Z is for… Zen #atozchallenge

Where is your zen place?

Where do you write, blog, draw, create?

At the moment I enjoy the peace and quiet of the morning. I have taken to coming into work early (to beat the traffic) and I write while enjoying my first cup of tea of the day.

Previously I wrote during my train commute but since I stopped commuting by train I found it hard to get into a proper writing routine with all the bustle of home life, the distractions and the chores etc. whether it was in the morning or the evening. Then I tried the balcony (which only works in good weather by the way) to get me “out of the house” without being out of the house and found that it was much too cold even on balmy days due to the wind (unless I am in a bad mood and going for the me against the world attitude).

So for now arriving at work early will have to do.


One day … I will have my perfect haven, my zen place, a place of tranquility….a home office? A shed? Until then the joy of the notebook and pen (and ipad) will have to keep me going!

Y is for… Year #atozchallenge

How so you document your year? Simply diary, Filofax, journal? Most of us keep something to keep us organised but do you keep something to keep the memories? Why not pick a journal to help you create a memory, rather than to simply keep you organised.

Here are some suggestions:

one line a day journal
one sketch a day
Q and A a day Journal
one word a day journal
face a day journal
dream journal
Jane a day… Quotations journal
My Quotable Kid
baby’s first year
before your birthday (pregnancy journal)

How do you treasure your memories each year?

W is for… Writing #atozchallenge

To own so many notebooks you have to love writing. Otherwise what is the point – you just end up with a bunch of blank notebooks. Empty and sad. Yes I love notebooks but I love writing more.

I write a lot about organisational skills and using notebooks to manage your time, keep track of your to do list, and all sorts of wonderful things but I rarely write about writing in a notebook purely for the love of writing. Maybe because it sometimes makes me sad and that doesn’t inspire others. Writing:

Being creative.
Putting words to a page.
Being messy.
Generating ideas.
Telling a story.
Keeping a journal.

I used to just write, and write and write. Anything and everything. A good hour at the end of every day dedicated to filling up another notebook. A traumatic event stopped this habit. I didn’t want to write anymore. This was 5 years ago. I never got into that habit again, but my blog and notebooks got me back into writing… And I enjoy it once again.

I continue to write, because I enjoy it.

V is for… VHS #atozchallenge

When I was a kid I used to hide secret notes in VHS cases. Little scraps of paper containing secret ideas, my latest crush or notes between BFFs. So I got excited when I spotted this notebook in a local shop.

There is a VHS notebook available to hide among your collection (assuming we all have some VHS tapes lying around the place in between the DVDs).


The notebook is a hardback notebook with lined pages and a sleeve cover like a real VHS Cassette. It even comes with the sticky labels to label the tape. Maybe something to catalogue your films collection in?

Another one for my wish list.

Buy it at Firebox.

U is for… Up to date #atozchallenge

I got asked the other day about how to ensure that you are up to date with your to do list (and that everything is actually getting dealt with) by a friend who uses the “disposable to do list” method

The Problem

Provided you stick to the method, you should be re-writing what has not been done out again to keep you up to date. However, this is only good, if it actually comes of your list as soon as it *can* be done. So how do you remember when it can be done?

Note: (If you are simply procrastinating and putting it off – it will remain on your list as there is nothing motivating you to actually get it off your list. If this is your problem another to do list method will suit you better).

The solution

The solution is working a diary update in with your disposable to do list. Remind yourself when you need to look at it again. No it is not twice the work – it enables you to forget about something until you can deal with it (and you don’t have to rewrite it on your list every day).

The worked example

I sent a letter to the DVLA. So I take “write letter to DVLA” off my disposable to do list in the usual manner. It is now done. If I was simply using the disposable to do list this would be replaced by – “check DVLA have responded to my letter and progress” and written out everyday until it got done, or if I could not be bothered to keep writing it out, would get forgotten about. So I know on average it takes 6 weeks for a response (if it is not as regular simply ask when you should get a response regarding xyz). I then diarise (in my regular diary so I know I will see it) 6 weeks from posting to chase letter if not received. At this stage it then goes back on the disposable to do list. If of course the letter does come back prior to my diary reminder it has gone back on my disposable to do list anyway. So no need to worry about that.

Easy. Never be afraid to use multiple methods with each other – just don’t over complicate.

T is for… Tea #atozchallenge

Tea. My lifeline during the day. I am somehow back up to maybe 10 plus cups a day. The new job requires a lot of research and reading and less running around than my previous job so I can (a) actually drink my tea before it goes cold (b) use making tea as an excuse to stretch my legs and (c) I am no longer in a tea run do don’t have to make multiple cups every time I was a cuppa. perfect.

Anyone who also follows my personal account on twitter may know that last year I gave up buying coffee. specifically buying Starbucks coffee. Starbucks is less than a five minute walk from the new office – the temptation to go for a quick coffee is intense. So far I have resisted, but another downside of this is that when I get a craving for coffee I drink tea. Can’t win.

Tea: inspires the creative and keeps you running. Coffee: expensive but gives you a proper buzz.

Which one do you choose?