As the last week of the year comes into existence, we delve into the world of false positivity and setting unrealistic expectations for our “new year, new me” self. As a result of which, we tend to stick with our new year’s resolutions till February, if we’re lucky, otherwise, we’re usually, straying off course in the middle of Jan. It’s not often that new decades come into being, once every ten years, to be exact, and that’s a long time. With the new decade approaching, here’s a basic outline of the aspects of your life that you can focus on or give more thought to, in order to have your life together and your productiveness soaring.
I know that I struggle with consistency with my habits and I’m sure a lot of you out there struggle with it too. Jeff Olson really puts consistency into perspective with his book, The Slight Edge. He talks about how important it is to be consistent and take small consistent actions every single day to take you towards your goal. So it’s better to do something small every single day rather than working in spurts – doing a lot at a time and then taking a month off and regurgitating that same vicious cycle. Classic example of this is exam season and cramming. If you carve out time to work towards a certain goal – be it career wise or relevant to fitness or even prepping for a big exam like the SATs or CIEs – every single day, you might not feel like you’re changing a lot day to day but if you zoom out and look at the bigger picture, you’re gonna see some major changes in your life. Consider it an investment in yourself – it will have a lasting impact in your life.
Finding that “me time”
Prioritise yourself over your work. We’re supporters of a culture of overworking yourself and not giving yourself a break when needed. This doesn’t mean letting your workload pile up and slacking off, rather, it emphasises the importance of not letting your work or studying get on your nerves because that has more of a negative effect than a positive and it’s only in the longer run that you notice the adverse effects. Ask yourself, will the assignment you’re working on, or the presentation you have to make for work, whatever it may be, matter more than the disruptance and anxiety it’s causing you?
It’s really important to rest and give yourself that me-time because having your life together parallels with your relationship with yourself. We’re so invested in being a good friend to someone, a good mother to our children, a good wife, a good student that we forget that we owe something to ourself, our mind, our body and our soul. To feel connected with all of that is to give yourself that me time. Any time of the day and anything is great, whether you wanna jot down an appreciation list in the early hours of the morning without checking your phone’s notifications for your boss’ email or whipping out your yoga mat for a routine in the garden or taking a jog, meditating – even just having a cup of coffee or tea, alone, with your thoughts is enough for recharging and letting yourself find that moment of clarity that’s going to help you stay focused.
Frantically running around, working, is gonna make you feel the opposite – like you never have anything together.
Organise your environment
Your mindset is a reflection of your environment. If your environment is thriving, organised and clean, it automatically makes your brain become organised and cleared out. A label maker might sound a tad too Tumblr-y but it’s a lifesaver when it comes to organising your things. Whether it be the way you organise your pantry and kitchen or desk/office organisation – all your different storage, memory, work boxes, notes for different subjects – the list goes on – once you get into labelling, it’s crazy hard to stop yourself from labelling, you start to label things that don’t even need to be labelled (channeling your inner Monica from FRIENDS). Labelling where you put things just gives every object in your life a home and a purpose for wherever it’s sitting. Not only does it organise everything but it helps you to filter out the things you don’t need. You start to figure out which objects are the stragglers: the less junk you have, the happier you’ll be.
To do lists
Writing down what you need to do will help to clear your mind and give you structured freedom – you don’t wonder too far off from what you need to be doing. All the way from Post It notes to templates on iPads, to-do lists It’ll put you in a better mindset because you’re already completing one thing. Instant gratification – one thing’s done, checked off. You can play around and have fun with what suits you: make categories or give your day structure by organising everything in time slots. Even if you need to text someone or call someone back, jot it down. That way, you can check off little things as the day goes and it’ll make you feel more accomplished because even though they’re little things, the more things you check off or scribble off of your list, the more motivated you are to get through all the goals you’ve set yourself for the day – save the pennies, the pounds will save themselves.
Make your bed every morning
It’s so generic, everyone talks about it but it’s not something that gets done as often as it’s discussed. Making your bed isn’t the most fun thing to do when you wake up but it gives you something to accomplish, immediately, at the top of your day. It’s clean, pristine and making that extra bit of effort in the morning ensures that you won’t crash into it 20 minutes later. It sets a tone to the rest of your day, so to speak.
Audiobooks & Podcasts
Audiobooks and podcasts are such a great way to absorb information while you’re doing mundane day-to-day tasks/chores that don’t require a lot of brain power like driving, during travel to get from A to B, cleaning at home, doing laundry (especially, when you’re separating the whites from the darks). You can listen to conversations that are way different to what you have in your daily life with the use of podcasts – from insider guides to how the stock market functions all the way to learning how artists create their music, all without actively engaging your brain. The key is to switch up what you’re listening to, maybe transition from fantasy to an autobiography – whatever floats your boat.