01 Feb, 2017
Office supplies and self-care
Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!
The title of this blog post is a little out of left field, but yes, I am really sitting down to write about how office supplies are helping my mental health right now.
Can we all agree that it’s been a bad week? I can’t tear myself away from the news and it’s starting to wear on me: the anger, the fear, the general malaise and feelings of hopelessness. As a compromise, I am now limiting the number of news stories I read and totally avoiding the comments. I’m also going to buy myself a subscription to the online edition of the New York Times. (Did you know that basic access is only $2.50/week right now?)
I have also told the one Trump supporter in my life (yes, they are out there, among us) to stop sending me “news.” I honestly can’t take any more.
My friend Ann Douglas has published a great blog post to this effect, aptly named How to Avoid Being Psychologically Destroyed by Your Newsfeed. There’s a lot of good advice over there, so if you’re feeling what I’m feeling this week, I recommend you click over and give it a read.
Anyway, to help stave off the feeling that the world around me is spinning out of control, I bought a new agenda and have been making daily to-do lists. It sounds a little nutty, but it has been working for me like some kind of Magical Brain Balm.
I did a whole bunch of research at the end of last year and spent a lot of time looking at different agendas and planners. As you can imagine, there are a LOT of them out there. It seems that agendas with motivational messages are the big trend right now but this didn’t appeal to me. I also didn’t need stickers or pockets. I also didn’t want to think too deeply about weekly/monthly/yearly goals and write long essays on the topic. I did, however, have some very specific requirements. The agenda had to be:
- desk size
- spiral bound
- one page per day
- with an aesthetically pleasing design
- … and clear space for items on my daily to-do lists and a way for me to check them off, because for me, the act of checking things off is immensely satisfying and is a big motivator.
After searching high and low, and fielding some recommendations via Facebook, I found the Day Designer. Behold:
Here’s what the inside page looks like:
I haven’t made my list for tomorrow, as you can see. :)
I really like the clean design and the amount of space allocated for that daily list. It is perfect for my needs.
The left-hand column is broken down into hourly segments. I don’t use this very often because our whole family shares a digital calendar. (It’s a total lifesaver. Honestly, I’m not sure how busy families function without one.) Anyway, this agenda is really for my own reminders and daily to-dos, most of which are work related but sometimes includes household reminders. It’s really helped me stay on top of things AND has drastically cut down on the number of times I panic about a deadline. (Which has been known to happen in the middle of the night. Ugh.)
My new agenda is actually a pleasure to use. I use my favourite pen, I don’t worry about my handwriting, sometimes I doodle, sometimes I don’t, and I don’t pressure myself to fill in the part about daily gratitude (but maybe I will at some point).
Here’s the thing: I can’t control the world, I can’t control the people in it, I can’t control political outcomes, but I CAN make my own priorities and get a better grip on my day. And you know what? It makes a difference in the day-to-day state of my mental health.
Do you have a perfect agenda? Or do you use a different way to stay organized? I’d love to hear about it!