And for some of us, come September, it’ll be time to resume our studies. (Still not entirely sure how I feel about this).
I deemed this “transition period” a good time to review the goals I’d made at the start of the year and for the summer. In doing so, I found a few goals I had not accomplished or even started on. Of course, the year’s not over yet so it’s not all bad.
In saying that though, there’s something very annoying about seeing a goal you wrote down at the start of the year (presumably in a state of uncontrollable zeal) and realising you didn’t do what you say you’d do. (Especially when it comes to those goals where you set deadlines for yourself).
Despite wanting to punch myself in the face, I was encouraged to make the most of the holiday period I have left before university starts and also to make the most of the remaining months of 2018.
We may only have four months left but I think there’s always time to revisit your goals. There’s always time to at least start working towards them before the year ends. You might even accomplish some of them come December 31st.
So, I rewrote my goals list accordingly, including those things which I didn’t start on but hope to by the end of the year.
Why not give it a try? Review the goals you set for yourself at the start of the year and even for the summer. How will you go about addressing those you didn’t start on?
Last month, irritated by my ever increasing levels of procrastination and lack of productivity, I decided to embark on a “productivity challenge”. In short, this challenge involved approaching to-do lists in a different way to get the most out of them, as suggested by productivity coach Kirstin O’Donovan. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my old post “Send help please (on productivity and the lack thereof)” here.
I promised to write an update post four weeks from the start date of the challenge (9th July):
…after the four weeks are up, I’ll update you on whether or not the tips were helpful as well as any other productivity related stuff I learn during this period of time.
I’ve gone slightly over the four week mark. (Blame procrastination and constantly prioritising other blog post topics over this one). *Sorry*
Without further ado though, here goes the update:
Were the to-do-list tips helpful?
Yes (some more than others though).
Just a quick recap of the tips I followed:
Make different “to – do” lists to work from. E.g. a list for ‘side-projects’.
Estimate how long each task will take.
Prioritise. Try and spend the most time on the tasks that fit into one of two categories: a) Important and urgent and b)Not urgent but important.
Review. Let the list go beyond being just a “to-do” list. O’Donovan provides the example of reviewing the list and using it to plan the week ahead.
For me, the most helpful tips were making different to-do lists to work from and prioritising tasks.
Having different to-do lists to work from was helpful because it allowed me to focus on goals that fit into different categories, e.g. fitness and side-projects. Splitting tasks in this way made me feel less overwhelmed than writing out just one long list of things to do, as did following O’Donovan’s suggestion to never include more than 7 or 8 tasks in each list.
I found prioritising tasks helpful because it’s always good to know you’re working on things you actually need to.
I also enjoyed focusing on the tasks that were “not urgent but important”. This is because they link to long-term goals and working towards something you hope to accomplish in the future is always exciting.
Estimating how long a task will take is helpful as it makes your day more organised.
However, I found that I didn’t like the restriction of saying “this will take X amount of time” and “Y will take that amount of time” and by the second week I stopped doing it. This boiled down to inaccurate estimations and lack of self-discipline which meant I went over the allocated time for a task.
That being said though, it’s helpful to know how long you do spend on certain tasks, e.g. an hour to workout, so that when you write your to-do-list, you’re already aware of how much of your day will be allocated to something. I feel like estimating how long certain tasks will take is a skill that gets better over time (and one that improves as you become more aware of your daily “time-spending” habits).
I also feel like you don’t always need to estimate how long something will take for you to do. Simply knowing what you have to get done in the first place may be a good enough starting point but I think it all depends on the person.
In terms of using the to-do list as a planning tool, it was helpful to schedule ahead and know what I needed to do either every day or on specific days only.
Now, onto what I learnt about productivity in general:
Waking up early is key.
Don’t you hate that feeling where it feels like the day has literally run away from you? Yeah, me too. When I start my day earlier, I have more time to get things done and then chill later on.
Being realistic is also key.
I have the tendency to be over-ambitious whenever I write to-do lists. It helps to consider whether or not you can actually tick off the things you’ve written by the end of the day or if you’re just writing for the sake of writing.
Don’t feel bad for putting things off for a while if you feel you have too much on your plate.
When you know you have a lot to do, things can get overwhelming. This is where you shouldn’t be afraid to prioritise what needs to be done at this present moment in time, let’s say, preparing for a test.
You gain more clarity from saying “from next weekend I will start on X (X being the task you want to work on but cannot sacrifice much of your time for)” or “after I’m done with X, I’ll start on Y…” as opposed to writing a task down everyday on your to-do list knowing full well that you’re not able to or ready to make time for it yet.
That being said, the difficulty lies in actually starting on “it” when the time comes but ultimately, if prioritising means holding off on something, do so, especially when you’re working on multiple things at once.
Instagram and YouTube can be huge time-wasters and I need to spend less time on them.
I don’t have to nor will I be productive every single day.
Not everyday needs to be exceptionally productive. I need to go easy on myself sometimes.
When we think about all the things we should be doing and all the things we need to do it’s easy to become very self-critical.
Yes, we should be honest with ourselves when it comes to our productivity but we should also recognise any progress we make, be it big or small.
Also, as much as we all have things we’re working toward and things we need to get done, we also need time to quite frankly, do nothing and not feel guilty.
Could it be that giving yourself “time-off” every once in a while is actually beneficial?
The proclivity for procrastination that I mentioned in the previous blog post is very much alive and well.
There’s not much else to add here except that I’ve learnt and continue to learn that procrastination is productivity’s mortal enemy and I don’t know how to end the war between them. I’ll let you know if I find the answer though.
Until then, have a wonderful day and see you in my next blog post.
I, like many other people, enjoy listening to music when I write (and also just in general).
Some days I can listen to upbeat music and write at the same time. I mean, it might slow me down a little but I manage to do both.
Admittedly though,there are also days when I have to fight the urge to get up and do something like this:
And that brings me to the topic of today’s blog post:
What kind of stuff do I listen to when I write?
The answer to this is, itdepends on the day. Like I said earlier, on some days I can hack listening to upbeat music and writing. On other days I just click “shuffle” on my playlist and write to whatever comes on. And sometimes, silence can suffice.
On the whole though, I’d say music that I consider to be “chill”/ mellow does the job when I’m writing. Feel free to check out my playlist below!
Do you listen to music when you write and if you do, what kind? Let me know in the comments below!
Today’s blog post is tailored towards the single people who would like to be in a relationship one day. To the ones who daydream about that sort of stuff. To the ones who consider themselves romantics- hopeless and otherwise.
We all know that being single and happy doesn’t stop us from daydreaming about being in a relationship. It doesn’t stop us from daydreaming about being in love nor does it stop us from appreciatingthe beauty in the relationships that we see.
This is probably because at some point, a lot of us desire the opportunity to form this type of deep connection with another person or maybe just cute Instagram pictures but that’s neither here nor there…
Today’s blog post is on soulmates.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “soulmate” as:
“someone, usually your romantic or sexual partner, who you have a special relationship with, and who you know and love very much”.
I also hear soulmates being referred to as “the one”. In terms of my thoughts on the concept, at one point I thought soulmates were a thing. At another point I didn’t. That was where I stood for a very long point up until the other day when I started to reconsider.
Springer suggests that we can become another’s soulmate as opposed to automatically being one:
If humans can develop finely honed skills in music, athletics, and language arts, wouldn’t it be equally possible for them to become perfectly suited and completely irreplaceable to their spouses?
I’ve included some more key parts from the article below:
Two individuals who have become perfect for and irreplaceable to each other have become soul mates.
Isn’t that beautiful?
In the final stages of marriage, the bond that can be created is a deeper, more satisfying level of love than anything that anyone encounters in the initial cocaine-rush phase of a relationship. In one sense, to make a comparison between the experiences of love at these two relationship stages is like comparing apples and oranges. I would argue that love of a deep and meaningful kind is only possible when based on real knowledge.
If being loved is based on being known for who you are and cherished despite your flaws, then the feelings one has during the initial cocaine-rush phase of a relationship can’t be love. These feelings would be some combination of other pleasurable things, like hope and attraction, and illusions of the soul-mate variety.
I really liked the article because it finds a balance between the “airy-fairyness” associated with the concept of a soulmate and the more practical side of things:
If “love of a deep and meaningful kind is only possible when based on real knowledge”, this would entail forming a friendship with the person (whoever they end up being) first.
And then if that is true, shouldn’t we get to know ourselves as much as possible?
This is a point I raised in the previous blog post. Not that being in a relationship would hinder you from “getting to know yourself”. I just feel that on the basis of the whole “love yourself before you love somebody else” sentiment, maybe the real knowledge of ourselves that we gain through introspection etc can be beneficial.
Maybe really knowing ourselves can help us love ourselves more and then extend this love outwards. A love that acknowledges in the same way we all have our “issues”, others do too. In the same way I’m not perfect, nobody else is and so on and so forth.
Let’s face it, a lot of us may be single for a while longer. (I know somebody just read that and thought “no, no no, not me.”)
Regardless of your feelings on the matter, all I’m saying is that you might as well make use of your time alone through gaining self-knowledge and more.
This is so that in the future, if you do meet your “soulmate” (the way Springer defines them), not only will you already love yourself, you’ll also able to love someone else even after the “honeymoon phase” is over. This will be the result of you realising that really knowing and loving someone (*cough cough* yourself) includes knowledge of the good and the bad.
And if worse comes to worst, knowing yourself first can be used as a precautionary meaure. Real knowledge of another person may not necessarily lead to loving them but realising you need to:
WE CAN’T FIX OTHER PEOPLE but when it comes to you, if real knowledge of yourself includes things you don’t like and are able to change, you can do so!
I’m sure all of this doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes but I believe it’s a step in the right direction.
Let’s be what Springer calls “grounded romantics“. Others don’t complete us, they complement us.
So whilst you’re single, living life (hopefully your best life),
don’t get caught up in looking for the person who can become your soulmate. If you’re single right now, it’s probably for a reason. Just chill.
Personally, I believe in God’s timing. For you it might be different. Regardless, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the whole “things happen when they happen” sentiment.
With that said, keep practicing gratitude for where you are right now, keep finding the balance between daydreaming and reality and most of all, keep bettering yourself.
Whether you’re the aspiring designer, the aspiring photographer, the aspiring singer/songwriter, the aspiring director, the aspiring author. Whatever the case may be, this is for you.
Ever felt like this?
I feel like nobody cares.
This isn’t getting the exposure it deserves.
Maybe I should just quit.
Or asked yourself any of the following questions?
Why am I doing this anyway?
What if it all fails?
Why are my stats /views so low?
What if I’m doing the wrong thing?
A lot of us, including myself can answer a definite yes to some or all of the above. As a “beginner” when it comes to the pursuit of certain creative goals, like screenwriting, I thought it would be cool to write a post addressed to people like me.
It will basically be a (hopefully) brief list of thoughts/ advice to encourage all of us in our pursuits; things I think about, things I have to remind myself of or things I’m trying to implement into my life.
1) Consistency is key.
Most of the time when you start out on something, it’s going to take time for “it” to reach the level you want it to be at.
But what matters is consistency and the fact that you enjoy what you do.
Yes, I roll my eyes at this sometimes too or internally scream “but why does it have to be like this?” but just think about the last thing you achieved and what it took to get there. And then with the things you wanted to achieve but didn’t, were you consistent?
Random example, but I’ve been trying to get up earlier and I can definitely say that a lack of consistency in the time I wake up each day has been a major drawback (#prayformepls).
Back to my point. In most cases views, subscribers (whatever the case may be) won’t come overnight.
So, whenever you’re feeling discouraged, remember the fact that what you do doesn’t boil down to views alone (which goes back to my point about enjoying what you do). This isn’t discounting the fact that yes, a lot of us want to reach large amounts of people with our work or want more readers, more subscribers etc. But these things don’t just happen at the click of a finger.
Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.
I’m sure this whole being consistent thing doesn’t = no failures along the way. It just means we keep trying.
2) Embrace uncertainty.
A lot of us question whether what we’re doing is even the right thing. We don’t know how things are going to turn out or where we’re going to end up.
Even so, let’s try and find a way to avoid being crippled by this fear of uncertainty.
We’ll all have different ways of doing this.
The main thing to ask yourself is:
Would you rather not do anything because you’re scared of uncertainty or at least start taking steps in some kind of direction? (even if they’re baby steps)
I feel like researching careers I’m interested in has helped me become slightly less idealistic (yes, only slightly).
What are the realities of the line of work you’re trying to pursue? For example, this article on becoming a director provides a “sharp reality check” on the steps required to do so.
I’m also reminded of a literature festival called “Africa Writes” which I attended last year with a friend. There was an author panel/ Q&A type thing where one of the authors mentioned that being an author is not her main/only source of income.
To any aspiring authors out there, don’t be discouraged! Read the whole thing here to see the quote in context.
These are just examples of things that make me (slightly) less idealistic. Things like this make me think things like “Oh maybe I will need a 9-5 to be able to eat” or “maybe I should start looking into how I’m going to make X lucrative”. The list of the thoughts that keep me up at night continues.
This is all just a reminder for us to:
keep our expectations in check.
I like to call this “positivity with a dose of realism”.
Yeah we can daydream about making moneyyyyyyyy off our first official creative project or becoming a worldwide sensation (who knows? we might even pull it off).
Let’s just make sure any grandiose expectations we have aren’t the only thing fuelling us.
After all, the J.K Rowling’s of the world had to work hard to be where they are now, right?
Have you ever watched or heard something that gets you thinking, like really thinking? To the point where you start to question the things you currently do or believe in?
I think it’s good to feel challenged in this way from time to time. I see it as an opportunity to question things. This doesn’t have to mean sudden abandonment of everything you’ve ever believed in but it can mean further examination of your beliefs. It can also mean realising how little you know about a certain topic.
Some of us know where we currently stand as it pertains to religion, politics, what we value in life etc (even if it’s just a rough idea).
But for those of us who wobble a little, have a tendency to be easily swayed and find ourselves on the fence a lot – maybe it’s time we started being more proactive in figuring out our beliefs.
Just a few disclaimers here:
I’m not saying that “I don’t know” is an inadequate response. Isn’t it freeing to admit that in all honesty you don’t know how you feel about X or Y or that you’re still figuring out your thoughts?
I’m just saying that “I don’t know” shouldn’t be our only response to questions concerning our opinions (be they self-directed or from others). After all, no-one wants to be Bert from “Horrid Henry” right?
(And this is coming from someone whose frequent response to my youngest sister’s existential questions is indeed “I dunno”).
It’s also not like we’re constantly being quizzed on our beliefs.
I just feel that, for the sake of our own sanity and self – confidence, maybe we should hop off the fence every once in a while. Have a look what’s on the other side, you know?
As a confused individual, some of the ways I like do this include Google searches, watching YouTube videos, reading articles. The list goes on.
Getting off the fence as it pertains to X (X being different for everybody) isn’t an overnight journey. It also doesn’t have to be a permanent state of being.
Perhaps the uncertainty we feel whenever we watch a spirited debate or we’re on the receiving end of a probing question is a nudge. A nudge urging us to acquire not an entirely stable certainty but one in which we know what we believe in and why, albeit not at the expense of open-mindedness.
A closing question to consider: When was the last time you felt “challenged” and what did it reveal to you about your current beliefs and your certainty (or lack thereof) in them?