Short term creative projects

I used to have a negative perception of things that didn’t last. It was as though the ending nullified all that had come before it.

And so I wanted everything to last forever.

However in the past 6 months or so I’ve started to see the appeal of short term creative projects.

Creating in a way where you either share work in chunks and can go away and create more if you wish or starting a project with a set end date.

I think these ways are perfectly suited for those that have multiple ideas they want to bring to life.

It’s much easier to spin one plate at a time and then stop and move on to the next thing than it is to keep spinning one plate and add more and more.

An alternative you

Who could you be if you put down all the fears and external expectations?

What would this alternative you look like?

Maybe you think you’d be pretty much the same and maybe you’d be a totally different person?

Would you dress the same?
What career would you pursue?
What would you spend your money on?
What would you do for fun?

Answering these questions may feel silly. Perhaps your answers feel too far from reach. Maybe the gap between you and the alternative you feels too wide.

But I think that if you can envision the kind of person you’d like to be, you can come up with ideas  on how to become that person and eventually over time, bit by bit (drip by drip), that’s exactly who you will be.

5 things I’ve learnt from being back in the office full-time

After 18 months of working from home, I changed jobs and found myself back in the office full-time.

Here’s some of what it taught me:

I don’t need to be there
After working from home full-time for around 18 months, it’s clear that being in an office full-time doesn’t need to be mandatory for a lot of jobs.

Talking is easier than Teams
It’s much easier to walk over to someone’s desk and have a 2 minute conversation than it is to message them and wait for a reply which in one instance took 2 days.

It’s easier to switch off
When I log off, close my laptop and leave it in the office at 5pm before heading home it creates a good sense of separation. When I close my laptop at home and then sit at the same dining table to have dinner. There’s no clear separation between work and home.

Some days I don’t want to talk
It’s nice to be in the office and talk to people but some days I’m quite happy sitting alone, not interacting, typing away and reading documents. Being in the office when I don’t want to interact or talk isn’t ideal because it’s a social environment.

I like having the option for both
Being in the office means I get dedicated writing time on my bus journey and it’s easier to switch off. However, being at home gives me more flexibility in how I structure my day.

I think all of these things depend on the working environment. If you don’t like your job or your colleagues, it’s no wonder you wouldn’t want to be there at all. But if you do like what you you do and the people you get to work with then office is probably a great place to be.

Why you might be overexplaining yourself and why you should stop?

When you overexplain, it’s you trying to accommodate other people by justifying yourself and your choices to them. It signals that you’re seeking some level of external approval or permission that you’re not able to give yourself.

You might be over-explaining because you have people pleaser tendencies and you’re worried that the other person might not like what you have to say. You hope that your over-explaining will be enough to nullify any potential negative reaction. And so, you over-explain.

Or perhaps you’re trying to avoid conflict. You think that by saying everything at once, every possible rebuttal to what you think they might say, that they’ll have to accept what you say and you can avoid any possible back and forth.

Whilst other people might not know the reason you’re doing it, they’ll probably be able to notice that you’re over-explaining.

I recently found myself needing to set a boundary. I spent ages planning out what I would say whilst also trying to control the outcome. It got to the point where what should have been a short clear statement was instead a lengthy monologue.

I noticed that I was making something simple become long-winded. But, my awareness of what I was doing made me realise that I could do something different.

And so, I asked myself what is the least that I can say to get the message across?

Sometimes instead of just speaking up for ourselves and what we do or don’t need, we focus too much on other people. We ask ourselves, how will they feel and how can I mitigate that? However, the problem with this is that you don’t learn to fully be yourself. Instead you learn to be a fragmented version of yourself that aims to please or appease and all your needs go unmet.

You can work to overcome this by focusing on keeping things simple. Ask yourself, ‘What is the least that I can say to get the message across?’ and just say that. Remember that a back and forth doesn’t mean conflict, it can simply be the other person trying to understand.

It might feel weird at first, it might not even go smoothly at first, perhaps you’ll even feel like you’re being inconsiderate. But when you value yourself you’ll realise that it’s worth it.

Picking the right project to pursue

If you’re what I like to refer to as an ideas person, you probably have the challenge of picking what to pursue. You might find yourself with half a dozen great ideas and the thought of bringing each one to life is equally exciting.

It can be difficult figuring out the best way to solve this issue. And so, sometimes we end up picking multiple things to do at once.

We become a jack of all trades.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with having more than one project at a time, it’s not worth it if you can’t do them well. I like to think of it in terms of spinning plates. The best way to do it is start with one plate and add another when you’re comfortable and then keep going. When you start with multiple plates, they’re more likely to end up broken.

If we take it back to projects, we end up producing work we aren’t proud of and struggle to achieve our desired outcomes.

On the flipside, if we work on things one at a time we give ourselves the opportunity to actualise the vision. If things don’t work out how you’d hoped, you can be much more content with quitting because you know you’ve given it your all.

When you’re doing important work that you believe in, the best way to honour the vision is by being solely dedicated to it. You do yourself and the vision a disservice when you choose to do multiple things at once.

When it comes to deciding what to do, there are plenty of ways to decide.

  • What do you care about the most?
  • What idea feels most important?
  • What will you be most dedicated to?
  • Write them all down and pick out of a hat?
  • Introduce yourself as the person behind each project, which one feels the best?

Maybe try a combination of these things and see what idea comes up the most.

The only thing you need to do is make a choice. If you’re finding it difficult, you’re putting too much weight on it.

And, if you pick something and it doesn’t work out, just try something else.

Introspection and extrospection

Over the past few weeks I’ve been asking myself the question ‘what is this blog about?’.
I’ve been thinking about the topics I share most often and how that can be encapsulated into a few words, a clear answer to my question.

Over the past few months I’ve been in a personal development, problem solving, self-help space which is reflected in my writing.

But in the last few days the ideas I’ve had for blog posts have been things I’ve noticed or observed, nothing to do with personal development.

I was then reminded of the origin of this blog, taking the opportunity to notice something in myself or the world then use that to find a lesson, growth point or a helpful reminder.

It’s a balance of introspection and extrospection.

To observe and understand life in the same way that we can observe and understand ourselves.

It’s a mix of personal development, self-discovery/exploration, career, social-media, wellness and blogging tips.

Why I started writing daily todo lists?

As the years go by, I actively and consciously learn more and more about myself, specifically the way I work.

Years back I used to write monthly todo lists, I didn’t realise it at the time but I was mimicking things I’d seen other people do. Sort of like people that are organised and productive write todo lists so that’s what I’ll do too. I was doing the behaviour without any true intention so it didn’t really make me the organised and productive person I aspired to be.

I then discovered MuchelleB on YouTube who I’ve learnt a lot from. She inspired me to write structured weekly todo lists which I’ve been doing for a few years now.

But lately I’ve found myself needing something else.

And so I started writing daily todo lists.

I’ve been using post-its which are great because you can’t fit a lot on them.

I’ve been using them at specific points in my day where I find myself stuck for what to do or how how to spend my time in the most caring/helpful way. I’ll write 7-10 tasks and work through them for the rest of the day or even just a few hours.

I’ve found that when I’m more intentional about what I’m doing in smaller sections of time, it’s much  easier to be disciplined. In contrast, when I I’m working from a full week’s worth of tasks day to day, I end up just doing what I feel like doing rather than what needs to be done.

And the purpose of this post is to serve as a reminder for when things aren’t working well that you might just need to do something a little bit different.

What to do when you feel like you don’t have enough time?

I think this happens to us all from time to time.

Stress and anxiety can result in time ‘speeding up’. You spend so much time feeling overwhelmed that by the time you go to take action, it already feels like it’s too late. And so you go back to feeling overwhelmed again and the cycle repeats.

Slow down

When you feel like there isn’t enough time, your instincts probably tell you to speed up but it turns out that you’re better off doing the opposite. An easy way to slow yourself down is to meditate.

Taking just 10 minutes is incredibly impactful because it’ll help to reduce overwhelm. But also, 10 minutes of meditation feels a lot longer than 10 minutes of watching a tv show. It’s sort of like time slows down when you relax which might inspire you to embrace a more relaxed way of living.

Make note of how you feel

Perhaps you feel tired, stressed, jittery or tense. What can you do to help combat those things? Identifying how you feel not just emotionally but also physically can be great a great starting point to help shift the feelings.

Stretching or a quick workout could help calm the jitters. If you’re tired, maybe you need to rest. Once you tend to your needs you can get back to doing whatever needs to be done from a much more relaxed headspace.

Write down exactly what you need to do

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big tasks and feel like ‘there’s so much to do i don’t have enough time, I don’t know where to start’. Writing things down helps ease the anxieties because once you know exactly what you need to do it makes it much easier to start getting things done. For people like me bigger tasks need to be broken down into smaller tasks.

An example of this is when I was recently tidying my bedroom, I wrote down each specific area I wanted to tidy. Doing this made me realise the overall task wouldn’t take as long as I thought and I actually had more than enough time to do it. However, because I’d given myself several smaller tasks it meant that I could have split them over 2 or 3 days if I genuinely didn’t have enough time to do it in one day.

Creating a container for change

I first heard about this idea from Maryam Hasnaa in a class she taught.

When a person dedicates themselves to a particular path, it more often than not requires significant change.

An example of this could be taking space from friends that like to have nights out often. You need space from this because in that environment you’re likely to drink which leaves you feeling unwell the next day and the time it takes to recover feels like a waste. You also might decide that you want to maintain a regular sleep pattern and night routine which you’re unlikely to be committed to when you get home at 2am. Lastly, when your path becomes clear you realise that the pub, bar or club where it’s noisy, crowded and you’re probably spending a lot of money isn’t an environment that supports you.

And so even though no longer engaging in nights out may show up as you taking space from certain people, it’s not so much about the people at all, it’s about you and what you need.

Another example is leaving your job. Let’s say you work a very full on and at times stressful job that requires a lot from you. When you’re committed to something, in order to focus on that, you don’t want unnecessary stress getting in the way. Perhaps at one point the stress was worth it for the money but now you’d rather earn less in a calmer environment. If your finances allow it, you might even take a break from working for a little while.

Both of these examples could be permanent or temporary changes. The point is that when you’re clear about your path shifting your life is mandatory.

I think if we could, we would turn inwards and away from certain responsibilities and obligations. But since that’s not possible we have to create a container where we can focus and commit whilst still engaging in certain aspects of life. And that container becomes sort of sacred which is why we can’t allow everything in our lives to remain.

And if you don’t know where to begin, ask yourself what you would and wouldn’t keep in your life if you could start over whilst still being able to maintain your basic needs (food, shelter etc).

How to work through difficult feelings

When you’re going difficult feelings (or feelings that feel difficult), it’s vital to know what you need in order ton help yourself.

As a teenager, I had no clue and so would just end up overwhelmed with days spent mulling over moments that weren’t important in the grand scheme. Although i used to journal, it was very problem based and essentially just a ramble of fear and overwhelm which didn’t really benefit me.

Recently I had some difficult feelings come up. I’m at a point where I can sit with the feelings without getting carried away. I then find helpful ways to work through the feelings. Everything I do is specific to me because I’ve gotten into the habit of learning what I need in these difficult moment.

I recently had a moment of feeling insecure, in hindsight I can see that I had attached a particular outcome of a situation to me feeling good. And so when it didn’t turn out that way I felt the opposite. I wanted to share this because it’s useful to have more specific and less generic examples.

So here’s what I did:

1 Phoned a friend

I had an almost 2 hour phone call with a dear friend. This particular person is someone I trust and find easy to talk to about anything. We spoke about what we’ve been up to, future plans and we laughed a lot. They knew I was feeling a bit off however, I didn’t end up offloading and allowing my inner monologue to run wild because I know that there probably isn’t much this person could say to shift my feelings. Instead, I appreciated them making the time and supporting me. Plus, laughter is really the best medicine and probably helped more than any discussion about how I was feeling and why would have.

2 Did my morning routine in the afternoon

There are three things I do every morning at the moment: a 10 minute singing bowl meditation, my gratitude practice and reading my monthly manifesto (a passage that sets clear intentions for what I’m working on at the moment). I wasn’t feeling great that morning so I didn’t do it but later I remembered how much that simple 15 minutes each morning really helps set the tone for my day and establishes the possibility of how I can feel. And so I just did it in the afternoon and it helped me feel a lot better.

3 EFT

Emotional Freedom Technique also known as tapping is something I have been doing for a few years now. I went through the tapping points and essentially just reminded myself that even though I may feel the way I was feeling it’s not permanent and I’ll be okay. EFT is something that really works wonders for me.

4 Rest

Instead of just putting my feelings aside and getting on with my day I decided to rest. Sometimes the best thing to do is allow yourself to be bare minimum and work on things you need to do later when you’re feeling better. It doesn’t always help to just get on with it, especially when the work isn’t urgent.