Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

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Day 220: Work/Life Balance

Way back in March when we started our work-at-home lockdown, I fussed a lot about having to stay at home all the time, enduring the “sameness” of every day. Of course, there is still a lot of that feeling, but I have come to appreciate the benefits.

The primary benefit for me is the work/life balance.  I don’t have to rush home to meet the handiman. I don’t have to spend my weekend or evenings doing laundry or vacuuming. No stress in dealing with commuter traffic. I can make a pot of tea and drink it like a civilized person instead of gulping it from a paper cup. I can go out and weed my garden on my lunch hour. And I don’t have to binge cook on Sunday afternoons. I have time to tend a simmering caldron of soup on a Thursday afternoon. And this morning, I roasted a kabocha squash while answering work emails and preparing for zoom meetings.

Yes, I can get used to this.  Wait, I think I have gotten used to this. 

kabocha squash roasted in olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and drizzled with maple syrup

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Day 107: One Book July 2020


In the planner community—folks who like to collect and use planners and journals to organize their lives—there is a yearly challenge called One Book July.   Planner enthusiasts often have more than one planner or journal—I, myself, use two— so this challenge provides us with the opportunity to streamline by limiting our planning activities to one book and one pen for one month.  Here is a very brief video explaining my one book plan for this challenge and how I will deviate from the guidelines — which is perfectly okay according to the organizers of the challenge:



Talismans, Rituals, and the Fine Art of Procrastination

Some creatives have talismans in their creative spaces. Many an artist or writer will waste time in searching for that “right” object to serve this function and even more time arranging their spaces around the object. They do all of this instead of arting or writing. I know this because I spent time rearranging my “dream corner” and finding the right place to put my dream catcher.

Another time-waster of creatives is engaging in some sort of “ritual” before sitting down to work.    They dim the lights, light candles, fondle the aforementioned talisman (I DON’T do that with my dream catcher), make a whole ceremony over making a pot of tea (or pouring a few fingers of Scotch), and so on.

Again, I am guilty of that myself.   For example, this morning, instead of working in my sketchbook which I vowed to do every morning, I wasted time doing an inventory and making a swatch list of all my colored pencils.   Seriously.

Now I know some creatives will argue that their talismans and rituals are vital to their work.  Some see their work spaces and times as sacred and thus requiring such objects and actions to sanctify them.  I get that.  I do.  To me, the act of creating is a calling, a vocation.  You must treat the work with respect and awe.

But I know for myself that such things can be massive time-wasters.  I may do them because I don’t want to face the blank page or empty canvas.  I do them because I am just lazy and would rather screw around on Facebook than sit down and work.   Sometimes, I know the work is going to bring up uncomfortable emotional baggage.  Who wants to experience that?    All of us, if we want to live out our calling as creatives.

Don’t let your time-wasters divert you into becoming a master of the fine art of procrastination.


ljgloyd (c) 2018

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A Cow Bell, Two Shakers, and a Strumstick: How I Start a New Creative Project

I am an over-committed person (AKA a workaholic):   I have the day job. Then I have a continuous home improvement project that is going to take months, if not years, to resolve. I do things for my faith community. I drum as much as I can to relieve the stress of the first three commitments. I love to read (see the Goodreads list on this site). I do about forty-five minutes to an hour a day of cardio exercise and yoga for health maintenance.   And, of course, I write.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I can permit myself to try out new activities because of all these other activities. I believe, though, that to call myself a Creative, I must constantly push the boundaries through to new experiences. And once the permission is granted, it is simply a matter of making a plan and then working the plan.

One of the new activities I am considering is composing and recording some of my percussion work. Let me say here that I am most definitely NOT a musician, but nevertheless I have given myself permission to still explore this creative and technical genre.

So how am I doing this? First, I set the intention by granting myself permission to try something new AND, just as importantly, permission to set it aside mid-stream should I find it not a viable endeavor.   Next, I brainstormed the project on a pad of paper, grouping the dump of ideas into actionable items. For this project, I realized that I needed to review the technology I had on hand or could access without cost,  investigate online videos and tutorials for the software, and inventory my percussion instruments* and song sheets. After sorting, reviewing, and prioritizing these actions, I determined that I would start by learning if I could use my cell phone and the Garageband app on it to record and mix MP3 tracks.   Before I start working on this, I started a Project page in my planner.

So my process is: 1) set the intention, 2) brainstorm ideas, 3) sort the ideas into specific actions, 4) implement the first action and make note of the results.

If I am able to get past the first action, then I will proceed to the next, and so on until a finished product is at hand.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

ljgloyd 2018

*FYI:  I have four frame drums, two darbukas, four egg shakers, a flex-a-tone, a strumstick and a cow bell.   That’s going to be one weird and funky track if I am successful.


Stop Worrying and Love Someone

You may have realized by now that I’m a bit of a planner. I brain dump everything into a journal, tease out actionable items, and then move these tasks to a separate calendar book to be done on certain days and at certain times. And this is just my personal and creative life. My work tasks are planned and organized on my computer at work.

One of my life mottos is “make a plan, work the plan.” By adhering to this, I am productive and I get things done.

I have been on vacation for the last three weeks and had planned to write, create some drumming compositions, do some art, go to museums, exercise and do yoga.

I did none of those things. Instead, I got sick, and between that and making preparations for holiday activities, I did none of the things I had planned to do. I was just too tired. My body was calling for rest, and because I ignored it, it knocked me down hard.

Yesterday, someone told me to slow down and listen to the voice of Spirit. I was admonished to stop worrying about plans for the future, live in the present and “love someone now.” This little bit of advice is so profoundly simple that it knocked me back on my heels. Upon reflection I have come to the conclusion that if I were to have a New Year’s resolution it would be to slow down, to engage in more self-care and to seek out people who need to be shown love, kindness and compassion.

No small order in this messed up world.

Ljgloyd 2018


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One Book July 2017


I am taking part in the 2017 One Book July challenge. The challenge is to use one book and one pen for all planning and journaling for the month of July. The fact is I did the challenge last year and have continued using one book and one pen (for the most part) for the last year. The organizers of One Book July added another challenge for journallers like me– change the size of the journal. Here is a very brief video about it.

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This month I will be participating in a challenge called “One Book July 2016” offered up by the members of the Coffee and Planner Addicts Club on Facebook. Their motto is “First I drink coffee, then I do things.”  These are MY type of people, for sure!

The challenge is simply this: consolidate all of one’s productivity planning into one book, using one pen, for one month. Some planner addicts have multiple journals and planners for different purposes. I have more than one as well.  The idea is to enhance productivity by using one book for everything.

For quite some time I had been using a pocket-sized “faux-dori” notebook for planning and a separate journal for creative planning (I do a lot of mind-mapping and brain-dumping).  I was never satisfied with my “faux-dori” so I recently acquired an 18-month Moleskine Weekly Notebook to take over the planning.   For this challenge,  I inserted the planner into the Oberon Design leather cover (depicting Hokusai’s wave) which I had been using for my creative work.  I also attached a pen holder.


So here’s a quick flip-through the new set-up:

planner dashboard page
This is my dashboard page. The image is a collage I made a number of years ago when I was a regular participant at the Soul Food Cafe. It is to remind me that I am first and foremost a Creative.  I am not particularly “arty” when it comes to my planners since every last bit of space is used for a note or bullet.  So this image will probably be the extent of any imagery.  I do use Washi tape to affix notes and make separations.  These do add a bit of color.

The front of the Moleskine planner had several pages of information primarily aimed at users who do international travel and interaction: air flight time, international dialing codes, international clothing sizes, et cetera. Those pages are of no use to me so I covered over them and am using them to hold permanent lists such as Books to Read, Movies to Watch, Websites to Visit, Birthdays, Phone numbers, and the like. The front of the planner also has several yearly calendars for overviews and advanced planning and eighteen monthly calendars where I put my long-range appointments. The bulk of the planner is comprised of weekly spreads. The days of the week are on the left with plenty of open space on the right for notes:

Planner weekly page as is

I am customizing the weekly spreads to accommodate appointments, daily tasks, notes, weekly goals, shopping lists, among other things.  The configuration of this customization may change as my needs change.   Here is what this week’s spread looks like:


To handle my brain dumps and creative mind-mapping, I clipped a pad of lined paper onto the back pocket of the planner.  The pocket has post-it notes, tags, and other loose bits.


An additional challenge, called OneBookJuly2016 2.0, is to dedicate a place in the book for working on a special project.  For this purpose I used a large rubber band to affix a cahier inside the back cover.  My special project this month is writing a series of essays for this blog.  This is where I will outline the essays and keep research notes.


We’ll see how this all pans out.  I’m not crazy about the thickness of the planner/journal combo.  If it won’t fit in my bag, that will be a problem.


 I’ll post again in a few weeks and let you know how it’s working out.

My past posts on Productivity:

Make a Plan, Work the Plan

Brain Dumps and Bullet-Journalling













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Brain Dumps and Bullet Journaling– How I Manage My Time: Part II

journal and pencilYesterday I posted about my need to make and work plans so that I can manage a rather large plate of commitments.  Today, I will give you a brief overview of how I do that.

My time management system is a blending and simplification of the Getting Things Done and  Bullet Journal systems.  Both systems can get quite complicated and since I don’t want to make any more work for myself, I just use a few of their basic tools.

In my system, the key components are the Brain Dump, Organizing, Scheduling, and Execution.

The Brain Dump.  This is simply taking a piece of scrap paper and writing down things you need to do.  Write everything on your mind.  Don’t worry, you’ll be thinking of plenty you need to do.  What makes brain dumping successful is NOT stopping to organize or prioritize.  Just write down one thought after another until you cannot think of anything else.  Everything will be mixed up.  That’s okay.  You’ll straighten it all out soon.   Brain dumping could take 30 seconds or 30 minutes.  Here is a sample of a brain dump on did last Sunday covering what I need to get done this week (Yes, it is supposed to look incoherent):

brain dump

Organizing.  Once the brain dump is completed, then you start organizing it.  When I review my dump, first I decide which of the items I wrote down are actionable.  If any are not, then I cross them off.    Next, I take what is left and divide them into three areas:  Singular tasks, Events and Appointments, and Projects.

Singular tasks are simply that.  I typically group the tasks accordingly:  Household/Administrative, Health/Well-being, Church, Spiritual practice, Reading, Writing, Shopping, Payments, and Long-range tasks.  I look at last week’s pages in my planner and note any tasks I did not complete and move them forward to this week.

Events and Appointments:  I look at my monthly calendar and future log (more on this in another post) and note any appointments or events for this week.  I make a chronological list of them with the date, time, location and tasks needed to prepare for them.  If you are using a pre-printed planner you may have already written your events and appointments down on the appropriate day.

Projects:   Projects are made up of multiple tasks required to accomplish the project.  I break the project down into actionable tasks and write them down.   I look at last week’s pages of my planner to see if there are any uncompleted projects and move the appropriate tasks forward to this week.  I look at my future log and long-range goals for projects that need to be started.  I often use a separate piece of paper or page in my planner to break down a project into tasks.

Scheduling.  Now I divide a page of my planner into seven boxes with the day and date of the week.  (You can use a planner with the dates already printed except you need a planner with enough room to write tasks for each day.)  I write down the appointments first.  Then I write down the tasks needed to prepare for the appointment on the preceding days.  Next I schedule the high priority tasks and note them with a star.    Finally, I schedule simple tasks and project tasks on days when I think I have the time to do them.   If I don’t think I will have time to do a task then I put it in a box called “Long Range”.

Execution. All of this organizing and writing is worthless if you don’t do the tasks.  This means you have to exercise a little discipline and just do the stuff!   Each morning look at the day’s tasks.  As you complete each task, check it off.   One day at a time.     This is Bullet Journaling in action.    Many Bullet Journalers employ complicated codes and colors to manage their bullet lists.  I just use four:  a star to denote a high priority task, a check to show I completed a task, a cross-out for canceled events, a right arrow to denote that a task needs to be moved forward to the next week.

Here is my Bullet List for the week of June 5-11:

bullet journal

Examples:  You can see my categories of tasks on the left and then the days of the week on the right with those tasks written in on the days that work best for getting them done.  For example, I did household tasks on Monday because I did not have any events that evening.   An example of a writing project task list:  I listed that I needed to review prompts, outline a blog post, research the post, write it and then post it. Most of these tasks I scheduled for Sunday.  On Tuesday, I had noted that I had to vote — an event/appointment.  So on Monday, I scheduled time for me to review the ballot in preparation of that event.

So there you have the basics of my time management system.  It may seem like a lot of work, but it isn’t really.  It takes a few minutes on Sunday morning to brain dump, organize, and schedule and a few seconds each morning and evening to review the daily tasks.

Again, it’s the only way I can stay on top of things.






Make a Plan, Work the Plan– How I Manage My Time: Part I

neon clockI learn a lot just by listening to snatches of conversation made by complete strangers.  One of the best bits of advice I ever received was from a young woman who passed by me while I was out for a walk.  She was on a cell phone and I heard her say to the person on the other end of the call: “My mom always used to say that the key to success is to make a plan and then work the plan….”   That’s it.  How wonderfully simple and so inspiringly practical.

My life has gotten complicated over the years and as I get older I’m finding that some of my synapses don’t fire in the manner to which I have become accustomed.  (Ahem… I forget stuff.)   Slowly, in an evolutionary process that coincides with the death of my neurons, I have been making and working plans for all of my activities.  It is the only way I can get things done and not drop any balls.

It started with work projects:  I use Outlook to make task lists, prioritize and schedule those tasks, and check them off or move them forward as needed.  Making and working plans in this manner is the only way I can keep it all together.

Not surprisingly, I eventually discovered that my work life was more organized and efficient than my personal life.  At a certain point in my life, I did not have so much going on and I didn’t need to be so organized.  Again, things transform over time.  Now I have family concerns that require action, responsibilities in my faith community that need my attention, my own commitment to a writing practice, the management of certain health and wellness regimes, and the execution of the basics of living:  laundry, shopping, cleaning, bill-paying, and the like.  And once in a while I go out to have fun and even that requires some planning.

Let me just say now that I am not OCD with a compulsion to organize everything.  No, I am just a very busy woman.  Tomorrow, for those of you who are interested, I will briefly show you my time management system and how it is executed.

ljg (c) 2016