my backpack around campus to stop it getting rained on. The zipped feature of the Cuban would prevent that issue, as it would protect my papers. I searched the philofaxy flikr pool for more pictures and found many fantastic features of this filo- 2! elasticated! pen loops!, vertical card slots (which I prefer to horizontal), a nice red colour, 30mm rings!!, a secretarial pocket (really handy) which could double as a notepad pocket :-) There are a few features which I might find annoying, such as the fact that it doesn't lay flat out of the box, but Aspiretobe's photo's comment gave me hope that it would eventually lay flat!

So I bought it on Wednesday on ebay (£40) and it was dispatched yesterday. I thought it would take another few days to arrive, and ebay estimated it would arrive 20th-24th October. Well just 30 minutes ago I heard a bang at the door and it arrived!! No, not on it's own with a tiny Filofax-brand suitcase, but wrapped up in packaging in the hands of the postman! I had to contain my excitement to sort out the other letters he gave me, but soon I took it out of the packaging. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of that, I was too excited!

The first thing I noticed was that it had a few dents and scratches :( The front has a mild dent, the back has a few scratches, and the pen loops and the leather near them have dents where the pens' metal thingy that you can hold it to your shirt pocket (I really can't remember the name!!) has scratched. It's not too bad I guess, because it's the only one out of my collection that really has to work for me. It stops me having to be too precious about it like I am with my others. It has to withstand all weathers, being stuffed absolutely full, being shoved in the bottom of my bag. This is a worker-fax. The purpose: help me stay 100% organised TODAY at university. Not forward planning, not even for tomorrow; my DPP diary in my Malden will do that. This is for the organisation of today (which, by the way, is ironic, seeing as how I have barely got out of bed today ;b ).

It came with some really exciting contents, which almost makes up for the scratches. The first thing is a set of Jan-Dec dividers! Very cool! Don't really know whether I'll use them in here or in my personal Malden, though, and there's always the problem that Filofax diaries are IMPOSSIBLE to separate the months!! because they are printed back-to-back *grumble grumble*
Then comes a brown today ruler, I like the brown as it is a softer colour than the black ruler.
Some normal dividers.
LOTS of to-do sheets!
Some blue and lilac notepaper (a few sheets of each), and LOADS of pink paper :D
Lots of address sheets (unfortunately I don't use these...)
Alphabet dividers.
A world map
A card-pocket insert
A clear flyleaf
And a filofax post-it insert!! I've never had one of these before, and it looks unused, so it's very exciting!!

After everything the previous owner left in it, it looks like she must have just given up on filofax, even after buying some extras (the to-dos, pink paper (too many for the normal basic contents), and the post-it insert). How could anyone just give up on their filo like that??? I guess she doesn't care for them as much as us, looking at how she must have treated it, given all the scratches (my filofaxes are my babies, though ;b )

I'm really looking forward to setting it up, especially with those 30mm rings!!!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Little improvements go a long way...

In my last post, I mentioned that I don't drink enough water and therefore get dehydrated frequently. Today I started using the big jug I bought at poundland the other week, and besides needing the toilet more often ;b I have found that I have been able to concentrate on my work a lot more, and I feel a lot less tired than I usually do after a full day's work! What a difference some water and a £1 jug makes!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

September-October update

I have realised a few things recently, with this new chapter of my life starting. Here's a summary of my thoughts and ideas recently

I'm really enjoying my course (MA Egyptology); actually I'm LOVING it :) I just love being busy! I love having a whole load of things to do, as long as I can stay on top of them! My amazona is really helping me do that! Well, really, it isn't my actual amazona binder, it's the way I've set it up, and I'll be doing a post on this soon. The main thing that helps is making sure I write down all of my work and deadlines, and forward planning when I should work on them. I know, I know, this is such an obvious thing to do to stay organised, but it's something that I didn't do last year and therefore is REALLY making a difference for me now!

But... I really have to make some other improvements in my life, especially in staying organised in other areas of my life, and keeping my priorities in mind.
After a visit to the bank, I realise I REALLY need to stay organised financially. I'm the sort of person who will live quite happily in denial, and that really isn't good when it's something as important as money. I spent an hour writing a list of rules and other important things in my filofax to try to keep me on the straight and narrow financially. But besides sticking to these rules and my budget, the thing I really need to do is change my psychology; change my 'Mrs I Want' side of my brain, i.e. not buy things as soon as I decide I want them, regardless of whether I need them or not, or can afford them or not. It's going to be a struggle, but if it works, it's going to be a good life lesson!
Sorting out my life priorities is another thing I need to change my psychology for. Like I have 'Mrs I Want' in my brain, I have 'Mrs I Can't Wait' too, so that when I want to do something, e.g. watch a TV programme, I'll do it now instead of working out when I have some free time to do it, or waiting until I have finished my work. So on a bad day, my desire for fun far outweighs my need to do work. On one of these typical bad days (they happen once, maybe twice a week), I will lay in bed, with my laptop on my knees, watching TV while simultaneously reading blogs and surfing the web. Not a bad thing to do occasionally, you might think, especially when I tend to work through weekends without a proper break. But on those days, I don't do ANY work, although I know I should, and it's negative on my health too. I lay in my bed, usually in a position that hurts my neck a lot after a few hours; and I'm so lazy that I won't get out of bed to get a drink until I'm REALLY dehydrated and desperately in need of water (I don't drink enough as it is). I know I need to change this. I recently bought a jug, so that solves the water problem, as I can keep refilling my glass. But my main problem is that whole day I waste in bed. Last year I never scheduled any days off, like normal people have weekends; so much so that I found my brain just crashed like an overworked computer. I really do need time off this year, but the thing is, I need to schedule it to a time when it won't impinge on my work. This is the thing I need to make sure I do each week. I need that day off per week for relaxation, and as something to look forward to during the week. And as a cure for Mrs I Want, I'm going to write a list of TV programmes I want to watch on that day off, so it's a day I can really look forward to.
I have also realised another priority recently; my own health and well-being. I know realise that, during this extremely stressful year, I won't be able to do my best if I don't stay healthy. As I said, I never drink enough, so I'm usually dehydrated (but don't realise it). I also lack vitamins most of the time because I don't have a great variety in my diet. I lack sleep sometimes, but even on days when I have had my 8 hours, I'm still tired because I just always on the go. And an inherent thing in my brain, I am often stressed, although I don't realise it until the physical symptoms are showing (twitching eyelid or lips, heart palpitations, severely painful headache (although thankfully only lasts about 5 seconds at a time), and at my worst, really aching legs and aching kidneys, plus the headache). I'm sure a lot of you, especially Caribbean Princess if she's reading, will tell me off for letting myself get this unhealthy. But I will try to change this! I promise to drink more water, take vitamin tablets, sleep more and do yoga or something!
And, overall, I promise to keep my priorities in order and at the front of my mind. Uni work first, then health and well-being, then fun, although they could overlap. Obviously, I can stop my uni work to go and make a sandwich and refill my jug. My I just can't watch TV instead of doing my uni work when it's not in my free time, because uni work comes first.

I am going to try to implement these changes in my personal Filofax, which, as soon as I am happy with the set up, I will blog about :)

Hope you are all having a fun weekend!!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Home is where the Filo is...

I have been taking my gorgeous A5 Amazona to university every day since I received it, and I am worried it is starting to show some signs of wear. It's just not designed to go inside my big, full back pack! Thankfully I have my red A5 Domino that will serve as my on-campus university planner while Amazona stays at home :) Now I just have to decide which inserts I should duplicate, and which ones I will transfer over each day...