Friday Speak Out!: Use Your Journal to Clear the Clutter, Guest Post by Karen Turk

Friday, February 01, 2013
New year, new notebook, two dollars at Walmart.  Don’t use a leather-bound gold-edged fabric-lined notebook; that’s too intimidating for everyday.   That one is more appropriate if you want to write about your time working as a lady’s maid to a European princess.

You know how you want to clear out the clutter in your crawlspace/home office/closet?  You may want to clear the clutter from your mind first.
A journal is useful for more than pouring out thoughts and feelings of what has already occurred.  I use mine to organize my thoughts when they get cluttered and overflowing like that box of cloth grocery bags in the trunk of my car.
I make columns to sort out my life right now – for example, Relationship, Home, Writing – (relationship: stop nagging, he will quit when he’s ready), (home: sort through old  photos and scan and save) (writing:  write every day and submit something once a week) and write down a few sentences about what I want to accomplish.  Don’t write too much or you will end up having to declutter your organizing.  If you want to write more about these areas, start a new page and make it a journal entry.
Then I start a page for The Future.  Plans, dreams, hopes.  And if I know how to make them happen, I do a timeline.  For example, how to improve myself (see that Frida Kahlo art exhibit), physically (start running again as soon as the weather doesn’t make my nose run), take Mum to the new library branch and out for lunch...
Then there is Other.  The catch-all column with usually mundane things that hang over your head.  With tidbits like “Turn the bed upside down and vacuum the underside”.  Maybe that column should be called “Things I’ll never do”.  Only you can fill that column.
And the ultimate in peace of mind, the “If I Die” page.  (Not “When I die” because I don’t plan to anytime soon).   If I die unexpectedly and tragically before my time like a Victorian heroine, there is a page of handy info for my husband or kids to look at telling them how to get started sorting my things, including financial information.  Sad, I know, because I have written letters to them too......but the peace of mind is worth it.  This one page is separate from my journals and is, what we call in the library biz, a “Where To Look”.  That page should be hidden or locked up somewhere only your family knows about.
Now that New Notebook is broken in, you should feel a little clarity, a little lighter, a little calmer.  You can now fill the rest of the pages with journal entries.   Hopefully some of them will detail the experiences you had as a result of your column-making and how much better you felt.
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Karen Turk has two adult sons. She is a Library Technician living with her husband and dog in Southern Ontario.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Audrey said...

This is a great post Karen...
thanks for sharing it! I like the way you divide your gave me some good ideas, and I appreciate it!

Margo Dill said...

I agree with Audrey. I never really thought about dividing up a journal like this, but it is an excellent idea and I think that I could actually get into it. Thanks!

Sabrina A. Fish said...

I've kept a journal for years, but never thought to divide things up like this. Great idea! I'm going to give it a try and see how it works for me.

Angela Mackintosh said...

This is a great idea! Creating categories will also help you realize what areas of your life you need to pay the most attention to.

It sounds like you are creating lists initially, and then if there's something that you need more work on you start a new page and write about it. I do lists, but most of the time they are throwaways. I never thought of combining them with journal entries. :)

LuAnn Schindler said...

I love this. I use the column/list method in my journal all the time. :)

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