I don’t know about you, but I’ve always started a lot of things, and generally, I’ve never been a listless or totally idle person. I always did something: college classes, designing course, homework, a job here and there, volunteer work, etc. Those who looked from afar had no doubt that I was being to some extent quite productive. I read a lot, went out with my friends regularly, and always had a blog or a small writing project going on.
You could look from all outside angles, and by A + B, I proved to you that I was a good performer. I mean, executor of my ideas. Poor word choice, but you get what I meant. That was what it looked like, obviously. Because inside, if you looked at the ideas that popped into my head, the story would be different. I started many things and didn’t finish almost any.
The only things I really did were the medium and long-term obligations that everyone needs at one time or another to afford: college and work.
Notice the difference between what you do and what you don’t do
If we look closely, a lot of useful things can be discovered. When you say you can’t put things into practice, what are you talking about exactly?
Take a break from reading if you don’t know this answer, and take the time to make a basic list of these items. What do you always think of doing and never do? Is it a hyper-bureaucratic, boring task you’re pushing with your belly? Some childhood dream, too crazy, which your mind says has no way to come true? A new habit or a lifestyle change?
I know I have some specific locks with some particular subjects. That simple.
Every time I try to put a project related to one of these sub-areas of my life into practice, I get stuck. What happens to many people, however, is that the most relevant, most valuable, and most difficult projects tend to receive the least attention. They get lost in the chaos of everyday life or, surprise, you come across some totally stuck limiting belief that tells you that you can’t really do that. I am one of those people, too.
Perfectionism (the unrealistic willingness to do everything 100% proof) can also rob you of many – and I tell many – valuable resources and leave you in total drought without enough action to bet on your own. The reasons are many and my role here is not as a therapist.
I just want to give you, if you have never thought of it, an excuse to notice the exact things that you cannot (now or ever) put into practice. They certainly have something in common and no wonder they are difficult for you. Life organization & personal planning is also self-knowledge.
Do you really want to do this?
Like, sending the real straight away: when we are completely sure what we want, everything is easier. And May I be biased and giving you this advice because I’m already a scalded cat? This is very likely to be so.
I am an indecisive person and not getting my hands on fire for my ideas (i.e. not knowing exactly what I want) has always robbed me of my power of action. That’s for sure, too, but not only.
Because, man, if I tell you how many people say they know what they want and that at the time can’t come up with their own idea because deep down they’re not ready to make that commitment or because they’re not quite sure what to do.
As an indecisive person by nature, I tell you: you don’t have to be 100 percent firm in your choices to put some ideas into practice. You can try, test, redo. No one will charge you a breach of contract fee and you don’t have to write anything in stone. Everything is changeable, but you do have to have a good reason to be doing that.
This always greatly increases our power of action. Even if you don’t have a plan. Even if you don’t know, on the starting line, what will be the exact course you will be running? It’s a bit of that maxim: when we want, we do. I know this idea is reductionist, but I want to take a little break to ask you to search for your hidden motivation with love.
Why do you want to put this project to work? Who is making you? How will it improve your future? And why do you always think about it and never do? What circumstances are you missing? Is it lack of motivation or some more practical detail? When the fuel is good everything works well.
Decide precisely what you want
One of the processes that I see most happening is this one, look: the person says he wants to get X. He programs himself to do X, creates corresponding and very realistic tasks, but in the middle, because of something that someone said or because of a mental process of his own, he changes his mind.
Suddenly he doesn’t want X anymore, he wants X.2. It changes the ultimate goal without changing the plan. And that’s a great recipe for disaster.
If you have already noticed what handful of projects you are really trying to do in practice, and never get it, the next logical step is really to define which project it is. With practical words that really draw an idea possible to exist, such as: “I want to stop being sedentary.” Perfect!
This is a very realistic goal. You may not know how to put it into practice yet, but planning for this project comes in a second moment. For now, you just need to decide what you want. Then, you will hit the hammer in the exact form that you will do it.
Stopping being a sedentary person is trillions of times different from running a 5K race. Do you notice the subtle difference? (Irony). When you understand why you are combing into doing that and putting your wonderful idea into the world, you gain more clarity in what you want to do, literally. Of all the things you can do in this whole world (and they are not few), why did you choose to do it?
What is the reason? That was the lesson of the previous section. If you have already figured out why then now is the time to write the goal. Even if you don’t know how you will get there. Most of us do not know.
If you ask me, I say that we need to be less Cartesian-Western-controller and leave things a little more in the hands of fate. Also because, as a quote I love and that I am going to rewrite freely in my words here, your initial plan is not the same as the one that gets you to your destination. It is just the first step, the first ideas. You, as a well-formed adult in society, are an intelligent person who can plan things minimally.
What do you need to go to a wedding in another state this Sunday, for example? You create a shortlist, remember the obstacles, and create solutions. Natural planning coming straight from the source. Decide exactly where you want to go and keep an eye out, for Christ’s sake, to see if you will change your mind halfway.
If that final destination no longer suits you, stop everything, think and reevaluate. I still want to start this blog? Still, want to do this class exactly? One of the worst things in life is to be internally charged with a goal that your heart has long since abandoned.
Free yourself! Or modify your goal. This requires constant vigilance, but knowing exactly what you want is the first and biggest step to getting there.
It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice
Simply put, you can create informal projects and make the tasks of this project fun. Oh, that’s great! Not every goal needs to be a Herculean sacrifice, not every goal needs to take your blood, and not all your projects need to go to your medal table.
You can have fun and you can be pretty bad at what you are doing – at least at first. I am not saying, of course, that you should not take your own projects seriously. Of course, you should.
But who created this correlation between “seriousness” and the “value” of something? Why do you have to take something seriously to really do that? You don’t have to, man. And if you know that your project is not professional, you can do things the shitty way you can. Most importantly, the funniest way you can think of. This is what blocks many ideas from seeing daylight: presuming, before you even move your finger to actually create that, you have to suffer.
“After all, fun projects don’t count,” our inner voice tells us. The pressure to create something perfect, serious, valiant, and sounding “good and noble” in the eyes of others can greatly influence our power of action. What would you do today, or tomorrow, if you didn’t have to be accountable to anyone?
Suppose you have every free Sunday some free time for you. These hours do not necessarily have to be spent on work or family. They are there waiting for you to give them a purpose. What would you choose to do?
Any parallel creative projects? An initiative to take better care of your health? Would you work some more? Tidy up the house, create something special for your children? Or simply take care of you, giving yourself some much-deserved pampering? No matter what kind of project you want to start.
It can be professional, personal or social. Whatever your project, I give you one certainty and one permission: you can do it today with grace and authenticity, just the way you are and with all the current circumstances around you. You already have everything you need.
If you find a way to go after just fun ideas (or make the boring and difficult process of some tasks into something more playful and more within your beach), nothing will stop you, man; I guarantee it.
Our organization can be easy. Not only can but must. Not only must, but it will. At least if you keep reading me & studying the naughty tips that I share here on the blog. We are in 2019 and I could be happier to occupy that space again: behind the computer, with my butt comfortably seated on the chair and typing in a half dozen ideas that will help the most attentive and willing of you to walk a very fluid path, fullness and fulfillment in 2019.
I really, really, really enjoy having a sacred space to write you longer texts. I will continue to use & honor this blog with all the love that is typical of me, but at the same time, I have beautiful & intense plans for this New Year of my blog – and in the midst of this math, something else needed to have a weight and a little less time to make room for them.
I argue, by the way, that reminds me of the first thing I need to tell you about how to create an intuitive organization and start turning the key of your head to realize that getting organized can be such a nice & light process like a picnic at Waterloopbos, Emmeloord, Netherlands.
Renegotiating is the Soul of Business
I asked another day there on Twitter how many people could make a nice and aligned weekly review. I created a poll and inserted, by way of conscience, the option “I don’t know what weekly review is.” Shocked I was (not quite a lie) when I saw that over 50% of people had checked this option.
Overall, though, what I wanted to know about that Twitter poll was something even simpler, more basic, and more humane: Do you have a guaranteed weekly time to go on a date with yourself? Do you treat your life (and therefore your life organization) as the sacred gift that it?
Having a day and a handful of hours a week set aside specifically for this is absolutely essential. I repeat in upper case: Absolutely Essential. Getting organized, after all, is nothing more than shedding light on your current life goals and understanding how you will harmonize your ambitions, wants and responsibilities with your available time.
Getting organized is asking yourself and answering yourself as honestly as possible: What do I want to do with my life today?
You would be surprised to realize how fast this response can change. We decide one day and change our mind next. We make appointments in a week and get sick soon after. We are planning an idyllic day full of beautiful projects and we need to put it all in the drawer when a wonderful opportunity or a thorny unforeseen comes at our door.
Before thinking about the most technical and specific details of your organization, I want you to have your way of setting aside at least two hours a week to go on a date with yourself. This is a strategic & conference meeting, in which case – it can be any day between Friday and Sunday.
What works best for you will obviously be your best choice. Creating the habit – intuitive, natural and spontaneous – of stopping all the usual rush and asking yourself a bunch of honest questions is worth a lot more than a thousand Excel spreadsheets or applications with rigorous labels and super-rigid plans.
Especially if you consider yourself a freshman than a college veteran, follow my advice: start small. Every week, you’ll sit down with yourself, grab your favorite drink, create a nice, fun, distraction-free environment, and answer those questions:
Are the deals I made with myself last week still valid? If I could do what else would make me happy now, whatever it was, what would I do?
What are the top three tasks I need to do for next week? Are there any loose ends from last week that I need to solve? The organization is nothing more than the ability to negotiate with oneself. It may be a little laborious at first, but it’s mine that you get along with: it’s very worth it.
Be Aware of Ears
What the eyes do not see, the heart does not feel, was saying that popular somewhat macho saying. Save some situations, this phrase fits perfectly well with my advice of the day to you: For your life to reflect your true priorities and you enjoy the time you have on this wonderful Earth, you need to know what is going on inside – from your head. Of course, I know this is an abyss that can reveal to you a tangle of things you’d rather not even know about.
I understand you fully. Ignorance is a gift, to some extent. But think about it: your organization is also, when you stop to analyze, a path of emotional, energetic & spiritual connection with yourself. The word “organize” may be more practical and theoretical and mental and masculine, with all that energy of ordering chaos and putting everything in its place, but it also brings us to our need for self-awareness, fluidity, and sensitivity.
No one organizes what they don’t see or know exists. So that you can make these two movements with ease and grace (understanding what your heart is feeling on one side of the coin, and at the same time directing this movement towards an effective, organized and well-informed solution, outcome or initiative).
You need to be aware of these movements themselves. That is: they need to exist somewhere outside your head. All this argument and theory to make you agree and accept a very basic and very good tip: have a reliable inbox and put everything on your mind into it at least once a day.
Being mindful & strong & ready for life is a process that first involves emptying. No one can come up with original ideas & get their plans out of the drawer & take a deep breath in a time of challenge with a mind full of things, an anguished heart and a totally messy life. Creating an inbox can be as simple as having a notebook just for that.
My general recommendation is that you have, if possible, at least three inboxes. Your WhatsApp is one of them, for example. To optimize your time, do this: Create a group there with two other people, whoever they are. Next, go to group settings and remove these people.
Name the group “inbox” or something, and pin that group to the top of your conversation list. Every time someone asks you for something or you read or hear something worth saving, forward the message to your inbox. Review it a few times a week.
Your email is a natural and intuitive inbox. I don’t think I need to give any tips here. Last but most importantly, have an inbox for you to vent everything you are thinking about, enter the insights & illuminations that occurred to you throughout the day.
Write down the details of your current projects and write down all the tasks you need to do throughout this month. It can be a list app, it can be a Word document, a note in Evernote, or a simple, nice notebook full of lines. The idea is to get everything out of your head and then put everything in place.
Think of something to buy in the market? Play in the inbox. Did you think you would love to swim naked in the Caribbean islands one day? Inbox! Remember something you need to buy for a wedding next month? Inbox! Got an idea for a new text? Inbox
Think of this portal as a great all-embracing hug: it knows no bounds and discriminates nothing. All information that comes with an action verb (I need to do x, one day I would like to have y) is worth recording.
Perfection is not covered for the time being, of course, but go, little by little and as long as your memory allows you, noting the ideas that pass to your mind. Set aside a time of day, or a few days of the week, to see these items and decide what to do with them.
Where Do You Want To Go, Alice?
“Could you please tell me which way to go from here?” Asked Alice.
“It depends a lot on where you want to go,” said the Cat.
“The place doesn’t matter much,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
This dialogue has many, many layers and I would need another whole text to highlight all the interesting lessons and points of view it can bring you, but let’s take it easy. It is here today to illustrate that old universal truth: If you don’t know where you want to go, don’t complain about being lost.
This is not to say that you should cross out all the spontaneity and surprises of your life.
Of course not! You do not need to send the Universe a detailed, closed set of the exact coordinates of your next destination. Many things beyond your control will cross your path and push you onto unexpected roads anyway. But you do need to be connected and connected to your true current priority.
You can do anything, practically, it’s true – but you can’t do everything. Much less at the same time. Much less with the same amount and quality of attention, creativity, innovation and emotional breadth.
A very simple exercise that I love to pass on to my readers goes like this: grab a notebook and make it your priority notebook. Other people would call these decisions “goals of the week,” but I have been abolishing that word from my vocabulary for some time (another day I work out why). On the first page write today’s date, and then below, write 1 to 3 maximum priorities for your current life – valid priorities for today.
Write these priorities as clearly as possible. What is the desired outcome that these priorities will materialize? What is behind this generic intention to “pay more attention to my health?” What will be your specific and personalized way of living that intention over the next few weeks?
Spend time working and talking to yourself to identify the desired outcomes that are behind your priorities if they are too abstract at first. Under these phrases write the predicted time window by which they will be your priorities.
One week? Two weeks? One month? There is no right and wrong answer, I am sorry to inform you. This exercise is your own Tetris game: over time you get the morning on which priorities fit best in which time window.
If your priority needs many tasks and projects to complete and it will take up a lot of internal space, it may extend for more than three weeks. If your three priorities are small tasks, small but urgent & valuable to you, a week or ten days is probably enough for you to accomplish them – review this notebook and do this exercise in your weekly meeting with your organization.
Time blocks are groupings of tasks that you do throughout your week, day, month, or year. There are two major dangers that can sabotage this operation and more than a thousand reasons for you to exercise this concept in your weekly routine.
Starting with the main one, that is: grouping tasks saves a lot of the time you would lose by distracting, losing focus and doing more work. Put in a didactic way, the logic behind the blocks of time is the same logic that makes you gather several pieces of dirty clothes before going to wash the clothes. Putting a pair of socks in the washing machine will not be so less laborious so placing a whole basket.
The cost of preparation and the cost of attendance that exists when you switch focus every 5 minutes is usually high. The more creative and demanding the task, the higher the cost.
These words come out of the mouth of someone who has been motivated by the same wrong motives. I’m talking about a chair, then. The first crooked and devious motivation that cannot get into your pretty little head is the one that tells you that you need to fill your day with useful, productive, and proactive tasks.
Looking at your day as an empty bucket that needs to be filled up to the stalk (as if idleness, sleep, leisure, and rest were not deserving enough to occupy your time) is the wrongest prospect possible. The blocks of time will make you more productive, yes.
So that you can rightly have better quality sleep, spend more time with the people you love, see more series & movies, read more books and, in general, have fun with all the pomp and occasion you deserve.
Life is not a useless thing that one needs to become productive and you do not have to run against the clock every day of your week. If your motivation is full of things to do, your perception will be compromised and you will eventually forget about your blocks of rest time.
And this is something I disapprove a hundred and fifty percent.
The second, very common mistake is to think that blocks of time need to be tied to the specific times of the day. That good old Excel table, which in the right column lists all hours of the day from six in the morning until midnight, where you outline exactly when you start and finish each of your task groups – Do you know how?
I’ve done that a lot. What a basic mistake, a rude mistake, on my part. Life does not happen in a timely manner, people. Your blocks of time will follow specific habits, conducts, and contexts of the day that are repeated (lunchtime, bedtime, when you get home from work, time your child goes to school) that can happen at different times.
The average task time window is much more realistic & important than the exact and specific time.
Your ideal days’ time blocks
If you have a store in Amsterdam or sell something online, you know it: it does not make sense to go to the Post Office for a single product. The work and effort of leaving the house, facing the queue and everything else become much more bearable and optimized when you tie other things to be sent.
Or, perhaps, when you group other tasks to do on the street on that same trip. Grouping similar tasks on weekdays or specific periods of the day will save your energy in the right measure – not too much, not too much. The amount of life and attention we lose trying to be multitasking is unbelievable.
Now, thinking about your ideal workday (and joining your chronotype test result), answer: What kind of task makes the most sense for me to do in the morning? And after lunch? Am I a productive person at night? Do I need to wait for my children to sleep to work? Or do I like to get up early, wake up before everyone else to do my hardest and most creative tasks early in the morning?
Creating blocks of time will save you from making some decisions throughout the week.
I have, for example, a block of time for creative tasks every day in the morning. Whether studying an in-depth subject, viewing an online course, writing texts, recording videos, creating guidelines for my clients, or adjusting my organizational system, the morning is my golden period of creativity – I am always putting more profound and sensitive tasks in this period.
When I sit down at my table, after drinking coffee and doing my morning rituals, I have a pretty large range of creative tasks to do, but I’m not limited to any specific task, do you?
You should not tie dates to tasks that can be done on any given day. Your blocks of time, however, will lessen your choices of which tasks to do at any given time. It’s like a Tetris game: on the one hand, your level of energy, attention, and patience at that very moment, and on the other, all your tasks.
Knowing your chronotype and understanding the changes in your energy throughout the day are skills that will help you make the fit as best you can and with the least amount of pain.
Think about your ideal day, taking all of this into account, and create flexible, time-based blocks of habits.
At night, for me, the leisure time block arrives, for example. I have learned that I cannot work until the wee hours and do not work long, seven or nine hours a day, without compromising my next-day mood. And since I have this luxury, I use and abuse it.
My block of leisure time, rest and social life begins in the late afternoon when it begins to dusk. There is no right time for this, and that time varies throughout the week, of course. But the trigger of getting dark out there works great for me. I am a solar pet: I love the day, I love the sun.
Week, month, and year time blocks
Applying this logic at greater intervals of time, ask yourself: what are the difficult tasks (which require a dive, dedication and a little more attention) that I can do once a week?
For me, for example, programming social networking posts and writing blog posts fall into this category. You enter the network, search for hashtags, take photos, and create captions. If you’re not careful, you invest more than an hour a day doing this every day.
And as much as social networks are relevant to me, let’s take it easy. It’s not at Instagram that I’m going to deposit my precious daily energy.
Instead, I shoot two Fridays of the month to schedule two weeks of content – which means for me to get eight shots and create eight captions. When you think about your time blocks that happen once a week or a few times a month, ask yourself: Does this task really have to happen on a specific day?
Chances are the answer will almost always be: no! Then, you can and should allow yourself to be flexible with that date.
Sometimes I do it on Sunday, sometimes Friday. Same thing for my own blog. I’m still experimenting with this frequency, but I’ve already tried two blog posts in a single day, every week, and two posts in a single day – thus widening the frequency of that block of time to twice in the month. Grouping your holiday weeks, if you are self-employed, is also a great idea.
Representing your time blocks visually
Putting your hand in the dough, I recommend getting a sheet of white paper, horizontally, and draw seven columns – one for each day of the week. Think of your time blocks as guidelines and think about what your ideal day would look like, taking advantage of all the flexibility you can have in your week.
It does so by taking account, moreover, of its fixed recurring commitments. Draw a line horizontally, cutting all the columns, to demarcate your time to wake up. It may be late, it may be early. What is the first block of time after that? Write down what kind of task you will do after you wake up and do it visually. This week’s guideline framework is a benchmark – and so it should always be in view, in an easy and customary place to look.
It is what will give you the parameter of the type of task that is good for you to do in each period of the day. If you have specific themes for each day of the week (Wednesday is the day of external meetings, Friday is the day of resolving on the street and Sunday morning is the time to go to the market and make food) write this at the top of that day’s column.
Always remembering, of course, that deciding how often that block of time in your week (going to the market once or twice a week?) is much more important than the specific day. Remember also, of course, that all this is experimentation.
It’s not a straightjacket. It is not something written in stone.
For task groupings that are repeated only a few times a month, I recommend putting a reminder on your calendar (I do this with social networks) and knowing that the specific day of that task can change. If it does not have to be actually done that day, give yourself the flexibility to stick to it.
In these years of attending and chatting with people, I have confirmed something obvious: we are always part of an abstract intention, initially, and we need to keep the focus and decision to take our plans from the role of truth.
Materializing ideas and formulating desires is reduced to this, essentially: decide, bet and act.
Recently, I realized that many people still confuse intentions with directions. This is our nature, to a certain extent. Beat a will, an inspiration, we see the example of someone leading a lifestyle that we long for and fantasize what our life would be if X happened.
This is the beginning of the journey, really. But starting to walk, you know, is not the same as reaching the final destination. This text, innovative short and direct to the standards of the writer of this blog, will take you in a course of 3 exercises to give you more chances to materialize your goals for next year.
Or even this year, who knows?
Be aware of your intentions
The good part of this party starts with our imagination a thousand – and, at this stage, I recommend loosening the chick as much as possible.
The first step in this journey is often the best of all: to dream, to capture some references and to feel in there what is the new reality that you want to bring into your life.
Some questions that can help you make this reflection!
What are the subtle or grandiose opportunities that have been knocking on my door in recent weeks?
What sneaky ideas have passed through my head the last few days – and I, without attention, let myself escape?
What is that Great Impossible Idea that, no matter how much I pretend not to want, always comes poking me in the middle of the night?
Who was the last person I talked to who had a practice, a habit, or a lifestyle much like what I’d really like to have?
How does this person live that lifestyle in practice?
If I needed to choose a single area of focus to develop in my life next year, what would it be?
What area of focus, if flourished and cultivated, will it bring benefits, joys, and good changes to my life as a whole?
What repentance, frustration or emotional knot I do not want to charge for next year? And what can I do about it now, this year?
My biggest recommendation for this step is to create a warm, authentic and inner ritual for you to think, reflect on and bathe in your abstract wills.
Early on you may, for example, think that you would love to feel more energized, more disposed and with a more resilient body. This is a health goal at first, and it would be a very good thing to have.
You still do not know how this abstract feeling will happen and materialize in your life now, at that exact point in time and space. Not yet!
You care about that already. For now, we are on the terrain of imagining and wishing.
Set aside an afternoon or a quiet, energized morning to create your own ritual of co-creation.
Another very good idea to fertilize your desires is to enter Pinterest, create a folder called “2019” or “my life in 2019” and save several images that, however crude they may be, contain something (a color, an action, a feeling) that you want very much to live.
Put a song that matches the ideas in this folder and stay for a few hours in this power pool. This will, right now, align with your intentions and facilitate the next steps, I assure you.
Rational Mind to Play
To continue this path and bring your abstract intentions into practice, it is time for you to call your Rational Mind to play and help you group, categorize, and cleans up your creative desires.
Look at the answers you gave to the previous questions, enter your Pinterest folder and start grouping the similar intentions and giving a more palpable format to them.
If you wrote twenty intentions, realize: which of these ideas are sisters? Similar and similar things that could be grouped into one thing? What intentions are the most ardent in you now, today?
Write each of these intentions in the center of a sheet of paper and start mapping.
You can write several things in the center of this sheet. In the realm of intentions, there is no right and wrong.
There is only what moves you, what animates you and the words you find to express it. “Being a more sophisticated person” is an intention. “Feeling good in my own body” is another.
Here are some examples, more or less abstract, to inspire you in the second step of this journey: make a career transition, write a book, spend more time with children, solve the problem Y, create a financial reserve, diversify your card of professional activities, travel more, cultivate hobbies that do you good, take care of your mental health daily, strengthen the bonds with the friends.
The examples are a thousand and they are as diverse as the people who create them.
Write each intention in the center of a different sheet.
You can write as many as you want, but as a good perfectionist, I always reinforce that direction exceeds speed. Do not be tempted to compensate for all the years of missed goals in a single sitting.
It will hurt you more than benefit you, believe me. Now, pulling little sketches to the sides and edges of the sheet, write down some of the tasks, projects or changes you can make to shape that intention in your life.
If you wrote “taking care of my mental health,” for example, focus on that idea for a few minutes and make a rainfall of ways to make it happen in practice.
For now, you are not committing to any of them. You’re just weighing your options.
Think of the phrase from the center of your leaf as the destination where you want to get and the options of projects and tasks from the edges of the leaf as the specific roads and means of transport that you will choose to get there.
If the center of its leaf were a geographical place, it could be South of France, for example.
The projects, then, would be the routes you would take to get there. The ways of arriving in the same place differ greatly from person to person, from one moment of life to another moment of life, from case to case.
Write several project options, connect well with what you really want (and not with society’s conventional ways of doing that particular thing), think about their practical availability (time, money, energy, resources, and help) and do this Rain of ideas for all your intentions.
What is the desired result?
Intentions pushed out and mapped possible paths, now lacking only the cherry of your cake: the practical, firm and the material decision of which is the desired result you want to have in your life.
Now is the time to go back to your mind map, look at the phrase you wrote in the center, and write it again. This time with a clear verb of action and more specific details about his will.
To get one of the examples from above, suppose you wrote: “spend more time with my children.” Intention excellent, noble and very commendable – But now?
When that happens in your week, or in your day, how exactly is it going to be? What is the image that comes to mind when you think about it? In what way will this intention exist, in the same hard, in your daily life? Do you want to devote one hour of your morning to play with your daughter? Or thirty minutes every night reading stories to your child?
Will you book a weekend period (morning, afternoon or evening) to take a special, yummy and creative outing with your children? Or will you start a craft project with them soon this week?
What can you do then? Which way are you available to tread?
Think about that question and answer it on paper, shovel it up to the back of the sheet where you started to make your mind map: what do I want to happen in my life, in a practical and visible way, when that intention is fulfilled? Of all the possible options, to which of them do I have more resources and more availability?
Rewrite your intent by placing this new phrase in the middle of another sheet.
The old abstract will “travel more” has now turned into “making a short trip every month.” Or, if you can, write something more specific: “travel for a whole weekend every month.”
The level of clarity is not as important as the fact that you have reached your next level of clarity, do you?
“Strengthening ties with friends” can turn into several things: “call a friend for lunch every Friday” or “accept a different invitation from my friends at least once a month.”
It could be “call a friend to make a Skype every week” or even “visit so-and-so in the building where they work every Monday.” Once you have done this, look at the projects and tasks you wrote in the first draft of your mind map and edit and cut those that no longer make sense.
Now that your direction is clearer (and the practical, visible result you want to have in your life is enlightened, conscious, and definite), not all path options are more feasible, desirable, or good. What specific projects and tasks will make this new specific result happen?
Depending on the clarity of your goal, two basic tasks can already make that happen. Who’s in charge of this party is you, after all. The only requirement is to make your projects and tasks (the practical, small, and specific steps) as clear as your desired outcome.
So starting Monday morning, you will look at the tasks on your final map and know exactly what you need to do. Good Luck!
Writing a good introduction to a text about creativity and inspiration is a half-hearted task. You want to be smart, original, bold and super unpredictable. You want to catch the attention of the reader just as hot glue picks up our finger when we are inattentive pasting something that has broken: in a surprising and irremediable way.
Then you start to think.
What can I say – so creative, authentic and wonderful – about creativity? What can I mention that has never been mentioned before? Any angle, any anecdote, some subtlety that people usually let pass?
How can I impress the reader of this article?
All this inner dialogue happens in a few minutes, of course. As the white screen stares back at you and the text cursor flashes accusingly at you. At first, you get carried away by all this madness and you embark on that mental whirlwind with gusto.
After all, a text about creativity needs to be innovative.
But at some point, in the middle of all this creativity, you intuit that there is something wrong in this reasoning. Is this how creativity works? Do I need to be the master of writing and take from the bottom of my hat half a dozen things that have never been said before to really inspire someone?
Thankfully, despite our intelligence, we can also be intuitive and reasonable at times.
Fortunately, a glimmer of light appears in the midst of the darkness of our super-advanced logical reasoning and lets in the fresh breeze of true creativity. It’s a delight when that happens.
And that’s what I want to do for you today.
I want to show you that we do not have to be a traditional artist to be creative. You do not necessarily need to dance, paint, sculpt, sing, write or embroider to get a good dose of inspiration and innovation in your weekly routine.
As Elizabeth Gilbert (an overbearing writer and my greatest muse of today) says in her book “Big Magic: Anyone who creates something is a creative person. Driving your own life already makes you an artist.”
After all, think only: making decisions, choosing paths and shaping your life in a way that pleases you is a hard job. It’s a real creation, literally speaking. You are always correcting routes, measuring your feelings and your wants and trying to create in the world things that really make you feel good. If this is not creativity, I do not know what it is anymore.
And the icing on this ice cream is this: your day-to-day is already full of opportunities for you to explore its unusual and creative side. The simplest and most mundane things are the ones that hold the greatest power to bring people to the spontaneous side of life, believe me. Magic is always in the details.
To bring this discussion to the real world and put our two feet firmly on the ground, the list down below mentions and explains twenty-three ways for you to keep your contact & your friendship with inspiration in a practical and simple way.
All these initiatives have helped me, to a greater or lesser extent, to keep my mind open and to renew my energies. Some of these suggestions may seem strange to you, but I think creativity works anyway: it takes a form and uses a different outfit for each person.
We will never be able to summarize it into a single recipe.
What works for me may not work for you, and that’s fine. This list is more to warm your urge to get out of your traditional, boring and repetitive way and go test something new. A simple spark of interest can already open a new world of interesting and different things that you never imagined existed. Without further ado, let’s follow this white rabbit.
Keep reading this article carefully in order to get the most out of it!
Read a book without knowing anything about it before
That I already bought a book just because the cover was beautiful is nothing new.
I’ve also accepted recommendations from people’s books that I do not even know and ended up loving reading too much. This is as true to books as it is for the rest of your life, saw: you never know where and when you will find a wonderful thing that fits perfectly well with you. Or that it challenges you, somehow. If you’ve never done that, I suggest you do it.
Let yourself be carried away by instincts and impulses that are not very understandable: take a walk in a bookstore on a rainy day and pick up books that look beautiful or different. Accept suggestions from readings from people you do not know and ask your colleagues and friends what books they would tell you to read. Do not look for any information about them later.
Just read. You never know what you will find behind those pages.
Send a letter to yourself and only open it in a year
I do not even know how to start telling you the benefits and consequences of this simple yet powerful exercise. I would need another text to talk about this, so for now, I’ll stick to telling you very emphatically that you really need to do this later this year.
Write a letter – those with paper and pen and that requires you to move your hand, do you know how? -Talking to yourself in a year or six months. Talk about your current life moment and say what you would like to have been true for your future self.
Close the letter, put an address of someone you know as the sender and put yourself, with your real address, as the recipient. You will feel the power of this exercise on the skin, I assure you. Another option is to enter the Future Me website and write an email for yourself. You tell the date on which you would like to receive your email-letter and the website itself sends you what you have written.
Take an experimental lesson in some physical activity
I’m far from being an athlete, but I love to give experimental classes too much. It is the perfect opportunity for you to return to that innocent state and regain your beginner’s mind. When you do not know and get all clumsy trying to learn, you know how?
This is too precious. You do not have to do anything too bold or too scary, but that experience is sure to help you expand your field of expertise. You will expose yourself, listen to criticism, depend on another person to hit the move, and above all, prove to yourself that you are able to put your finger in the water of a pool totally different from yours.
I already did experimental martial arts and dance class. These two branches of bodily activity are the ones that most appeals to me and I have wonderful memories of these moments of “sticking to the top.”
Write a letter to a friend and do not say anything to the person
Did I ever say I love writing letters? And that I love even more to receive letters?
This may make me sound like a homesick old nostalgic but I really miss that mental disposition. I miss when we would allow ourselves to stop everything and write a letter to someone. When the recipient is someone and with whom we have a special affinity, the thing gets much better.
Imagine the surprise he or she will not have when they see an envelope with your name on their mailbox? Providing this care and for someone special is priceless and for sure will also help bring more spontaneity into your life.
Make a totally different recipe from everything you’ve ever done before
Stirring with food is another thing that can help you get out of your comfort zone. Especially if, like me, you are not very much in the kitchen. Even though I’m far from being a chef, I just love to get different, cute recipes and try to replicate in practice that beautiful result I see in recipe books.
Choose the type of food you like to eat and try to make at least a very different and innovative recipe every week. Take a few hours of your leisure time to mess up the kitchen a bit and indulge in your work of art.
Write a short story or sketch a fictional character
Not everyone is a writer, but everyone can tell a story. So much so that your mind opens up when you start thinking of plot and personal characteristics to give to your characters. It’s wonderful and too liberating. You do not even need to write ten or five full pages. Begin by writing only a few paragraphs from a story that was etched in your memory.
It may have happened to you or someone you know, it does not matter. You can also tell this story aloud to someone or record a narration of it on your cell phone. The format is less. But to see life through another person’s eyes and try to understand and absorb a different point of view of yours opens a lot of our mind, you can bet.
Change color, texture or size of hair
It may not be your beach, but for me, there is something very comforting and exhilarating to see that I can be a totally different person just by changing the style or color of my hair.
You will learn a little that the style you have on the outside may be totally unusual, but your inside remains the same. You learn not to cling so strongly to appearances and accept that nothing in this life is truly fixed. A cool metaphor and a great way to add a big dose of creativity to your day-to-day life.
To stay one day without touching the cell phone and the computer
This tip here is to be used without moderation along with any other idea in this list. Any initiative for creativity and inspiration can be more powerful when you do not get around to your mobile phone every five minutes to see WhatsApp notifications. And, nothing against.
I love technology and I’m sure a lot of the incredible things in life happen because we have access to the virtual world. But let’s agree: it has already become commonplace by this time of the championship and sometimes it gets us in a lot of trouble.
The movement to go against the current, nowadays, is precisely to take two steps back and enjoy the analog life a little while we have time. I did it this year and I say that this was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
Three whole days without a computer, lots of hours, each of those days away from the cell phone, several different tours and programs, and zero worries and knowing what was happening to the world or who wanted to talk to me. That gives such a great renewed in ideas!
Chatting with someone you know online, but never talked to
Spontaneously, with nothing to lose. It could be someone you follow on Twitter or Instagram or someone who added you to Facebook because of an event and with whom you never really talked. Leave a comment on a post or send a private message saying that you enjoyed X or Y too much. It is important that the content of your message is sincere, of course.
Those small connections to people we would probably never know otherwise is one of the most beautiful pearls the internet has to give us. So, it is important to make good use of it. It is amazing how much joy and pleasure we can have with things as small as pulling a carefree conversation with another human being. Beautiful indeed!
Get directions to good podcasts with friends and listen to one a day
Podcasts, for those who do not know, are like radio programs that you can listen to on your cell phone or computer. The cool wave of podcasts is that you can listen to something super cool, interesting or funny while doing other chatty activities in life – which, without this podcast, would be far less stimulating.
Meditate looking at the mirror
Meditation basically means training your attention and spending time with yourself: watching your breathing, your feelings and thoughts and doing the exercise of going back to the present moment.
And of all ways of meditating, this is my favorite. We already spend so much time facing the outside world that only 5 minutes looking at yourself already gives another dimension to things. There is nothing magical or spiritual about this meditation or at least, you do not have to if you do not want to.
But try stopping for three minutes, every day, and facing your reflection in the bathroom mirror. Breathe, turn your attention to your image and that’s it. With time and constancy, you will see the practical results of this exercise sprout.
Make a course totally unnecessary for your career
Is there anything better to learn? And is there anything better than putting new ideas and points of view into practice? It’s even better when we take a little risk and end up quite surprised. What course, immersion, or experience have you always wanted to do, but have you always thought it would be kind of useless?
Doing something new and not directly affecting your work is a super wonderful way to meet people you would never know otherwise and to let the sea of innovation and creativity soak your feet a little.
Take care of your Night Sleep
There are few things in this world that help our creativity, willingness and patience to test new things better than a good, deep night’s sleep. But, okay, let’s take it easy: I know that sleeping well is not always something that we can control and make happen by pure willpower.
And that’s okay: turn around and we’ll have a really bad night. But pay attention and take care of your nightly routine. Avoid using your cell phone and computer at least one hour before bedtime and lie in bed just before the time you really need to be asleep if you have a fixed time to wake up.
Take the television and the computer out of your room, leave the room as dark and cool as possible and – most important of all, immediately go to bed. Create a buffer between your state of alertness of the day and your state of relaxation of the night.
Some of my best days happened just after a good night’s sleep and I thank God for giving me this gift of getting a good night’s sleep, amen.
Traveling to a farm or a secluded place totally immersed in nature
This is a wonderful way to refresh your ideas and take advantage of time away from your cell phone, computer, and the commonplace things of the big city. Nature, by itself, is already a gigantic and free source of energy for us. Enjoy it!
This idea involves having money, but you can always find a little bit of nature near where we already live. Breathe in the fresh air, see trees and flowers, and go to the waterfalls. Your mind will blossom again with twice the energy and patience after this little trip.
We do not notice, but the big city race life takes away a lot of us – in the form of attention, energy and crazy stimuli drawing attention all the time. This is a super gift you can give to yourself and to your wellness and mental health before the end of the year.
Buy a special gift for someone you totally love out of season
I love doing this too much! Training the look to find simple and meaningful gifts for someone you love and surprise that person at a totally unexpected time is something that will nourish everyone involved. It’s great to be focused on doing well and rejoicing someone else’s life and getting focus from your little problems.
Do you have a friend who is going through an especially difficult time? Someone you like a lot and who might not know how much she or he means to you? This will open your respiratory veins of creativity and you will still use your imaginative potential to enhance someone’s day.
Pure gain and zero loss!
Watch a movie alone
Breaking the patterns and getting out of our normal way is a way of drawing and falling to sharpen your imagination and your creativity. So why not apply this to movies, too? You know as well as I do that, most movie theaters always do the same thing.
They have their place in the world and certainly deserve a little of their attention as well. But swimming along with the current all the time necessarily means forgetting the more alternative productions and works. Those who do not say what everyone is saying and that put us in ways less obvious and sometimes less comfortable.
Going alone and without company is an extra seasoning. The more you can remind yourself that you, too, are in good company, the better. Loneliness and being alone can be two profoundly different things. And it’s always worth cultivating a little more of our attention and presence to ourselves.
Go to the beach watching the sunset
Does this idea need explanation here? More you near the beach or not, it does not matter: take a little time on a weekend of the month or on a lost day of the week to visit the sky of your city and enjoy nature. Simple, fast and cheap. A beautiful sunrise or sunset inspires people in many ways, whether they are conscious or not.
Attend a TED lecture every day
If you do not know the TED talks, you’re wasting your time. They are incredible, inspiring and have every pearl hidden in that site, which is ours. The topics covered are super varied (technology, design, and education are the main topics) and you will definitely find something that you like – or, better yet, something that you did not even know was so interesting.
Opening your mind to new knowledge is something that can be done directly from the comfort of your bed or your sofa. Combine this little habit with some nice part of the day and do it even for a week. Again: it’s free.
Assemble a playlist to a friend
One more idea for the pile of cool, cheap things that cost nothing and that will put a beautiful smile on someone else’s mouth. These are my favorite tips, be serious.
I put the theme of the playlist as “songs to give you luck.” That is: they were dance songs, inspiring and joyful. This is a way for you to pass some of yourself, your taste and your worldview to someone else.
Especially when you know someone who could use a little more encouragement and strength. Making the musical selection of this playlist is also super cool: you begin to reason which songs fit that theme and which ones give you the feeling you want that person to have when you listen to them. A great way to exercise creativity.
Say “yes” to a ride you would never do normally
Want to break the ice of your creativity with a flying saucer? Accept the invitation from a friend or acquaintance who called you to do something you would never do alone.
If you want to play at the advanced level, say “yes” also for those rides that you really would never really do. Those things you do not even like to think about, do you know how? But if that’s too much, choosing something unexpected and spontaneous that was not on your schedule already counts.
As a methodical person, a little inflexible and who loves to schedule every day of the week that I am, I tell you that this is a very cool way to introduce fresh air into your routine. The more accustomed you are to programming and having a structured routine, the more you have to do it.
I did this a few times this year and it felt wonderful! I felt more confident, stronger and with richer world experience. And best of all: no matter how uncomfortable I’ve been on these tours, I did not die. Victory!
Write your thoughts in a notebook for half an hour
There’s so much going on between your two ears that you do not know. This exercise is at the heart of all the unlocking of creativity and energy renewal. Whether it’s writing or talking aloud, releasing your stream of thought and beginning to describe what you feel will help you a lot to get to know yourself better. It is like a remedy for emotional and mental constipation.
If you cannot freely admit your own ideas, feelings, and desires to yourself today, when are you going to be able to? It will make you get used to the act of looking at yourself, accepting what you see, and moving on. It is an exercise of attention and humility of the best kind.
Participate in a ceremony and be fully present at the moment
Marriage, funeral, graduation, christening: no matter the type. Ceremonies are very loaded moments of beautiful meanings but, for some reason, people usually get beaten by them. The moment things are rolling sometimes we just disconnect.
But I’ll tell you that some of the most inspiring and magical moments of my life happened during ceremonies. There is something about being together with other people to witness that ritual that really moves me.
Have you noticed that we usually dress better for the ceremonies? There is a more dignified, respectful and humble posture in people in general. We are silent, observe, and usually hear the words of who is leading that situation.
Be more present at the ceremonies that run through the year and stay tuned. You may end up taking something (a word, a feeling, and a connection of ideas) super valuable there.
Talking to yourself in another language and out loud
That will broaden your horizons to hell, even if you are not fluent. Who cares if you say something wrong, too? The goal is to try to be submerged in another way of thinking, speaking and concatenating ideas. No one will be listening to scold you.
If you are studying a language, this is mandatory. I taught Dutch for several years and passed this exercise to each of my students, no matter how many of them thought I was crazy.
You do not need – and will not – hit the whole structure of the sentence. But you get a little closer to that language and, little by little will unlock your difficulty or your strangeness with that specific way of putting the sentences together.
What are your ways to spice up and innovate your routine a bit? What do you usually do when you’re feeling stagnant and stuck in your old ways? You can help me to increase this list! Life was made to be enjoyed without moderation.
Do not let yourself get so used to your surroundings and your manias before you shake things up.
Begin to realize the opportunities you have in everyday life to make your existence a little more interesting. After all, the only person who can feed and take good care of you is yourself. Training your creativity muscle is absolutely essential for this.
So, in this article, I have given you some of the most amazing ideas and tips that you can practice in order to be more creative. Good Luck!
We talk so much about productivity, performance and working with focus, attention, and energy, we often forget the other side of this coin: rest and recovery of these same energies.
Without the merit of the question of who is right or who is wrong (or how much the internet speech revolves around one side or another of this coin), the central truth is that well-lived life needs to be nurtured by a varied set and well mixed with opposing forces.
Vitality, on the one hand, and emptiness on the other.
This article will address this second type of force and I need to say that the motivation to write about it is totally and entirely personal. Because I myself have been through a period of tiredness, overload, and even mild stress, and also because I see many people around me go through the same type of thing.
I’m not interested in this article discussing the details or explaining the most common causes that make people feel stressed. I’m interested in practical solutions to this.
After thinking a lot and analyzing what I advise myself and to my friends (who comes to me often with the “I cannot take this stress” speech), I found it fair to speak of the six basic and main attitudes which, if kept in your lifestyle, will help you.
After all, your energy is your most precious asset. And while it’s really cool to talk about productivity and organization (such as ways to save time, money, and do more), the truth is that none of this succeeds if you’re exhausted and deep in the well.
Your life is not balanced: it is mixed
We need to change the focus of our words because, as you know, the way we talk about things and the ways we verbalize our thoughts shape and affect (and much) the way we deal with those same things.
Trying to strike a balance, as many texts, videos, and people suggest, is to admit beforehand that all parts of your life need to be compensated with something else. And that is not always the case.
Sometimes you want to dedicate yourself fully to work. And? Sometimes you need it, too.
It is not always a matter of choice. None of this means, be aware, that you cannot strive to have a varied and creative life, made up of many different types of projects. Of course, you can.
But again, I bring the reality card to the table and I remind you that not always your daily life will be absolutely ideal, utopian and perfect. In a few days, you will need to work harder, put out fires and respond to the demands of others.
On other days, you will need to take care of a friend, spend more time with your mother, father, son or daughter and make time in your schedule to take care of a health emergency that has come up with someone.
On certain days, though, you’ll just lie idly or drop on the couch, watching TV and staring at the ceiling – and everything is fine.
Life is not a mathematical equation that needs to have a certain, round, and constant result.
Life is the sum of many parts. An eternal roller coaster and an eternal symbol of yin-yang: with moments of work within your personal life and moments of leisure within your work.
What are your priorities?
A problem as old as the sun is that many people are still trying to do everything. Crazy, right?
But when you sit down to plan your day or your week, more often than you would intuit, you overestimate the number of things you can do at the same time. I’m going to take care of my kids perfectly well, play a lot with them, teach a lot of cool things, go to the gym four or five times a week.
I’ll make time to date, have sex, and hang out with friends every time I want, and I’m still going to take 10 on all college subjects, get that job promotion, and sleep 8 hours a night every day.
In what world is it possible to have a perfect life? Certainly not here, folks.
We need to have clear priorities and build a picture, as detailed as possible, of what is the next level of progress that we want to have this year, this month or this week. What part of your life, however small, can you improve today?
Until the day is over, you need to do at least one thing, however small, related to each of your top priorities. What are the really important and relevant parts of your life right now?
Leaving medium-term planning aside, focusing on how you live your days is a terribly simple and deeply transformative exercise that can, on its own, help you understand what kind of mix and composition you want and/or need to have in your life now.
This can change in a month or a day. Catastrophes happen, political events happen, good surprises also happen. Life is cyclical and part of your job is to always be on your toes to change the course of your actions when some event, internal or external, moves you.
Take care of your sleep, your food and move
We sometimes forget, in the midst of the mad rush and the impossible goals of everyday life, which is really important. If this is your case (as it may be mine too, do not deny it or deny it), consider this phrase as a vital reminder: The most important thing in your life is doing the things that keep you alive.
The first thing that flies through the window, in times of effort, sacrifice, and crisis, is usually food – or sleep. Or, then, the exercises. And maybe even, who knows, the three of them together.
For now, it’s no time to give you any practical hints as to how you can facilitate these three essential processes – this is a subject for another article. I just want to emphasize the obvious: without food, without sleep and without the minimum of physical activity, your body can not self-regulate as well.
By saying the same thing in other words, you cannot guarantee the minimum health necessary for your body to take care of you in the exalted way with which it is able to care. The main (and only) person responsible for spreading your life is you. Do not put this expectation on anyone. You simply cannot function well for long if one of these three Basic Pillars of Health is ignored.
Automate irrelevant decisions
Far from me wanting you to become a machine or a robot without feelings, you know. The footprint of this tip is not to strip your free will of your day to day, quite the opposite: the purpose is to strengthen the points that drain your energy.
We must learn to decide our decisions. That is: not to go back, not to doubt and not to rethink the things that we have already evaluated that are good for us. Mainly because, as you know, our brain (the most primitive part of it) loves to spare us the discomfort.
We are made to avoid all that can bring about our death – physical or metaphorical.
On one side of the coin, this is a boring problem. Many good decisions, about good and healthy habits of people to have, end up going through the Doubt Trail because, unconsciously and irrationally, our brain wants to save us from that unknown danger. Changing behavior, even eradicating some of our shortcomings, however good it may be in theory, is extremely uncomfortable.
It is in the midst of this collapse that the famous fatigue of decision arises.
Once you know the three little healthy habits you want to implement, decide not to go back on that decision. I know this is easier said than done, but it’s worth insisting. Take these small lifestyle changes as irreversible and unbreakable.
Focus on what’s really important
At the end of the day, do you feel that you have dedicated yourself to the handful of tasks (creative, sensitive, delicate and complex) that really are part of your work or your studies? Or was your attention consumed with social, bureaucratic, and “distracting” things that only made you busy?
This tip sounds silly and, to a certain point, pretty obvious, but you have a hard time making time to focus on what really matters. Getting busy with irrelevant things is always easier.
Do you really need to be more productive? Or do you just need to channel your energy well?
This is the central question that guides all this text and, in particular, this tip.
Everyone knows about you and I’m not here to tell you the important tasks of your day. The perfectionists on duty always end up finding safe and warm hiding places that save them from facing the lid. There are many forms of procrastination, but I am an expert in that and that is why it always comes to mind first.
We complain so much of the outside distractions – but do we do what to put our attention on the really valuable things? You know it’s okay to leave to answer a few emails after lunch. You know that if you turn off WhatsApp notifications and look at it only half a dozen times a day nothing bad will happen (depending on what your work is, of course).
But looking at the social networks every five minutes and not being able to leave the cell phone away are two examples of small, no important or relevant tasks that we love doing.
Because it’s easier. It is less risky, less laborious, and more secure.
Start your day with a few shitty tasks as possible and put your initial energy into things that really have to do with your year goals and your life goals. Leave the rest for later.
Stop working at the same time
Workaholics on call, unite. Let’s embrace virtually and create a thoughtform of people who know they should be taking care of themselves more than their work. Without entering into the merits of this discussion, the fact is that one must unite productive work with uncommitted leisure. Overwork is one of the safest ways you cannot work later.
I do not know you (because this varies according to the person and the biotype of each one), but if I strive to work at night (when I am, naturally, tired and without much focus) I get a Following. We do not always have that room for maneuver, of course, but for people who are self-employed or who have more flexibility at work, a hint of gold: save yourself.
Do not be the person to demand so much of yourself that you end up incapable of doing your job the next day. If there is no real urgency or no crazy time to fulfill, rest. You’re free.
The best tip I can give you is this: create a fixed schedule to stop working every day and faithfully do it.
This is super easy for some people (those who spontaneously know how to put it first), impossible for others (those who must obey third-party rules) and the path of light and salvation for a third group of people: those who are responsible for their own illnesses, for their own stress and need to remember that work is not everything in this life.
Know how to say “no” when necessary
Knowing how to say “no” is essential – both for others and for ourselves. Saying “no” to yourself includes, for example, knowing how to deny easy, safe, and concealing tasks when you are afraid to do the really important tasks.
Saying “no” to others includes obviously knowing how to deny the opportunities you really do not want to take advantage of. Or those that, according to this theory that I love, would receive a grade 7.
I read a story in the book. If I’m not mistaken, and she tells us this: A CEO of a company was training their employees to hire new people to join their teams.
During the training, he instructed everyone to evaluate the candidates according to some tests and the only rule they had to follow at the time of the final evaluation was this: no candidate could receive the grade 7. It could be 0, 5, 6, or up to 8 – minus 7. The moral of this story is quite simple.
7 is the minimum enough to pass in school. It’s the thing that does not stink and does not smell.
It does not irritate you, but it does not appeal to you. It does not harm you, but it is not the seventh wonder of the world.
When you are tempted to accept something that in your head would receive a grade 7 (something good enough, not bad and not great, just more or less), ask the following question: what could I do to make this chance to win an 8 or a 9? Is there anything within my reach (AT YOUR REACH) that would make this opportunity a great addition to my life?
Think about it, analyze the possibilities and decide what is best for you.
After all, do not be afraid to say no to the shit you do not want. This will open space (in your agenda, in your heart and in your spirit) for you to attract and really bear the consequences of going after what makes you really jump energy. These are valuable experiences.
Do not be afraid to take a vacation
A logical unfolding of the penultimate tip and that serves the same kind of people: those who think that some horrible black hole will come up under their feet and that all possible world catastrophes will happen at the same time if they move away from their jobs.
One truth: do not go. Keep cool.
Try to think of your vacations as follows: a small window of time for you to recalibrate your creativity, your philosophical idleness and your divine right to do no blunders. Not everything needs to be productive in this life. Not everything needs to have a purpose and we do not always have to “make something” out of the things that we do.
Sometimes, we just have to be. Release yourself to live the present moment and don’t think much of whatever comes later.
Take seven to ten days off every three months or so. Of course, this is especially useful for those who are autonomous, entrepreneurs or freelancers, but it would be really cool if everyone could come to terms with their bosses and put some version of that idea into their work practice. You do not need to take 30 days off. You do not have to travel or spend money if you do not want to.
You just have to allow yourself to live something beyond your work a few times a year. This is very refreshing, man. This is what will give you rest (for you to have the strength to fight your battles) and what will give you even more energy and creativity to continue reinventing your work and yourself.