2023: Making a Start

Happy New Year!

Moving into 2023,  as a stationery nerd, I use Dead Week and the first few weeks of the new year to start fresh with new planners, new journals and new plans for the coming year.

The last few years have been a challenge for everyone. Family losses, illness, job changes and all the other struggles that have plagued the world over the last few years made it hard to keep positive.

I’m not the only one feeling this, am I?

Some people make resolutions but I prefer to make plans–things I’d like to accomplish in the coming year — both big and small. Travel plans and financial goals on the “big” end and things like repotting plants, clearing out the basement and reading 50 books are just a few of my “little” plans. This ritual, for me, helps to spur positivity, optimism and even action.

Plans and Goals

I use GoodReads to track my reading challenge goals and have done this challenge for over a decade now. I have a stack of books on my nightstand that I collected last year that will be where I start with my reading challenge.

Knitters often use January and February to assess their yarn stash and projects for the coming year. One knitter refers to this as the “annual airing of the stash” and Laura and I often participate in a February “Fix it, Finish it or Frog it” challenge which I think we made up.

Many people try to choose a word for the year — something that embodies their commitment or inspiration for the year. Goalchaser features a list of over 100 possible words you might consider choosing as your “word of the year”.  I am working to choose my word of the year this week. I want the word to embody a trait I want to have more abundantly in my life so I am weighing my options at the moment. What word would you pick as your “word of the year”?

Cleaning up

While many of us, myself included, like to take the new year to consider paring down, clearing clutter or cleaning, we often think of our homes, closets and collections specifically. The start of the new year is a good time for a digital declutter as well. I like to consider what apps I can remove from my phone, ipad and computer that I no longer use. I back up photos and other files to an external hard drive. I take some time to delete endless screenshots and other random photos from my photo library. I don’t need to archive those photos of price tags I took at the store to text to Bob (“Is this the one you wanted?”).

I also go through any subscriptions I have and consider if I’ve been using them. These are mostly digital subscriptions but they can add up. Newspapers, streaming services, podcasts, substacks, patreon projects, etc — can all be up for consideration.

While on the topic of podcasts, this is also a good time to consider refreshing your podcast collection. Are there podcasts you’ve been skipping for months? Time to prune them from the collection and maybe add some new podcasts that might align with goals for the new year. Or maybe just mix it up? Here are some recommendations from Avery Trufelman of Articles of Interest. The top of the post includes links to “best podcasts” lists which are also a great source for new content.

The Tools

Since switching to a bullet journal/undated planner set-up, I don’t need to start or switch to a new planner at the start of the year. I just turn the page.

I do think I will start a new sketchbook for 2023. I want to make more time to sketch and draw and having a place specifically set aside for this will be a nice “fresh start” for me. I am testing a couple B6 sketchbooks as possibilities but there are not a lot in my favorite size so I may need to switch to an A5 to find the right paper for the way that I want to work.

I have really streamlined the pens I use on a regular basis and it’s making it clear that I could pare down my collection this year. I have paired certain pens with certain notebooks and that has made the process of choosing a tool when I need to work much easier. I also took several bottles of ink to work so that I can easily refill pens.

I have also taken some time to sort through gel pens, markers and other writing tools and clear out some of the clogged/dried out ones and make a pile of the ones I just don’t use to donate to a charity.

Setting Aside Time

More than anything, I think making and sticking to resolutions or plans or whatever you call them, requires making time to do the tings you want to do. I realize this can often be easier said than accomplished. Work, family and life can often take up our time but there are other things that can sap our time like social media, consuming media like tv or YouTube that we might want to consider taking back for other projects.

Starting in 2023, I will be allowed to work from home on Mondays and Fridays which means I gain an hour of time on these days I would normally use for commuting. What do I plan to do with that time? I am not sure yet. Maybe Mondays will be dedicated to getting a longer workout in and Fridays will be for an hour of drawing time?

Are there other activities stealing our time? How will you make time in the new year for what you really want to do?

In May of 2022 three kittens easily fit into this basket.
By November, even one cat didn’t quite fit. Pepper looks like he melted.

May 2023 be full of the things and people you love with enough time to enjoy them!

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