April 14, 2020

A Few Things I’m Grateful For Today

gratitude for the small things is one of our most important strategies for weathering this situation.

This essay is Day 8 of The 100 Day Project, where I’m creating #100daysofartandessays based on the Word of the Day.

Word of the Day (April 14, 2020)

[ ahy-doh-nee-uhs ] adjective

  • appropriate; fit; suitable; apt.

Today’s word stumped me. What do I create that’s… appropriate… for what exactly? I started thinking about the day, if there was any one thing that happened that was interesting or fitting for a 100 Day Project.

Every night, after a quick documentation of the day in my bullet journal, I write 3 things I’m thankful for. I’ve done this almost as long as I’ve been bullet journaling. I don’t know if it’s made me more grateful or if things are so monotonous I couldn’t help but notice. We can’t leave our homes, but we have to do everything we did before. It’s weird.

4 gratitude list items came to mind throughout the day, and I want to share them. It’s important to take note of the little things while we’re living through this weirdness, so here’s some inspiration.

1) AirDrop

AirDrop iconDo you know about this? Is there an equivalent for Android/PC users? Because if there’s isn’t… I’m so sorry.

AirDrop is a WiFi file sharing feature built into every iPhone and Mac. Once I’ve finished a piece of artwork for The 100 Day Project, I’ll take a clean, white background photo on my iPhone. I need to edit that photo in Photoshop, so I’ll Airdrop it to my laptop. It’s instantaneous.

I use this feature all the time, but especially for this project.

2) This Floating Bookshelf

floating-bookshelfI installed this floating bookshelf in my studio today and I’m so stoked about it. When I sit sink in the massive beanbag in my studio, I have to forcibly remove my 18 lb. cat, Jasper, who immediately returns to my lap. He’s often joined by one (or both) of our other two cats. I can’t move (or I don’t want to).

This beanbag is where I park every morning to bullet journal, read and meditate. I need to reach several books, so I put them within reach, awkwardly on the floor. They end up between the beanbag and the wall. If I hit max cat capacity, sometimes I still can’t reach them. And my coffee/tea gets cold because it’s 6 ft away on my desk.

To solve this problem I bought these floating shelves off Amazon for my bullet journal and the few books I read here. Once I’d mounted the shelf, I realized I could make a sleeve to attach my Staedtler pens underneath, so I can easily access them when running through my habit tracker at the end of every day.

It’s hard to explain how excited I am about this. Organization is one of the most happiness-inducing things I think you can do, and this is a game changer. I’m here every morning and every night. I’m writing this sitting here now! I don’t have books on the floor. My pens won’t constantly be knocked out of the container. Bookshelves are awesome! But wait, there’s more…

3) Miir Camp Cup

miir camp cup whiteI just bought myself one of these, because I have a thing for hot drinks. I also have a thing for consuming hot drinks so slowly I have to reheat the same 4 ounces 5 times.

Yes, I have one of those mug hot pad burners on my desk. It sucks for two reason:

  1. It’s old and doesn’t work that great, if it ever did. When I say I like hot drinks, I mean I like my drinks nuclear hot. It can’t maintain a temp as high as I want.
  2. As mentioned above, it’s on my desk, so I can’t reach it from the beanbag because:
    a. It’s too far away.
    b. I’m covered in cats.

This mug has a lid that seals tight. Meaning I can set it on the stack of books on that new floating bookshelf. Or even on the shelf behind me. My justified paranoia about the cat or the kid spilling it everywhere is now moot.

As a designer, Miir lives up to my product standards. They’re beautiful, feel amazing in hand, and it keeps my afternoon tea hot for hours. They’re a socially conscious company that supports trackable giving projects with every purchase, which is amazing.

As a minimalist, I prefer to own a few quality products that are well made and a delight to use. I’m less than a week in, and I wish I would have bought this mug years ago.

4) Bear Note-taking App

bear app iconThere are 2 apps I can’t live without. One is 1Password. The other is a note-taking app. I’ve been an Evernote user for probably 10 years at this point, and I can’t imagine life without it.

However. Evernote has not kept up with the times. They have seriously dumbed down the features on the free plan over the years. Why not just pay for it? Because they made the paid plan stupid expensive for what it is, while not innovating or doing anything to make it worth that sum of money (7.99/month for Basic). I feel like they’re riding the wave of being the big name, one of the first in note-taking apps. Times have changed, my friends.

I’ve been eyeing Bear for a long time, and I finally took the plunge today. I signed up for a Pro account (a measly $15/year). I exported all my personal notes from Evernote and imported into Bear. It was crazy easy and the interface is beautiful. I won’t go into the things I love about Bear right now, because I plan to write a post contrasting the two and why I switched.

I’ll still use Evernote for work documentation. It’s easy to share/collaborate, as it’s a bit more work-focused. I’m effectively splitting my work and personal note-taking systems.

5) Chocolove Salted Almond Butter

I know, I originally said I noticed 4 things. But I dislike even numbers and what’s a gratitude list without chocolate?

For real though, I’m thankful for these every day. It’s my single guilty pleasure square a day. Maybe 2 if it’s been a particularly frustrating day. I normally prefer darker chocolate, but something about how they make this 55%… It’s perfection.

That’s all I’ve got. I highly recommend beginning some sort of gratitude journal practice. It’s more about developing a habit than “journaling” per se. You’re training your brain to see positives and notice when things go well, not just when things go wrong.

While you’re cooped up at home, getting on each other’s nerves, take note of the little things that bring you back to the present. It’s one of the best things you can do to not go insane.

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