Yes, I’ve been listening to Macy Gray. Sorry. Once I get lyrics in to my head, they won’t disappear until I weave them in to a blog post. But ‘games, changes and fears’ seems apt as today, I want to talk about resolutions and goals for the year.
Did you set any? Do you have any? How are you getting on with them?
The only resolutions that I’ve made for 2019 are to try and spend more time outdoors and to take some time each week to do something creative for the fun of it rather than because it’s part of my job.
You might think ‘easy’, but I’d reply ‘easier said than done.’
I think we all can admit that what appears to be a great goal in the post-Christmas haze, even if it’s something lovely and simple-sounding like ‘read more books’ or ‘eat together as a family every evening’, soon seems like an unachievable chore once the relentless routine kicks back in in the new year.
The only advice that I can offer when it comes to resolutions is that the end goal has to spark a little bit of joy deep inside of you, or what’s the point? They have to be ones that you genuinely want to make if you want to have a fighting chance of seeing them through. And why punish yourself by resolving to do something that doesn't result in increased happiness? That’s just craziness.
Wouldn’t you agree?
But back to my own resolutions. What steps am I taking to spend more time outdoors (because I always feel better for fresh air) and to enjoy more creative endeavours (because they’re fun and really help with my work … good ol’ lateral thinking)?
Well, I’ll share them with you.
Because I’m incredibly nosy about how other people , particularly those who are freelance or work from home, set goals and then organise their time and workload to achieve them. So you might be, too. I’m sure you’ll roll your eyes at a couple wondering why I’ve not done them before, but one or two may surprise you.
Here goes …
BETTER PLANNING AND ORGANISATION
Over the past couple of years, with both boys now in school, I’ve gone from having no time at all to, in comparison, having ALL the time. And when you’re used to fitting absolutely everything in to nap times and the rare moments when your little ones are playing contentedly, suddenly having six child-free hours every single weekday (bar the twelve weeks a year when they’re on school holidays, of course) feels like time enough to pretty much run the world.
Except that it’s not.
It’s an illusion.
And while I might have initially believed that I could cram an untold amount of work and play in to each and every school day, when I sit down and allocate an appropriate amount of time to each project, task and occasional coffee date, I just about make the school pick up with a few minutes to spare.
So, to do more of the things that I want to do, I need to be really honest with myself about what I do and don’t have the time for and be a bit more choosy with what I agree to take on.
Since the beginning of January, I’ve given myself set office hours on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday which has already made such a difference. I do nothing above and beyond work projects - no faffing about at home and no popping out and running errands. I work. That’s it. And as a result, I’m doing the equivalent in three days of what I used to get done in five. Working from home is amazing in so many respects but the freedom and the distractions can be a huge hindrance, too.
SCHEDULING THE GOOD STUFF
Much like I’ve started setting specific times for work projects, the good stuff (not that my work isn’t good … but it’s still not a hobby) is getting scheduled, too. Wednesday is my day for all things blog-related. Yes, there’s a little bit of a crossover as some of the posts I write on here are technically ‘work’ (the ones with ‘sponsored’ or ‘ad’ written on them) but they’re all written from my personal point of view so feel quite different compared to writing on behalf of a company or a brand. And as I’ve started a new gardening-centric blog, In To The Potting Shed, it means that more Wednesdays will be spent outdoors … being creative. See where this is heading? It’s all about the resolutions!
LEARNING THE OLD SCHOOL WAY
Having the work organised and the good stuff scheduled has resulted in the genuine luxury of a morning spare so what do you think I’ve signed up for? Something creative? Perhaps outdoor-related? Yes to both! I’ve booked myself on a garden design course starting mid-March. For three hours a week for ten weeks, I’m going back to school.
There’s not a huge amount that I miss about working in an office, but the ease of being able to run ideas past another person is one of them. I can waste hours thinking things through by myself when having to structure my thoughts to explain them to someone else can result in clarity in mere minutes. While I work alone and predominantly online, it’s time to talk face to face more. Coffee, anyone?
KNOWING THAT IT’S OKAY TO WALK AWAY
But after saying all of that, I have a tendency to go a little overboard when it comes to sticking to a plan. If it’s written down, then it must be so. However, some days, the words just don’t come. I have a topic, a title, and even a conclusion, but I sit down to write only to find that my vocabulary is non-existent. It happens. But if it’s on my to-do list for that day, I’ll spend hours with my fingers hovering over the keyboard, looking at a blank screen, willing the words to come but ultimately getting nowhere. A cup of tea in the garden, a walk through the fields, focusing on something else for half an hour is not time wasted; it’s time to let my mind wander and retrieve those lost words. I need to keep telling myself this (and believing it).
Feel like sharing your games, changes and fears for 2019? Pop them in the comments below.