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Word of the Year – New Year’s Resolutions Differently

Every year people around the world tend to set New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of the year.  Unfortunately, most people fail to see any headway on these resolutions, whether it is the desire to lose weight or become more organized or whatever.  I am definitely one of those people who discovered that New Year’s Resolutions just don’t work for me.  Instead, I believe in choosing a word of the year to help guide me.  This word helps me to set and focus the various goals that I desire to accomplish.  For 2018, my word of the year is going to be Intentional.

Word of the Year

If you haven’t ever heard about this way of setting yourself up for success for the new year, I would recommend you check out Ali Edward’s One Little Word.  I first learned about the idea of choosing a guiding word for the year from her.  I have been doing it for about 6 years now.  In the past, I’ve chosen words such as Create, Explore, Action, Focus, and Flow.  Each year these words help to guide my business and my creativity.  Additionally, they also effect and influence other parts of my life.

Examples of Past Word of the Year Choices

For example, I chose Create many years ago when I was feeling stifled and frustrated.  I filled 5 art journals that year.  I created quite a bit of artwork.  However, I also created new relationships and friendships, started a new job, and created the foundation for this awesome business here at Adria Black Art – even if I didn’t know it then!

Another year, I chose the word Flow.  This was the year of dealing with a new baby.  I spent this year figuring out how I could still create my artwork with Atizle needing almost constant attention when I was not working at my day job.
Intentional is my word of the year for 2018. I created this ransom letter style art piece using my word of the year. Artwork created by Adria Black Art.
Intentional is my word of the year for 2018. I created this ransom letter style art piece using my word of the year. Artwork created by Adria Black Art.

Intentional in my Business

This year, I have chosen the word Intentional.  I am often distracted by what I call the “Ooooo, shiny” syndrome.  I get distracted and run around on rabbit trails on the occasion.  Or I may see a squirrel.  If any of you feel this same way at times, you know exactly what I mean!

This year, I want to be more Intentional about how I am using my time, primarily in regards to my art business.  Especially, since Atizle is in regular preschool, and I have several hours every day to devote to working and creating.  Also, I seek to be more Intentional with the artwork I am making, including the reasons behind that artwork.  I love creating art for art’s sake.  However, I also want to be thinking about the final presentation of my artwork. Is it a pattern for new Society 6 products or a stand-alone print?  By keeping these presentation factors in mind, I will stop wasting so much time going back and forth.  Additionally, I need to be more Intentional with developing systems and standards to guide my business.

How I think Intentional will Effect my Personal Life

Obviously, I don’t always know what effect my word of the year will have on my personal life.  However, I seek to be more Intentional with my work hours, so that I’m not working ALL THE TIME.  I’ve decided for this year that I will try to stop work hours around 4 p.m. each day, so that I can properly spend time with my family.  Instead of the usual, mmhmm, sure type responses that I know they currently receive, because I’m distracted trying to finish something work-related.

So I’m aiming to be more Intentional this year, instead of relying solely on New Year’s Resolutions to make me achieve a certain set goal.  In a way, claiming a word of the year is like agreeing to a habit.  The habit of being more Intentional with my time, my limited resources, and my relationships.  What do you think about New Year’s Resolutions?  Do they work for you?  Have you ever tried using a Word of the Year?  I’d love to hear all of your thoughts in the comments below!
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March 2017 – Bullet Journal Setup

`My March 2017 Bullet Journal Planner Setup by Adria Black Art


Hello lovelies!  Today I have a behind-the-scenes look at the planner that helps me to stay focused on what needs done and that helps me to accomplish all of my goals (personal and professional!).  It has been about 6 months since I have actively used my bullet journal and I cannot tell you how much I have missed it!!


A look at my Monthly Spread in my bullet journal - from Adria Black Art
A look at my Monthly Spread in my bullet journal. Appointments are on the left page and tasks on the right page.

Back to Basics

For March, I decided to head back to basics in my bullet journal setup.  When I was last using it, I had gotten to the point that it took about 30 pages to just set up for the month and it was rather overwhelming!  So I decided to keep it simple for this month and see what things I actually need to add-on that will get used.  I also switched it up by going back to the monthly view as suggested by Ryder Carroll of who originally came up with this fabulous idea, instead of the monthly calendar view that I was using previously for memory keeping.  This way all of my appointments for the month have their own area, and I can figure out what I have going on with a quick glance.

I also included a February Check-in page so that I can review what I actually accomplished last month and cheer myself on for those achievements.  Some of the things I included on this page were goals that were achieved, social media stats, and blog stats so I can see these things grow in the months to come.


Boho Berry Inspired Sections

I was greatly inspired by Boho Berry this month as I tried to do a simplified bullet journal setup.  So I replaced my monthly calendar for memory keeping with the gratitude page so I can doodle highlights from the day that I’m thankful for.


My Gratitude page of doodles so far for the month of March (2017) in my bullet journal planner. From Adria Black Art
My Gratitude page of doodles so far for the month of March (2017) in my bullet journal planner.


Also, I loved her weekly view on two pages, so I set up my weekly the same way.  I will be tweaking this in the future, but it gave me a great starting point for figuring out exactly what I needed out of my weekly spreads.  In the past, I have struggled with weekly spreads, because I need them to help me break down my monthly goals, but then I forget about them and don’t use them.  However, with Boho Berry’s layout, I am using the weekly spread to help me figure out the things that need done each day and keeping track of some daily tasks in the weekly format (like posting on Facebook and Instagram).  So it’s been working out really great so far.


My March 2017 Weekly Spread was inspired by Boho Berry. Bullet journal from Adria Black Art
My March 2017 Weekly Spread was inspired by Boho Berry.

Adding Some Color

Another thing I changed up for this month’s setup was I wanted to have some COLOR.  I get really bored with just the black and white color scheme in the bullet journal.  So I pulled out some colored pencils and have incorporated color into my daily pages!  I also borrowed the time tracker from Boho Berry, because I loved the compact design.  Previously my time tracker for the day went across the page and I hated drawing it out each day for some reason.  But I love this design and I’m always excited to do it each evening.


An example of my daily pages in my bullet journal that I use as my planner. Bullet journal from Adria Black Art
An example of my daily pages in my bullet journal that I use as my planner.
I also made a video flip through so you can see all the pages so far for this month.  So that’s my March 2017 Bullet Journal setup.  I will check back in and show you all how it’s working out for me when I do my April setup.



Let me know in the comments below what you think of this month’s setup and any other bullet journaling concerns or questions you may have!
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3 Ways for Using Underutilized Monthly Pages in Your Planner

April Bullet Journal

This post originally appeared on The Hippie Art Studio in 2016.

One of my favorite parts of my bullet journal is my monthly spreads.  You can do so many different things with the monthly spread in your planner from documenting memories to creating a collection of doodles or even printing small photos to fit into the squares of each day

Document Your Days in Less than 5 Minutes

I use my monthly spreads to track any highlights, milestones, or special memories that happen throughout the month.  These small little notes help me to journal for my Project Life spreads or everyday snippets to my regular scrapbooking layouts.  You could create mini albums or even incorporate these notes into your art journal pages!  These monthly spreads are the juiciest part of my bullet journal for other people.  Basically – this spread in my bullet journal can give you a glimpse into our lives for that month.  In the video below, I show you a peek into how my completed monthly spread for March looks, as well as my bullet journal setup for April.

Add Creativity into Your Day

I’ve always been a fan of grid based art journaling.  When you deconstruct your page into a grid, it gives you multiple tiny little boxes that you can treat as small pieces of art.  A popular trend that I see on Instagram a lot is to doodle inside each day of the monthly spread for various Instagram challenges.  You can easily create a collection of your own personal doodles through this method in small amounts of time.  It’s also a great way to try new techniques or mediums without “wasting” expensive materials and paper. Below is a page from an old art journal that I used this same technique with to document my memories and play with some new art supplies.

Art Journal Calendar page to document memories - The Hippie Art Studio

Capture Quotes and Inspiration

Another way to fill in those blank boxes of your monthly spread would be some handlettering inside each box.  This is a great way to catalog your favorite quotes or the random quotes you find on Pinterest throughout the month.  Or you could just practice lettering each individual letter of the alphabet!  There are a ton of different options for these monthly spreads if you feel like you are not getting the bang that you desire out of these pages.

As someone who doesn’t have a lot of appointments that I need to keep track of, I love finding creative ways to add a bit of play and memory-keeping to my life.  If you have any other tips and tricks for being creative with your monthly spreads in your planner, I’d love to hear about them – so leave a comment down below!

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Bullet Journal March 2016 Setup

March Bullet Journal Planner Setup

This post originally appeared on The Hippie Art Studio in 2016.

Welcome to another installment of my bullet journal series. Today, I’ve got a peek inside my current bullet journal setup for you. A vital part of my bullet journal process is using brain dumps to empty my brain. I never realized just how true the idea of “Mommy Brain” actually was until I had my daughter. Since her birth, I literally cannot remember anything for more than a couple of minutes, which is not nearly long enough to complete any sort of action. I spend the majority of my time trying to remember what I doing. That’s where Brain Dumps come into play.

What is a Brain Dump?

A brain dump is simply writing down everything in your head.  It allows you to write down every single task, event, idea, or to-do that you can possibly think of.  Once you get these things written down, you can then process your brain dump into lists and take actions to start getting things done.  A very handy tool when you are just starting to do brain dumps is the GTD Trigger List.  I don’t use the GTD Trigger List very often anymore, but it was definitely a benefit when I first started doing my brain dump sessions.

Basically a brain dump is a way of processing your to-do list through free writing and free association.  Some people do a big brain dump weekly, while others use this technique daily.  I often use brain dumps to figure out my priorities for the week and ways that  I can batch tasks together.  For example, if I need to create 3 video previews for the week, I know that I need to schedule an hour or two to complete those tasks all at once.  I also batch writing tasks, errands, photo shoots, and video editing and voice-overs.  Doing a brain dump helps me to process all of my to-do’s into real action and progress.

Making Brain Dumps Part of Your Routine

Brain dumps are part of my Monday planning routine, although I continue to use rapid logging throughout the week to do mini brain dumps each day.  The brain dump that I do on Monday pretty much sets the tone for my week.  I will also migrate any open tasks from the prior week (or weeks if I haven’t done it already).  This allows me to see what things I may have rescheduled due to life (and kids…).

Scheduling Based on Location

Once I’ve done my brain dump, I break tasks into location where these tasks completed at.  For example, I may need to do one task – laundry – at home, while another task is easily done in the car while I’m waiting on my step-daughter.  This helps me to accomplish my to-do’s, because I spend 12 hours a week at the office, 10 hours a week in the car, and I only have a couple of hours a day at home before family time starts in the evenings.  One of the reasons that I try to take advantage of each location is to make the most of any free time that occurs.  For example, I spend about 10 hours a week in the car for my step-daughter, waiting for her to finish her classes and activities.  So I like to make use of this time to work on certain projects such as planning, writing, and some lettering exercises that require few tools and materials.

Scheduling Based on Kids and Distractions

Another benefit to brain dumps is that I can take note of things I need to do when my 2-year-old daughter isn’t around (or is napping) and things I can do when she’s active (and wanting my attention).  I only have a couple of hours each day that I can work on tasks while she’s preoccupied so I have to make the most of this time.  Most of the time when she’s napping, I’m filming videos for YouTube or editing videos or working on making art, and then I schedule the other related tasks my underutilized free-time when I’m waiting in the car.

March Bullet Journal - Monthly Goals Page
A peek at my monthly goals page for March. I played around with fun lettering and border, and also included a mix of personal and business goals! All of these goals came from various Brain Dumps, which turned into a collection of Monthly Goals.

Brain Dumps for Idea Generation

Brain dumps also allow ideas to marinate over time for me.  A note can turn into a collection that sparks a whole series, blog posts, videos, or even art projects. That random thought that keeps popping up, but you keep forgetting or putting off gets captured on paper.  This act alone can often encourage you to finish it off so it quits nagging at you.

I’d love to know what your thoughts are on brain dumps.  Do you like to do them?  Are brain dumps part of your regular planning routine?

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Bullet Journal 2016 February Setup

February Bullet Journal Setup by Adria Black Art

This post originally appeared on The Hippie Art Studio in 2016.

I’ve been using a bullet journal for several years on and off.  This year, since my Word of the Year is Focus – I want to really work on daily plans so that I can focus on getting at least my top three goals completed each day.  Last month, I did okay at daily planning, but I’m hoping by simplifying some part of my process that I will do even better this month!

February Bullet Journal Workspace
A peek into my art studio and where I spend my planning time throughout the day.

Why I Plan

Let’s take just a minute and discuss planning.  There is magic in the act of putting your intentions down on paper.  Somehow things just seem to happen once you write them down.  This applies not only to your big dreams and goals, but also to your daily tasks!  That is why I’m working on making daily planning part of my routine.  I’m a very busy Momma to a lovely 2 year old, and planning helps me to remember life’s little moments (through my monthly calendar and daily notes), while also letting me get stuff done so I can actually focus on my daughter.

February Bullet Journal Why I Plan
I take the time to plan so that I have more time for this little monster child!

When I don’t write stuff down, it all builds up in my head until my head feels like it’s going to explode.  I will get more frequent and downright horrid migraines if I don’t get that crap out of my head.  That’s one reason that I love brain dumps as part of my daily planning sessions.  It gets all that junk that is bouncing around in there out of my head and onto paper so I can actually start crossing it off!

Another reason I plan is that it actually helps to increase my focus.  The act of planning helps me figure out what my top priorities for the day are, and planning helps me to break those priorities into action steps so that I can actually get them done without feeling overwhelmed!  Now, let’s take a peek at how January worked out for me in my bullet journal and what February is starting to look like.

Changes, Experiments, and Lessons Learned.

In January, I experimented with the addition of a weekly layout as a way to track the tasks that I accomplished each day.  These tasks were my “Big 3” tasks and goals that I decided were my priority for each day.  While I did love being able to review all the these I accomplished at the end of the week that moved me forward in my bigger goals, I found that by adding this extra step to my planning process resulted in me simply not filling them out.  Plus, my daughter was sick for the last two weeks in January, which probably didn’t help with using these weekly layouts.  Therefore, I decided for February to just nix them and move back to using strictly my daily pages for planning.

February Bullet Journal Changes
Some of the changes that I have made in my bullet journal for this month: nixing weekly layouts and dumping almost everything into daily pages again.

Another thing that I’m switching up for February is playing around with having an editorial calendar spread so that I can have easier access to the content that I am creating for my blog, YouTube, and other social media outlets (like Twitter and Instagram).  I created a spread that divides each page into two quadrants that gives me enough lines for two weeks on each page.  I also divided these weeks into four separate sections, one for each of the social media areas that I’m focusing on creating content for (Blog, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter).  I made sure that each week had 7 lines, so that I have each day of the week represented and can make notes on what content I’ve created for each platform on that day.  So far, I really like seeing everything altogether in this fashion, but this spread may need additional tweaking for next month.  We will see how it works out!

Finally, I’ve decided to allow myself some leeway with color coding, at least until I can find my highlighters that are currently MIA.  Last month, I did pretty good about coloring for about half the month and then it completely dropped off (I’ll continue to blame my daughter being sick, despite the fact that it just added another step that put me off this whole planning process).  Instead, I’m going to outline the boxes in black pen this month for my monthly tracker and daily time tracker (with written notes on what I was doing), and then color code it later – probably at the end of the month because that’s how I am.

That’s pretty much my setup so far for 2016.  I’m sure it will continue to evolve and change – that’s one of my favorite parts of the Bullet Journal system, it can work for you however you need it to!

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Bullet Journal 2016 January Setup

January 2016 Planner Setup

This post originally appeared on The Hippie Art Studio in 2016.

I’ve been using a bullet journal for several years on and off.  This year, since my Word of the Year is Focus – I want to really work on daily plans so that I can focus on getting at least my top three goals completed each day.  With this in mind, I did an entire Bullet Journal setup for 2016.  I’ve pulled my notes from the last several months into various collections to help organize my daily notes and lists.  I took a lot of inspiration from Tiny Ray of Sunshine and Boho Berry in designing my layouts for my bullet journal spreads.

January Daily Planner Pages
January 2016 daily planning pages in my bullet journal

Daily Pages

I always have long running lists of everything i need to do and then I rarely get my whole list done and end up migrating it and migrating it and migrating it until it is no longer relevant.  So for this year I decided to include a monthly spread that I can make memory keeping notes on and also a place for special quotes and phrases I want to remember.  Then I have a weekly two page spread for the things I have accomplished each day.  My daily pages are then able to be my running list and brain dumps.  I’m also incorporating a time tracker onto my daily pages so that I can see exactly how I am spending my time (and where I’m wasting my time!).

I’ve also started a color coding system so that I see certain categories quickly.  I’m using these colors

  • Blue – Administration tasks, Routine tasks
  • Green – Financial stuff or money related
  • Yellow – Important stuff I cannot forget
  • Pink – YouTube and Blog stuff
  • Orange – Other forms of social media
  • Purple – personal stuff
January Bullet Journal Collection Pages
Here you can see two of the different collection pages that I use in my bullet journal. I created one collection for all of my Administrative Tasks for the month. The second page is for an Instagram challenge that I had decided to take part in for the month.

Collection Pages

I created a variety of new collection pages for the New Year so that I can be a little bit more organized in my notetaking.  I’ve created a spread for forward planning for my YouTube channel and my blog posts, as well as my admin tasks for the website.  I also have a page for each of the Instagram challenges that I’m trying to take part in for the month.


I also created a tracker, which I’ve used before in my bullet journals but I haven’t incorporated it for quite a while.  I broke up my categories into personal, blog/social media, and financial things that I want to track.  My personal goals are to write 1000 words each day, to work on my Create Fearlessly Project daily, and to clean and declutter for 15 minutes a day.

Video Flip

I also filmed a complete video flip through of my January 2016 Bullet Journal setup. You can definitely see the ways that Boho Berry and Tiny Ray of Sunshine have inspired my use of my bullet journal this year!

That’s pretty much my setup so far for 2016.  I’m sure it will continue to evolve and change – that’s one of my favorite parts of the Bullet Journal system, it can work for you however you need it to!