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Not just an expression with the dot grid journal.

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." - Robert Burns, Poet.

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." - Mike Tyson, Boxer.

Ok so things don’t always go according to plan. But that, as another often quoted saying goes, is life. And life sometimes throws a monkey wrench into our plans. These kind of situations happen from time to time. Not all the time. All we can do is maintain objectivity and come to the realisation that the exception should never replace the rule as a guiding principle.

Just ask the Tyson opponents who did make it through the face punches to come out the other end as the victor. For every one of them, the path to victory was laid out in a plan. In fact none would have even survived the Tyson test without one.

We all have Tysons to contend with in our own lives. A monster of a challenge that demands our A game. It could be career related like a big and important project. Or a bucket list thing, like a marathon. Whatever the mammoth undertaking, there will be things to figure out. Some of it, along the way and in the act of doing. But most of it on paper. In some form of blueprint or game plan, outlining the steps towards the finish line.

For the most part, planning equals success. It’s not the only equation but it’s an important part of the success equation. And it’s no big secret or revelation either, not today in the age of productivity awareness, with so many tools and resources to increase our work rate.

In fact its something like the rhetoric of the day. To piece together a plan and put that plan in action. Self-help gurus and productivity influencers are not the first to say it. We’ve heard it throughout our lives from parents, teachers, pretty much any well intentioned authority figure.

The advice by itself is ineffective though without the tools allowing us to act. Like, in the old story about the beggar who’s taught to catch fish and so avoid going hungry. Sure, he was given a lecture about how great fishing is but he was also provided the means to fish.

We definitely need tools and fortunately for us today there are many to choose from. Apps for the tech savvy and stationery for the old souls. A relative new comer in the old school, stationery category is the dot grid journal. The dots lining the pages, horizontally and vertically, spaced 5mm apart provide a sort of open format for design. You can create any type of layout by joining the dots any way you like.

This element of creativity is unprecedented for what’s intended as a planning tool. The illustrated plans can be admired as artworks by themselves providing a measure of satisfaction that precedes the feeling of bliss to come once the job is finished.

The dotted journal has proven to be a source of DIY inspiration in other ways as well. The product’s popularity amongst the artist community has led many to share their own dot grid layouts for others to use. A sure sign of a big hit and a popular trend in the arts has always been the free flowing exchange of ideas. Which is what we’re seeing now.

 With all that’s going on in the world, design taking centre stage everywhere and in every field, it’s an exciting time to be an artist. There are plenty of platforms providing ample opportunities for showcasing work.

Now more than ever, dropping out of the 9 to 5 gig is a real possibility. The more fortunate ones get to do it right out of the college gate. Choosing instead to go into the business of being themselves, expressing themselves through art. Whatever shape and form their art might take there seems to be a market for everything these days.

But big ambitions demand big commitment. The all day, every day kind of commitment. An ever-repeating cycle of planning and executing. A process that can easily become monotonous.

Unless we find an approach that breaks up the monotony, kind of like what the dot grid journal does for planning. Making what previously may have been considered the least exciting part of the creative process altogether fun and engaging. Less of a to-do thing, more of a to-enjoy thing.

The enjoyment factor and many benefits aren’t reserved for professional artists and aspiring pros alone. Everyone can get in on the fun. Anyone with an artistic bent really. You don’t even have to know how to draw. Just join the dots and see where that takes you and what pattern emerges.

Whatever your plans for the future, near or distant, may be, it should include making the dot grid journal a part of your daily routine today.

Use these layouts for some dotted inspiration.



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