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.
When you take the time to look back on your life, do you think there is anything you missed out on?
The job you turned down, the work you were too afraid to put yourself forward for, the project you never launched…
There are so many things that we all could have done with our lives. And often we get caught up in the fantasy that our lives would be better if only I took that job.
But the truth is you don’t really know how things would have turned out. You might have taken that job and been miserable. But maybe you’d have ended up roughly exactly where you are right now.
When you’re not happy with where you’re at it’s easy to tell yourself a story about how your life could have been something spectacular.
In reality it’s probably much more helpful just to think about what you can do right now based on your current circumstances and then do it.
The plans you made a year ago, 6 months ago or even a few weeks ago may now be obsolete. You can time planning far in advance but when it comes to putting those plans into action, you never really know how things will go until you see the results.
Sometimes the results are as expected or better and other times the results are a learning curve, a growth point an opportunity to go back to the drawing board.
It can be disappointing when things don’t turn out as well as you’d hoped, you might feel like the time and effort you put in was wasted. In times like this it’s so important to not to dwell on what went wrong but instead to think about how you can move forward.
How can you improve?
How can you do things better?
What can you do differently?
Of course, going back to the drawing board is never part of the plan but if you use it as an opportunity to grow, experiment and explore, suddenly it might not seem so bad.
This time inside is no doubt forcing you to step away from somethings you’d rather run towards.
But there’s probably a few things you have space from right now that you don’t want back in your life.
It could be a job, people you spend time with or the places you used to go.
Being forced to stay inside gives your mind the space it so often needs to really think about what it wants, what you want. You’re no longer in this routine of always going from one place to the next, rarely alone, rarely getting the chance for silence or a moment to think how you feel about the way you’re living your life.
But now you have that chance, what are you thinking about, what is on your mind?
Are you craving a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon at your favourite bar with a lover or friend?
Are you secretly hoping that you never have to go to go back to your current job?
Are you realising that you don’t miss the people you’d normally spend the most time with (outside of work)?
Once you’ve given that some thought, what will you do about it now and once lockdown is over?
This is the way of the optimist.
It’s also worth remembering that even if things don’t turn out in the way that you consider to be ‘the best’, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
That way no matter what life throws at you, you’ll be able to roll with it with a little less resistance or resentment.
However, all of this means nothing unless you put it into practice.
The next time thing don’t turn out as you planned pay attention to your thoughts. Is your inner monologue deflated, is it going 101mph complaining about how life is unfair and nothing goes your way or is their acceptance of your current situation and thoughts on how to move forward?
Turns out that the 9-5 isn’t as necessary as it once was.
With everything going on in the world meetings are becoming emails or being done by video, travel has come to a halt and working from home may become the non-optional office alternative.
Despite the unfortunate situation that has caused things to change, I can’t help but notice that there is something to learn.
As someone that works in an office less than 50% of what I do requires me to be in the building or to interact with my co-workers.
But I can imagine a time when people used typewriters or even computers that you couldn’t physically take home. Back then, being in your office was necessary to undertake your work.
These days all you need is a laptop and you can use that anywhere.
I’m not championing no longer having an office at all. However, I do think it is worth exploring how often you actually need to be in the company office and the purpose that it serves.
For many it’s the social aspect of going to the kitchen for tea and a catch up with a work pal, it’s meeting people when you’re new to the city, it’s having a space to work for those with limited room at home or those wanting to maintain separation between work and life.
Having an office to go to isn’t necessary for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week but it does come with benefits.
It introduces us to new people, gives us a routine and gives us the opportunity to be part of a culture.
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.