ROUTINE: A (week)Day in my Life

I had a request for the successes with my routine and how it is structured.

man in black suit holding smartphone and sunglasses
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I know, right?

Yes, me.


was asked to write about my routine.

You better believe it! Cause now I have one and it makes my life a lot easier. 

Guess what else? When it gets messed up, I feel it. Like a lot of you this week, I’m facing unanticipated time at home. I was supposed to be traveling. It was supposed to be my vacation week. Instead, I find myself at home struggling with all the feels.

In light of my recent canceled travel, and for those of you who may find yourself at home more than usual, I’ve decided to give you a peek at my routine.

This virus is affecting everyone. My trip has been cancelled and, like many people’s, my routine has been disrupted.  I struggle with creating a new routine from a broken one. I know I’m not alone in this. I also know there are people in the world dealing with bigger problems than we have currently. That’s ok. If this post helps even one person feel better about their unexpected time at home, I’m happy.

silver macbook pro on tabletop
Photo by Andrew Neel on

Very often 24 of my hours are spent at home so I have to break them up into some kind of order. I might as well be in control of that order.  The way I see things.

I can only take partial credit creating this routine. I’ve had a lot of help from an app called The Fabulous. I highly recommend you check it out if you’re in need of a routine. [Let me know if you want to know more about the app, but it’s pretty self explanatory.]  I even recommend the paid version though I’m not getting paid to say that.

You can be assured as soon as I can get paid to say something, I will say it. I’ll also tell you all about it.

Also, remember, I didn’t make this routine in a day, and I don’t follow it perfectly. It’a guideline.

white ring bill alarm clock
Photo by Joseph Redfield on

My Week//Workdays: 4AM to 11PM


Some days it takes a while to wake up as you may imagine. Others, I spring out of bed ready to go. On those mornings it’s nice to have a task to go to with all that energy. Reading the things I have written or am planning to write (notes or outlines) can help propel me into the next hour. A book I’m already reading or something non-fiction can be just as motivating. If I’m not recovering from being alive, I’ll be reading or writing or planning. This first hour is free time for those three things, and I almost always spend them alone. 


I start working on my current writing project. For February it was this blog, and I did ok. For March it’s:

  1. another work of fiction [officially BOOK 3] that needs to be about half written [I do NOT expect to finish it in March but may end up prepping it for April, which is Camp NaNoWriMo]  UPDATE: I’m definitely doing this one for Camp next month. My goal is FIFTY thousand words. I might be insane, but I have a lot of material already to work with. Very excited about it.
  2. my thesis which desperately needs to be completed.
  3. this and two other blogs [you’ll hear about them later].

That’s enough writing projects for me to pick one. I kinda like to alternate one month on just one project and the next month on multiple projects or whatever suits my fancy day to day. The NaNo Life works that way too. I hope that’s a future post…

At some point in this or the next hour I will usually talk to R on the phone.


My editing project for the moment. These go on as long as they need to rather than alternating months. I just finished the second round of edits on my FIRST NOVEL so beta readers could have it. Now I’m proceeding to the next novel [BOOK 2]as of March 1st. I’ll be editing it for a while. I’ve not yet determined how long I need to finish, but I’m planning to be done with first round of edits by the end of June. That’s about the time I’ll pick up FIRST NOVEL again for final edits.

I am trying to get done with as much as possible before April, because that’s a writing month with Camp Nanowrimo, and there’s no editing allowed in writing months (April, July, and November). This is also part of the NaNo Life I plan to write about in the future.


This is social time as well as exercise. I often get caught up on issues in the community, the weather report, and top news of the world all in addition to the physical and mental exercise. I am able to express myself and tell other people about my projects. It’s a place to complain and celebrate the daily little things. I love it.

ROUTINE @ 8:08

  • I FEEL GREAT TODAY 5 MIN [this is a declaration as well as a signal to  transition into work day stuff… so get coffee & notebooks etc. and head for the office//computer]
  • BE GRATEFUL 5 MIN [I rarely have bad days when I stop to acknowledge my gratitude]
  • CREATE A TIMELINE 5 MIN [plan the day]
  • MORNING PAGES TIL 9AM [quick writing I do about my work day and what I’d like to accomplish. could be my feelings about the work and/or a pep talk]


Doing the work I get paid to do.  Depending on the project or the job I’m doing,  it can take a while for me to get settled, then I can focus intensely for a while before I need a break. For reference, I used to be unable to sit still for even fifteen minutes, and now I can do a 25 minute task without breaking focus. That’s a huge leap for me. If I don’t already have a project to work on, I apply for new jobs during this time.

ROUTINE @ 11:11

  • POWER NAP TIL NOON [I also use this time to finish a cleaning job or work on a household project]
  • BREAK//NAP AT NOON [I don’t always sleep, but I do always stop working]


Somewhere in here I will eat for the first time. I’m planning a post on the Intermittent Fasting method in the future too.

 ROUTINE @ 15:15

  • YOGA//WALK 20 MIN [I try to get some kind of movement]


Alternately go back to work to finish early. Depends on the day and my needs. If I need the rest or skipped a noon nap, I might lie down for a while.



Finish. Plan the next day. Whatever needs to be done so I’m finished at 20:02

ROUTINE @ 20:02

  • LET GO 2 MIN 
  • GET INSPIRED 10 MIN [for tomorrow. plan tomorrow. or plan the writing project that’s coming down the list]
  • WRITE TIL 2100 [this is the other dedicated writing time to my current writing project]

EDIT AT 2100

This is the other dedicated editing time for the current project.


ROUTINE @ 22:22

  • READ 20 MIN
  • LIGHTS OUT AT 2300

I’ve got a nineteen hour day going here and I think I’m handling it. Some days are better than others, and not every day goes according to plan. It’s nice to have an outline of the kind of day I want to have so I can get back on track for days things don’t go according to plan.


I’m as stable as I’ve been in years, especially for the season we’re in. I’m doing all the right things and some of the wrong ones, but whatever I’m doing seems to be working. It’s worth a shot, if you’re life is feeling a little out of order, to exert some control over it.

I’ll be getting back to this routine next week. I’m still treating this as a staycation week as much as I can. I’d love to hear your comments or answer any questions you have.

Until then, try to enjoy your time at home, be honest about your feelings, and start creating a routine you love.

remind your life who’s boss.

xxx linsey

PACKING: A 4 Day Process

globe on shelf
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

I know some of you inwardly groaned at the title. Let me guess the reason:

  1. either you can’t stand the idea of packing for anything, ever

  2. or you think 4 days is way too long to prepare for any adventure.

Maybe both. Some of you can accomplish everything in this post in less time than it takes to read it. If you’re that person, not only do you not need my help, I don’t need help fixing my system. You have permission to stop reading. 

I hope you’re curious enough to stay.

I know one of you is at least AS paralyzed as I am by the thought, much less the activity, of packing for even the shortest trip. You may benefit from this.

Also my mom asked about it.

This just so happens to be the perfect time to write about my packing system because I am planning short term (2 days) and medium term (7 days) trips at the same time. I’m using the system for very different visits and the details are fresh in my mind. 

So now you’re wondering, why 4 days? Am I right?

fashion art camera office
Photo by OVAN on

Let me say first it doesn’t always take me 4 days. I’ve proven to myself I can do it quicker if I need to, but that’s because I have this system in place.

My system is really only 4 steps that can be completed in any amount of time you have.

As I said before, I used to be completely paralyzed by the packing process (it still makes me super anxious). It took hours or days for me to pack for even an overnight trip. I was horribly inefficient.

The problem was this: I couldn’t focus on the task itself (packing) without trying to do all kinds of other related but currently unnecessary jobs instead. Things like:

cleaning my house
waxing my eyebrows
re-organizing all my projects
doing. ALL. the laundry
painting my nails

Usually these things need to get done. Sometimes they need to get done before I leave. They do not need to get done while I am packing, especially not if it’s the day of or day before I’m supposed to leave. Giving myself at least four days cuts down on the distractions from packing, and I am also able to accomplish those other things on my mind before leaving.

Not to mention the fact of my exhaustion from all these extra tasks, anxiety about their various levels of completion, and supreme anxiety about all the things I was invariably forgetting or messing up because I couldn’t keep my mind on the task at hand. I was never sure about taking the right or enough or too many things. I would be sure I had forgotten something important and believe nothing could undo any kind of mistake I made.

See? Even after I’d done the dreaded packing part, my mind would not let it go and call it done. I would chide myself on taking so much time, doing so many unnecessary things, wasting my resources and energy. Pretty heavy stuff, huh?

So basically everything having to do with travel and packing had me an anxious mess of conflicting negative emotions instead of anticipation and excitement or ENJOYMENT of the trip itself. Plus I did usually forget something.

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage
Photo by VisionPic .net on

I devised this 4-part system that does two things for me:

  1. allows me to focus on only one part of the packing process at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed

  2. allows time to get all those other tasks on my mind taken care of

I’ve recently been reminded that anticipation or excitement and anxiety are really the same emotion. Our thoughts surrounding whatever it is influence how we feel. In other words, I can choose to replace my anxiety with anticipation for the fun I’m going to have and the people I’m going to see or meet. I can choose to keep myself calm about the packing process and direct my anxiety into energy.

Without further ado, here is my 4-part packing system:

PLANNING: (I’ve also called this PREPACKING in the past, so feel free to use that term) This is where I plan what to take, do any laundry I need to do, and plan my dogs’ care: I  make lists and send texts about the dogs and plan my finances.  This is the area that’s seen the most growth, if not improvement. Now I know it’s crucial to my mental health and anxiety level to know ahead of time what is going where and when. I may complete this step up to a week before I leave or longer if I need to plan a longer trip.

I dispensed with the term ‘prepacking’ because I put my PREPACKING list in my bullet journal.

That’s a fancy way of saying I have a list of things I take on every trip and a list of things I might need for this trip.

Here’s my list for EVERY TRIP:









I have a separate list for THIS TRIP:






PACKING 1: Now I have a general outline of what I want to take. If not, or it’s a short trip, the PLANNING happens at this stage. By this time I definitely know WHEN I’m going and WHERE, so I know what kind of weather to expect and what events I’m going to be attending. Ideally, I have a bunch of clean clothes and a list of anything special that’s going with me.  I can go ahead and pack the special outfits/accessories/shoes for those events, any swim or cold weather gear I might need for the climate, and workout/activity clothes. I should know how many outfits I need, including travel outfits, so I can pack the clean things and wash anything that’s not laundered. I can also pack the appropriate amount of underwear, any extra shoes, and my travel toiletries.

TRAVEL TOILETRIES is another area I’ve significantly improved. Basically I have an extra set of everything necessary (toothbrush, deodorant, bodywash, etc.) that I keep in a separate bag and use only for travel. Having the extra toiletries and bag has reduced the anxiety of packing, using, or forgetting these important items by 150% or more. All I have to pack is the toiletry bag, with modifications for flying.

PACKING 2: This is where I pack my reading books and work materials and anything else I don’t need before leaving. I take a reasonable amount of work I can expect to complete, then I usually take a little more as productivity encouragement. Depending on the length of the trip, I take an extra reading book in addition to the one I’m currently reading (which goes in last). Next is all the laundry items that weren’t clean before. If it’s the night before then I can usually pack my medicine and reading book

PACKING 3: This is all the necessaries in the bags, bags zipped, and everything ready to go. It’s bags in the car and things in the house settled. Like the dishwasher loaded and running or empty and the water turned off. Turning on the right lights and the gas off and the alarm on. All these things I have down to DEPARTURE.

That’s it. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. This system has made my life easier and travel more fun, and I’m happy for the opportunity to pass it along.

Happy trails.

woman in blue and brown bikini sitting on brown wooden folding chair on beach
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on


YOU BUJO? The Bullet Journal System and How I Use It.

What is a Bullet Journal?

an analog planner system. a work of art. a time capsule.


Any discussion of the bullet journal has to start with this guy and his method:

Frankly, I think that video is about as fascinating as watching paint dry, but you have to cover the basics first.

The Bullet Journal is a fast and flexible way to:
Track the Past.
Organize the Present.
Plan for the Future.

The Bullet Journal System Includes:
an Index
a Future Log
Monthly Logs
Daily Logs

You asked how I use mine, and the answer is something of a mix of methods.

Basics first.  Here’s why I choose to spend my time on a Bullet Journal:

  • it’s fun.
  • it’s handy
  • it’s a way to organize my life the way I need it organized.
  • it’s the opportunity to plan or create my life one day at a time
  • it’s one place I can keep all my appointments, to dos, and lists so I’m not forever hunting down where a thing is written. It’s all in one spot. at least that’s the goal.

Here’s a peek into my process…

My very first ‘bullet journal.’ It almost doesn’t count, but I’m embarrassed about it so I’m posting it first.

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed in the bullet journaling world, especially if you’re a creative. If you Google or Pinterest Bullet Journal or BUJO, you will see all kinds of amazing art coming out of these journals and their creators.

I fell prey to this overload when I first started trying to craft the perfect bullet journal. You may have noticed some things about it: First, it’s way too big to be practical and it’s completely unused.  Those things are not unrelated. Not all the spreads are blank, it’s true, but the majority are. Second, and what you can’t see: all the time it took to set up these spreads exhausted me too much to use them. I was constantly ‘behind’ with very little motivation to ‘catch up.’ I ended up with a book full of pretty spreads that never got used.

Let’s look at my second go. It went a lot better.

My first REAL BUJO! As in it says so on the front. It’s official.

Just as there are creatives, there are purists and/or minimalists who only use their journals for productivity and planning. They dispense with the doodles and decorations and only use the bullet point system.

This is a spread from my birthday week several years ago and you can see it’s pretty straightforward. It’s not even colorful. For reference, this is not me trying to do the BUJO system ‘right.’ I never tried that because I recognized from the beginning its limitations for me. These are examples of how I used the BUJO as I was working out systems that serve me.

Fast forward a year or two and you get this one:

3rd BUJO

Same but different. Not a lot of detail or consistency, but it is color coded and has tasks and migration. You can see in both examples how I was moving into weekly spreads instead of daily logs. Like many people, I prefer the weekly log to a monthly and daily, though I definitely have the monthly task list and I’m now considering moving daily pages into my BUJO.

Fast forward another year or two…and a lot of time dedicated to how I wanted to spend my time money and effort…and we get the current process [let me know if you’d like to see more of these pages]:

Birthday Week again…2020!

This week when I set up my BUJO I really paid attention to what I do. here’s what I learned:

  • I need to know the day of the week and the date. Example: Tuesday, February 25th. Or I am lost.
  • It needs to be pretty. Pretty means color coordinated. and Stickers. I’m not a doodler or hand letterer. I like themes but also don’t like to spend a lot of time decorating any one thing.
  • It needs to be colorful. Colorful often means pink
  • Otherwise, it needs to be largely blank. Every week is different and I never know how much space a given day will take up. I use post its for overages.

This is as far as I’ve come and I’m proud to be where I am. This spread also looks perfect and unused…because it’s this week (and it’s not blank anymore). I’ve actually found enough of a system to be able to plan ahead!

I had fun coordinating and putting together the month. Future me is already thankful for all the hard work I put in. On the other hand, it took me maybe one whole morning to put the month together, so I’m not spending gobs of time on the thing either. I’ve found a good mix, but I’m not done learning about the process…

I’m still a keeper of several notebooks. I have not yet found a way for the bullet journal to satisfy all my needs. I am working on it and I still have hope.


  • I think I will always keep a personal journal for, you know, journaling.
  • I think I will always keep a larger monthly calendar that I can lay out and see every day [though I do keep a monthly version in my bullet journal].
  • I’m still trying to decide if I need a daily book or if my weekly spreads are enough.
  • I’m still a planner-holic and journal junkie, but I spend far less money on those things now that I have a system that works for me. At least a system that’s working toward a system.

I’m by no means an expert Bullet Journaler, but I have picked up several tips over the years and don’t mind passing along conventional wisdom.

  • start today: yes, today…
  • with what you have: all you need is a pen and a blank book. You can acquire all the fancy stuff after you know how you work and how you actually use your BUJO.
  • have fun: I found a bunch of free printables online and made my own stickers using mailing labels. That’s probably not a lot of fun for everyone, but maybe you’re a doodler….or maybe like me you like color coding things. Find a way to make it fun and you’ll use it. If it’s just another task, you’re not getting good use out of it.

And here are some things I’ve learned along the way that I can again say are pretty universal:

  • it takes time to get your groove: if you already knew what works for you, you’d be doing it already. I’m on my fourth bullet journal and still only have the vaguest idea of what I’m doing with it.
  • if you wait to start you never will: it’s true. you have to start with what you have in the middle of your life. If you wait for the beginning of the year or even the beginning of the week you’ll lose momentum and the fun of starting.
  • don’t try to get it perfect: in fact, maybe you should practice first like I did. Grab that pen and notebook that you have and start putting down pages you want to have. Then when you don’t like what you’ve done you can correct your mistakes when you move to the big journal.  Go on a YouTube binge and write down all the things you do and don’t want to include. It’s fun. However, I also encourage you to  embrace imperfection as part of bullet journaling and roll with whatever you get going.
My ‘practice’ bujo

So there’s the progression. From wanting perfection to being happy with my pretty imperfection

It’s still very important to me to put my hands on things. It’s one of the ways I learn. If you’re like me and you need to handle a thing to truly understand it, bullet journaling might just be for you. I’d also recommend this system for:

  • anyone with a daily to do list
  • anyone who needs to jot things down to remember them
  • anyone who has too many journals and planners and not enough to fill them

person writing on brown printer paper

Photo by cottonbro on

This was fun. Let me know what other questions you have or anything else you’d like to see regarding my process or style. I’d love to share it. Thanks for your interest.

March Goals:

hahhahahaha you thought I was going to say a post every day, didn’t you?

well, I’m not even close to trying that again. This month I’m going for the reasonable number of:


Professional Style Blog Posts

5 is Bonus Round. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know what Bonus Round is yet.

You readers keep me going and I’ve already got my topics, thank you very much. You should all be seeing something written especially for you in the near future.


Until then…


This is how the last February post made me feel…even though I didn’t come close to hitting my goal…

it should really get you going on a Monday morning















with a little help from my friends

IMG_5550I want to introduce you to a couple of other people who make a huge difference in my life. I thought long and hard on how to do this because I want to protect people’s privacy but they are part of my life and I want to talk about them. Selfish? Maybe.

The things people say to me and the interactions I have with them are part of my story, so I have the right to tell it. I have experience with being outed on the internet before I was ready, so I never want to do that to anyone else. My solution: composites.

It’s also a way to show the many different voices in my head who influence what I do and who I am. It’s shown me that I can categorize those people which is both handy and makes me wonder if i should broaden my horizons.

J   Boyfriends past and present. The Voice of Reason. Men whose opinions I respect.

M  Besties.Women who legitimately care about my well being.

R  My better half. My partner. People I trust. My sisters.

A  Counsellor, relative, neighbor, or friend.

Zed. Everyone else.

This is just a fun post. I’m still working on those serious business ones. Let me know what else y’all would like to hear about.

Takin care of business:

It’s time I did some actual work on this thing. I need portfolio pieces that show I can write a blog post. I’ve gotten requests for a couple of topics but thought I would throw open the arena. If you have an idea or like one of the ones below, let me know!


Bullet Journaling

Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping


Rescue Mom(ing)

Types of hairbrushes and their uses

What do you want to know about? What do you like to hear me talk about? In what areas do you think I’m an expert?

Make your own suggestion in the comments.


Remember that cheesy high school saying? “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!”

I hated that. You were shooting for the f*cking moon. That’s called failure.

As an adult, I can see the beauty of the image, anyway.  Maybe I just understand better that failure is not the end. Even if I think the phrase is a little corny, I also think it makes a good point. The view from the stars ain’t that much different from the moon view. Plus, you’re a lot closer to try again. Plus, you left the earth, which is where you were stuck.
All good things.

All to say, I’m not afraid of adjusting my goals in light of new information. Or added work load.  We may not have 29 posts in February, but we’ll have a lot more than we had in January. Part of this challenge has always been forcing myself to publish in spite of the fact that I don’t want to or don’t have anything to say.  I’m tempted to give up, but I’m still learning what does and does not work for me. Or you.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

There’s a difference between posting every day and writing content every day. I don’t even do the latter. Not even with a challenge underway. This is actually one of those things I already knew about myself and am kicking myself for not remembering. I do this every NaNoWriMo…plan to write every day and then just. not. do it…

Weekends happen. Especially now that I have more responsibility.

It’s ok to adjust a goal or reset an intention, even partway through the project. Sometimes that’s the best thing to do.

Now that I’ve set the intention, and changed it, let’s get down to business…

The W Doctrines

(No, not the former president)



In order to grow we have to let things go. Shed some skin. That’s part of the journey, and I’ve learned it’s ok to honor or grieve those times that are here no more.

This Valentine’s Day I’m letting go of an old love that doesn’t serve me anymore, if it ever did. I’ve run the whole gamut of emotions with this one, but I’d say ‘sad resignation’ is a good generalization. Hence the song.

It’s taken a while, but now I hear the triumphant note in its heavy beauty. If you listen for it, you will hear strength and purpose and the knowledge that I deserve better. All those things make me happy.

It also pleases me that W would hate everything about this.

Say something; I’m giving up on you.

I waited and waited for the smallest sign. I didn’t get it. When you swooped in out of nowhere it never occurred to me that you meant it as the grand gesture I so desperately wanted. Or so you thought.

And what did you want? Well of course that but what else. Did I even ask myself? I remember sitting in the Krystal parking lot deciding to ruin my life over you again. Again.
Thinking what? I wonder. We’ll never know.

Expecting change? I doubt it because I was warier. Wiser, I thought. Wrongly.
Waiting for what exactly, when everything was exactly as I expected?

Anywhere, I would have followed you

And. Did.

Except Alaska.

It never occurred to me that might be a deal breaker. I never thought it could be temporary. Never thought about the upside. Never thought you might have followed me back. Until it was all I could think about.

Say something…

I told you not to.

I told you what I would do if you tried, and I did what I said.
I also knew you couldn’t resist. One, last grand gesture? Certainly got my attention.
I certainly got yours.
It only now occurs to me that we were always hit and miss like this. You, bafflingly, always thinking I meant the opposite of what I said.
So if you ever happen across this…

I really wouldn’t.

…I’m giving up on you

I’m afraid this is no longer relevant. I gave up on you a long time ago. It took me longer to give you up. ‘Giving’ up implies I’m still doing it. I guess that’s what this is about. I’ve burned stuff and purged every way but this one.

Just flay open my soul on paper. NBD.

You’re the one that I love, and I’m saying goodbye.



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