The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, Aug 19th and runs through Sunday, Aug 25th in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure.   There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team

I have been frightfully lazy in the bookish world lately.  Of course, being frightfully lazy still managed to finish me two books for the week of Bout of Books 26.  Except that I'd started both of those books way before the readathon even started.

So I took lazy and laid back to another level.  After finishing my Storm Front audio book, I took my sweet time, reading a chapter or two of Death in the Stocks a day until I finished it.

It was... actually kind of nice to not think about blogging or reviewing for a while.

With Halloween Bingo coming up in less than a week, I know I'll be doing a lot of updates and trying to keep up with my reading.  As much as I want to take it easy and not stress myself over my Halloween Bingo reading list, I have an obsessive streak that won't let me just take it one book at a time.  I've already made plans and have an idea what direction I'll be going with my books.

In the meantime, I've been spending more time than anything watching YouTube videos about bullet journaling.  I came across an interesting post about habit trackers, and then spiraled into bullet journal layouts, ideas, and more and more articles and videos.

For anyone unfamiliar with this, there are some nice YouTube tutorials for how to manage your daily tasks and future tasks, and just about anything using a bullet journal format.  The ones I've been watching are the ones by YouTuber AmandaRachLee, and here's her bullet journal playlist.

Of course, as I'd told my BFF the other day, I don't have the patience to sit there and hand draw out calendars, journal layouts for different weekly spreads, shopping list set ups, etc...  As pretty as a lot of those spreads look, and as much as I love to doodle, I'm not really that artistic... and also, I'd probably give up bullet journaling pretty soon, getting super tired of redrawing layouts each month.

On the other hand, I'm more of a spreadsheet person.  I use spreadsheets a lot to track a lot of things.  In fact, I'm more willing to spend hours stuck in detailing and formatting a spreadsheet form for my planners.  Because I can make subtle changes to the forms without starting completely over, and if I mess up, I can use the handy 'undo' button.  I can copy and paste these forms for future use for other things.  It just seems easier.  And also, I'd get straighter lines using a spreadsheet than trying to draw them on my own, really...

So rather than getting into bullet journaling, I decided to take some ideas and incorporate them into some of the weekly planner layouts and monthly calendars I'd already been using regularly.

And then, going a step further, I decided to take the Habit Tracker idea to help make myself accountable for things I'd like to get used to doing routinely.


The photo's lighting is a bit dark, but the gist of it is that I've got a lot of activities on the left that I'm wanting to do on a daily (or at least a routine) basis, and the days of the month are along the top.  I have the form spread split into three specific sections, 'A.M.', 'P.M.' and 'Exercise.'  Exercise is the biggest habit I'd like to make myself get into more routinely.

Each day, when I do the activity, I color in a box.  Or in the case of the bottom 'Exercise' section, I'm simply writing in numbers, such as how much time I'm spending on the elliptical, or how many reps and sets of a certain exercise I did.

Since I didn't start the tracker until a few days ago, I decided to mark off the entire first part of August... and while at first I was just going to put a big 'X' through all that space... I just started doodling lines and the next thing I new, I had diamond patterns going on.

The entire form was created on my computer with Google Sheets, so as you can see there's a whole block where I merged a bunch of boxes so I could add a message for the weekend pertaining to the exercise activities... basically that I wasn't going to start the exercise stuff while working twelve hour shifts this weekend.  I figured that was reasonable enough.


And this is my Habit Tracker I went ahead and set up for September and printed out.  I didn't think I was going to do a lot of decorating aside from drawing in a header... but I was thinking about trees and leaves, then looked up some tree doodles, intending on just adding two trees in the bottom corners... and then ended up filling the entirety of the bottom of the sheet with tree doodles...

And yes, I realize now as I'm typing this that the bottom of the sheet got cut off on the photo.  But I'm too lazy to go back and re-upload a new picture, so everyone will just have to use their imaginations.


Finally, here's my typical layout for a monthly calendar.  It's a blurred picture, but the green boxes I have pre-inserted in Google Sheets and have my work schedule.  There are about five lines for each day for tasks and other planning activities.  Then there's a side bar for weekly to-dos that I don't have specific dates for.

To spiffy things up, I decided to draw some leaves around the 'September', which doesn't show very well.  And then added some grass and a tree.  That was about when I hit the extent of my artistic abilities and called it a night.

This is what I'd been up to for the past few days when I probably could have read another book.  But, hey, this was a pretty fun and relaxing activity.


Enough about my side activities (soon I'll probably end up pulling out some old Mandala books and spend hours coloring).

As far as bookish stuff goes, as I'd stated earlier, I finished two books for Bout of Books 26, both of which were already about half read when I started the week.  In total, I read 189 pages of Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer, and finished listening to the last 265 minutes of  Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

This wasn't the progress I'd hoped for, but it was what I'd expected.

Oh, and while I'm at it, guys...


Bear's back!  It's hard to tell if Baby's all that happy with that...



Books Finished During Bout of Books




What's Hopefully Up Next

I don't really know what I'll be reading next in this week before Halloween Bingo starts.  I might rush through a romantic suspense if I feel like it... or I might just keep watching bullet journaling videos.  Who knows?

So I don't really want to list any tentative reads at this point since I'm not really in that mind set.

So this was probably the most un-readathon related update post I've ever written.  But oh well.  It's my blog and I'll talk about what I want to, right?  =D