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.
I’ve always held writing to a high esteem, to such a high esteem that I always considered it to be out of my reach.
It’s undeniable that in the 9+ years I’ve been sharing my writing online, I’ve improved quite a lot. Yet, I always told myself that I could never be a proper writer.
But over the past year or after reading articles online, I’ve thought to myself, I could write something like that or even that’s similar to something I’ve already written. Suddenly writing no longer feels so out of reach.
And it’s not that I now plan to quite my job and become a writer, I think it’s more than fair to say I already am one.
The trick to getting ahead is to increase your work rate and never go below your usual work rate.
If you want to get ahead long-term then you have to make time to regularly increase your work rate, this gives you the ability to know that you’re always ahead even when you back to your usual work rate.
However, if you want to get ahead as a temporary thing, you can increase your work rate for a period of time and then you can take time time off from working. But before long that time will run out and you have to get back to work again otherwise you fall behind.
The way I work follows the second option, getting ahead temporarily. Every month or so I’ll have a period of time where my work rate increases. This gives me the chance to take time off completely or space to work without focusing on the end result.
There are many things in life that are hard to imagine however, it’s worth remembering that this has no impact on the possibility of these things becoming a reality.
This time two years ago you had no idea of what 2020 would bring and almost a year since the first lockdown we’re still in the midst of it.
Of course the pandemic isn’t a particularly pleasant or positive thing that we want to think about when it comes to the things we imagine coming to life but you can apply the concept to other things.
Right now it might feel like a goal, dream or plan that you have is totally impossible. However, if you decide to be brave and choose to pursue it, six months, a year or maybe even two years from now you could completely bring that to life. All of a sudden months have gone by and you’ll find yourself living a life doing something you love but were once afraid to pursue incase it didn’t work out.
As much as it’s a cliche, you really never know unless you actually try because as much as something might seem impossible it doesn’t really determine it’s possibility.
Most things that we want to do in life are often things that have already been done (even if it was in a slightly different way) and that should be enough proof or evidence that you need.
If it’s been done, it can be done again and what’s to say that it can’t be you that does it .
If you find yourself regularly having conversations that don’t go as planned, in the sense that the outcome you intended wasn’t achieved (or you just end up getting frustrated) it’s worth taking the time to figure out where things went wrong.
Sometimes, it is a simple case of two people with different perspectives not being willing to listen to each other.
Other times it could be that before you get into the meat of the conversation you need to establish what the purpose is, to avoid going off track.
So often it’s easy to blame the other person, to say that the issue is that they weren’t listening. But, maybe there are things that you can do differently even if it is simply walking away from the conversation earlier and choosing to not engage with the person.
You don’t want to find yourself in a cycle of getting swept up in a conversation you don’t actually want to be in.
And, maybe you simply picked the wrong person to have a conversation with.
If that’s the case, use your past experience as a learning point to realise that you need to have this conversation with someone else next time.
Sometimes we make plans that involve others without speaking to them first.
You get so excited and carried away that it doesn’t even occur to you to let the other person know.
Instead you just assume that of course they will share your excitement.
And it’s not that your plans are bad but when you don’t ask the other person but expect them to be involved you might end up disappointed.
It’s more important than you might have considered.
When it comes to your opinions, beliefs and life plans, you have to be willing to change your mind.
You never want to be so set in your ways that you close yourself off to other options.
Sometimes when you’re so committed to what you know, it feels too difficult (or requires more effort than you’re willing to give) to change your mind. And so you hide away from information that could change your perception.
Or maybe you hide away from learning about what you could do to change your life path. You do this because once you know it’s possible for things to be better you’ll end up miserable if you never do anything about it. Yet you end up staying stagnant because you’re not willing to change your mind about the path you want to be on.
Change comes with risk and sometimes we choose security or familiarity over happiness.
If you set any sort of goals, plans or intentions for 2021, now is the perfect time to check in.
You’ve had a month to live the year so far and maybe what you thought you wanted to do or ahcve has now chnaged.
The ‘magic’ of the new year has now faded, perhaps your thoughts on what you want have become much clearer.
Read through what you wrote last month and see if it still fits with the your overall vision for 2021.
Perhaps you’ll find that you were putting too much pressure on yourself to make up for 2020, maybe you haven’t been ambitious enough or it could just be that you made plans that you’re no longer interested in pursuing.
You can go from making grand plans one day to forgetting why you wanted to change your life the next.
It can be hard to shake the unhelpful habits that bind you to your past self. Even though you know they don’t benefit you and that you should change them, you can’t.
And it’s not that you haven’t tried, you just haven’t been able to make any real long term change.
Maybe somedays you find yourself questioning whether you should even bother trying to change at all.
But change takes time and if you really want it, the effort it takes will always be worth it.
Setting goal or making plans for the coming year might seem like a waste of time. We’re in a period of great uncertainty and many of us may have already experienced a long list of things we planned to do in 2020 remain undone.
However, I think a lot of people did much more than they thought they would but in different ways. There was less focus on social activities, in person events and travel but perhaps more emphasis on wellbeing and personal growth.
Maybe this year you started a business, started a project, volunteered, overcame unexpected challenges, read some interesting books, discovered new interests, learned a new skill, developed your confidence, started a new job, got a promotion, visited a new city, bought a house, made new friends, tried some new recipes or figured out what you really want to do with your life.
Some of the things you did this year might seem small or meaningless but you still did them. It’s easy to forget afternoons spent catching up with your favourite people in a cafe, solo dance parties and endless laughter with siblings when you’re focusing on all the concerts you booked that got cancelled or all the places you never got to travel to.
And so for 2021, don’t be afraid to make plans or set intentions for the kind of year you want to have.
The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to at least check-in, recalibrate and ensure that the life you’re living is leading you in the direction that you want to go in.