This week’s been completely random. I mostly tried, and succeeded a little in trying to be more productive and catching up with all the holiday homework we’ve been given. School starts in a week and I’ve still got plenty to do. Holidays don’t work for me: the more time I know I have at hand, the more time I’ll take to finish a task. I’m a lazy person and the only thing that’ll get me working is a deadline and someone to be accountable to (in this case, my teachers).
I’ve been bullet journaling for quite some months now, tracking my daily tasks, mood, habits, my grades, future goals and hour of study on a particular day. It was quite effective in the beginning, but my streak of productivity broke off when we went on a vacation and it was hard to get back into my routine after returning. So I finally downloaded the Forest App, which I heard about from a couple of people I follow on Instagram. I’d first thought it wasn’t needed because I had my own study tracker, but I decided to give it a try and I’m so glad I did. All you have to do is plant a tree that will grow during the time limit you set for yourself (a bush for timers of 20 minutes and under, and trees for 25 minutes and over). You start the timer and you focus on whatever it is you have to do – study, rest, socialize, or any other activity you have been procrastinating to do, your phone being a major distraction. If you leave the app before the time is up, your tree withers and you have to plant a new one. If you successfully focus on your work for the time limit, a tree (or bush) is added to your forest along with the withered ones. You also get coins for every tree you plant, depending on the time limit, and you need to pay in coins if you want to remove the withered plants from your forest. You can track your progress over the week through a bar graph and tag your trees according to the work you’ve been doing – studying, resting, etc. Personally, I found the app really useful and I’ve been getting my work done on time, mainly because I cannot use my mobile for anything (Instagram is a huge distraction) when I’m using Forest.
Two days ago, when I was cleaning my shelf, I looked at the three paper cranes that I’d pasted on its side. I’d started the project of making 100 paper cranes once previously, but 40 cranes into it, we moved cities, and many of the cranes were torn or lost when we reached New Delhi. Moreover, I was in such low spirits because of the move that I didn’t feel like going back to the project and soon forgot all about it.
The legend of 1000 paper cranes is perhaps quite well known. The Japanese legend states that anyone who makes one thousand paper cranes will be granted one wish, or, according to some stories, happiness or eternal luck. It’s also said that the cranes must be completed within a year and must be made by the person who wants to make the wish at the end, and must keep all the cranes with themselves.
I use the Forest app to study for periods of 20 minutes. That’s a good time to work for and then take a short break to get fresh. As I looked at those three cranes made out of marble paper – one blue, one purple and the third a dark green – and resumed cleaning, I thought to start the project as soon as school reopens (since I’m not really studying these days, but rather finishing projects and making notes, which involve copying down stuff instead of learning it) and make one paper crane after every twenty minutes of studying. That way, I’d not only have something to focus on other than studying; I would also get more work done. If I study for two hours every day, as is my routine, I would make a thousand paper cranes by the end of the year. And I would probably continue making them. I can’t wait for school to re-open so I can start working on this project.
PS: Here’s a beautiful and heartbreaking collection of a woman who documented her father’s last days, placing the 1000 paper cranes she made in places that held loving memories of time spent with her father.
“I began to see all of this, and the beauty of clinging to one another, and my life was a sheet of paper being folded into an origami crane and I was beginning to believe I could fly.”
— Emily T. Wierenga