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.
One of the best lessons to have learnt this year is how to make the best of challenging circumstances.
I’d be highly surprised to find that there is anyone who reads this blog that has not been affected by the pandemic.
People have lost their jobs, had family and friends pass, experienced financial difficulties, had holidays postponed, struggled to cope because they’re living alone, missed moments with the people they care about, had plans cancelled and so much more.
It’s easy to end up feeling as though life can be nothing more than bleak but it’s important to remember the joys of life.
No matter what is going on if you only focus on the ‘bad bits’ it will consume your whole outlook until you can’t see past it.
Of course you can’t ignore what is going on in the world but you can make time for things that bring you joy and make you feel good.
How often do you take the time to stop and think about what makes you happy?
I don’t mean in relation to acheiveing goals, I mean just in life overall.
Most of the time we over-estimate what brings us real joy, thinking that we need something grand or something that is difficult to obtain.
In reality, it is often the smallest moments that make us feel the happiest.
Things like dancing to your favourite song, picking fruit from the garden or laughter with an old friend.
I once wrote that perfection is a falsehood. I stand by that statement. Perfection doesn’t really exist becuase of 2 things: perception and possibility.
What may seem perfect to one person will be viewed differently by another. Perceptions of others might end up changing your own view of your work. But perfection will never be universal because not everything is for everyone.
The end result of anything you do is based on picking one option out of several. But if at certain stages you found yourself caught between perhaps 2 out of the 5 options, when you’re finally done you may wonder about the possibilities of the other options. You might find yourself thinking, maybe it would have been even better if you chose the other option.
So why not let go of the perfectionism, something you’ll never truly achieve. Instead focus on the joy joy of creating your work and getting better and better over time.
When it comes to the exciting possibilities of life, how often do you allow yourself to experience them.
Often we end up looking from afar and think about how great it would be if it happened to us. The truth is in many cases we’re actually not ready for the good stuff to happen.
It’s much easier to stick with what you know.
The thing is even if what you know is great, it doesn’t mean that their isn’t more great stuff out there for you to experience.
There isn’t a cap on how much excitement you can have in your life, you just have to be open to it.
As much as it’s great to archeive something big, some days it just doesn’t happen.
Some days are slower, you feel a little lost or perhaps you’re not sure where to begin.
At the end of it you might feel like your day has been wasted or that you should have done more.
You might feel this way because you know you could have easily done so much more if only you put in the effort. On the other hand you might feel like you’ve failed your own expectations even though you tried your hardest.
However you feel, there’s no point beating yourself up about it. Some days are meant for the little wins such as: finishing a chapter of the book you’re reading, tidying your living space and a long phone phone call with a close friend.
Looking back on the past couple of months, what have been your highlights?
What has brought you joy?
How have you been spending your time?
For some there’s a chance that they have been blossoming into a more truer version of themselves. Becoming someone who is considerate about how they spend their time.
It’s not that you didn’t give it much thought before, it’s that it’s suddenly become much easier to be choosy.
You’re no longer making the best of small fragments of free time, you’re making the best of your time overall.
As a result (in spite of everything going on in the world), you might feel the happiest you’ve felt in a while.
There are 2 ways of working.
The first is in batches, a couple of hours one or 2 times a week.
The second is bit by bit, day by day.
Many people find themselves picking one of the two ways thinking that it’s the best way of working.
But it turns out it depends on the work you’re doing and also the way you feel like working.
Last year I was focused on scheduling posts and there were times when I’d be scheduling a week of blog posts in one go.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing and publishing a blog post at the end of my day. At first it felt strange and I was frustrated that my batch blogging habit had fallen away.
However, from taking the bit by bit approach I’m enjoying blogging more. I spend moments of my day thinking about what I want to say and then I type it up at night. It feels like I’m creating a better writing practice because I’m clicking publish each day.
It’s not to say that the bit by bit approach is the best way of working. But what I can say is that it’s going pretty well for me right now.
I’ve been writing a little different lately and trying to figure out the best kind of things to share during this time.
My aim is to be relevant but whilst still maintaining my usual style and core themes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about science, history, people and fear. From that I’ve had so many ideas for things to write about and once piece in particular (that is currently just a few words and phrases) has brought me joy.
There’s a thing I do when I write where I put little thoughts and ideas together then try and make some sense out of them. It’s so fun, it’s almost like a game, trying to see how I can fit things together.
Right now I’m having a lot of new thoughts and thinking about things in ways I never have before.
And so even though things are very unexpected and a little challenging, I guess right now I’m just enjoying my writing process.
Now, is the perfect time to find joy in doing the things you love.
I recently discovered a new podcast and listening to it brings me joy.
I find myself often relating to the conversations they have or smiling/laughing.
It’s so useful to fill your life with little things that bring you joy that you have easy access to.
Something extravagant like a week in the Maldives isn’t accessible to you on a regular basis.
You have to think small-scale.
A useful exercise is either throughout or at the end of the day write down all the things you did that brought you joy, then make a vow to do those things more.
It could be meditation, morning gratitude, getting a coffee in the kitchen with your work pal, listening to a particular song or podcast, reading a book, putting on a face mask, saying good morning to strangers on your way to the bus stop or train station or even going for a walk.
As humans we have a tendency to over complicate things but often it’s as simple as, whatever makes you feel good, do more of it.