After crawling through Christmas with a horrible lingering cold… I’m not exactly bouncing into the new year feeling motivated!
Unlike my usual Back to Reality blogs about my plans and goals for the year ahead – my Back to Reality 2018 post was largely about planning less and not setting concrete goals.
And 2018 turned out to be a brilliant year! There were some very difficult times (which I might tell you more about later), but overall for me it was a fun, relaxed and happy year. Particularly in August when we got married then lived in a hut for 10 days!
There’s definitely something good about not planning too much. And after a decade of prioritising work, it was glorious to step off the treadmill and take time to prioritise life.
There are a couple of big lessons that I’ve learned over the last few years and in 2018 I put some habits into practice which I want to carry into 2019.
Lesson no.1: There is no such thing as a work/life balance.
This might sound like a sweeping statement and many of you might disagree. But this is something I heard Courtney Carver talking about on Instagram stories and it really changed the way I think about work/life balance.
If you’re self employed and working in a creative industry it is virtually impossible to find a “balance”, set boundaries and compartmentalise work time and life time. The edges are very blurry- sometimes work takes over and sometimes life takes over, but it’s difficult to find a lasting balance when you can’t easily separate the two.
So I’ve given up my constant striving for the perfect work/life balance and instead I now focus on having a good sleep routine and ring-fencing some me-time each day and each week. This makes me feel like my time is more balanced overall and as a result – work feels less like work because I have some calm time every day to come back to.
I’ve tried various things including meditating and making green smoothies (well… beige smoothies). But these are the habits which have made the biggest difference for me… and I notice the difference if I let these habits slip:
- Going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday… (a little bit later at weekends).
- Switching my mobile off at dinnertime each night and leaving it in another room.
- Going for a walk every day.
These three simple habits make my life feel so much more balanced than it used to even when I’m really busy.
Lesson no.2: I can’t say yes to everything.
This might be stating the obvious, but a lot of us struggle to say no! It might be work stuff or social stuff and you might be worried about letting people down or fearful that opportunities won’t come up again, but saying yes to everything generally ends up with us taking on too much.
In 2018 I accepted that I can’t do all the things I want to do and practiced saying “I’d love to, but I can’t right now”. And do you know what? Nothing terrible happened! I’m making decisions and planning ahead rather than just being carried by the tide and only dealing with what’s urgent. I have lots of exciting things planned for this year… but not too much!
It can be difficult to say no to things that I really want to do, but I’ve leaned the hard way that saying yes to lots of work opportunities means saying no to having free time. And I have a million things I enjoy doing in my free time so I occasionally need those evenings and weekends!
Being less busy means that I have more time to enjoy my life and enjoy my work. I’m so excited about my projects for 2019 and can’t wait to share them with you!