Something always has to give

Life is about balance. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to pay equal attention to all things constantly. Instead you give more attention to different areas of your life when necessary.

And that means that at certain points, some things will have to take a back seat. Perhaps when you’re focusing more on work, you spend less time with friends. Or when you’re focused on saving you spend less time going out for drinks/food. But when you’re focused on improving your health and fitness you spend more time working out and cooking.

Sometimes, after a period of focusing on one thing, you might find yourself feeling guilty for having put other things aside, even though it was for the best.

Something has to give because you can’t give 100% of your effort to every aspect of your life at once.

However, you can’t just totally neglect an aspect of your life, the trick is to balance your time so that you’re not so focused on one thing that everything else falls apart.

Focus on the good bits

It’s probably true that in almost any situation there is something negative, difficult, disheartening or unfortunate that you could focus on.

And focusing on those things will rarely make you feel good so why not instead just focus on the good bits. Focus on the bits that bring you joy, make you happy and make you excited about life.

It’s not that you should ignore things that need sorting out or just put your head in the clouds. However, sometimes having the kind of perspective where you focus on the good bits allows you to see the not so good bits with a level of clarity, this then allows you to move forward and progress.

Important conversations

We might not like them but we have to have them.

We put off difficult conversations because they make us nervous.

We’re worried about how our words will come out, how our words will be perceived, how the person on the receiving end will feel, we’re scared of being vulnerable and we worry that we might regret it.

The list goes on.

Unfortunately, no matter how you might feel, the conversation still needs to be had. You can have it now or you can have it later.

As much as it is difficult it is also important. I think that’s the bit worth focusing on and is much more of an incentive to get yourself talking. Don’t focus on the nerves or hoping you can control how the other person will react. Just remind yourself that the conversation is important and worth having.

Good enough for right now

Not everything will be perfect and not everything needs to be.

Sometimes all you need to do is focus on making something that is good enough for right now.

Maybe, you can make it better later or maybe good enough is all that it needs to be.

If that’s the case, any time spent making it amazing isn’t time well spent. Instead of stressing to make it better, try focusing your efforts and energy on something that needs to be much better than just good enough.

How to get better at receiving feedback?

Getting feedback can be terrifying.

Even if you have confidence in what you do the last thing you want is for someone else to come along and tell you that actually what you’re doing isn’t as good as you think it is.

I think feedback is difficult to take in because we act as if it’s personal.

And if you’ve done something creative like a poem or a painting in some ways it is personal. But it’s also subjective so if someone thinks your painting could be improved by having a richer colour palette, doesnt mean someone else won’t love it just the way it is.

But the other kind of thing we get feedback on is the stuff that’s more rigid and regulated like what you might do at work. If you’re a construction worker, there isn’t really much room for perception. The feedback you would get isn’t personal, it’s a more a case of this is is how it’s done and here’s where you need to improve in order to do it the way it needs to done.

And of course there may be things that lie somewhere in between.

But either way the main thing to remember about feedback (when it’s from the right people) is that it’ll benefit you in the long run. And if you keep that in mind instead of focusing on the fact that there are people who don’t like what you create or that you didn’t do something perfectly, receiving feedback might get a little bit easier.

Making time for fun

There is always so much emphasis on the work, on dedicating your time, effort and energy. There are quotes like the grind don’t stop or I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with working hard, being dedicated and focusing on making money or building something (as in a non-physical thing like community).

But what about fun?

When was the last time you consciously set time aside to do something for fun, to make yourself laugh and bring a little joy into your life. The work, your work is great and it matters but it doesn’t have to be your whole life.

And the fun can be short and free, in fact it’s better that way. It could be watching Key and Peele skits on YouTube, having a solo dance party or maybe baking cupcakes.

As much as the work matters, there is also so much more to life that you might end up missing out on when you don’t make time for fun.

A great reason to exercise

Many people find it difficult to commit to exercising. One of the reasons for this is being focused on wanting to look a particular way which may not happen for 6 months.

If you show up for each session with your end goal in mind, you might find yourself getting frustrated or impatient because you know you still have a long way to go.

On the other hand, you could instead focus on the endorphins, the way exercising makes you feel. If every time you feel a little resistance to begin a workout you remind yourself of how good you’ll feel once it’s done, that might be all the motivation you need.

Expectations of others

I think that quite often we expect that those with more money, more opportunities and more freedom then we have should be doing more simply because they have more. I think that’s fine up to a point but it’s also important to consider that each individual has their own desires.

You could have access to a lot of money and a lot of opportunites but maybe you’ve chosen to live a fairly quiet and (what would be considered) a simple life. Perhaps you’re not career focused even though if you were you’d have it easy.

People look down on that because there’s an assumption that if you can do something then you should, almost to compensate for those that can’t. I think it’s so important to not place these expectations on others because we all have our own life paths. Of course some people have it easier than you do but they don’t owe you anything.

I think we should let go of expectations and focus more on ourselves instead. It might be frustrating to see someone with more opportunities than you that doesn’t take advantage of them but maybe that person just isn’t interested. It’s not your responsibility to berate them, get frustrated or tell them that they should be doing more with their lives.

Instead, respect the choices they’ve made.

Why learning something new is a great idea

Last year there were lots of discussions, tweets and conversations about how we’re in a pandemic, you don’t need to do xyz it’s totally okay if all you did was survive.

The thing is, of course you don’t need to do anything new or different with your time. That statement has always been true. But if you want to and if you feel like you can, why not choose to do something new?

And even if you don’t feel like it, even if you’re anxious and overwhelmed maybe trying 10 minutes of aerobics or a breath work exercise might actually help.

I think learning or doing something new during a period where you have more free time than usual is a great idea.

The reason for this is whether you sit around passively watching YouTube all day or try out a couple of new recipes every week, the same amount of time has still gone by.

You don’t need to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, pick something that you will enjoy.

And you don’t need to use up all your free time, it could be 20 minutes of meditation each day or a few hours a week doing an online course.

You don’t need to post about it online and it doesn’t make you better than others because you’ve now started a successful business or have perfected the crème brûlée.

The focus should be on how you feel about the way that you’re choosing to live and the way that you’re spending your time.

Creating for your audience

When it comes to being creative and putting stuff out there, often we end up focusing on the wrong thing.

We ignore the audience we already have and put our efforts into reaching new people with the hope of growing and growing.

However, what often ends up happening is we lose our current audience in the process because they no longer feel like we’re creating for them.

Instead, you’re much better off putting your efforts into creating for the people that are already here. Those people are already interested and given time will care enough to spread the word, if what you’re putting out is good enough.