I wrote a post last year about trying to enjoy the journey and the anticipation. However, it seems more and more that I’m living in anticipation of something that may be happening next week, next year or at some indeterminable point in the future. Just waiting for that to happen, surviving until I get to that next step.
And so many things are passing me by.
So many happy times, so many milestones and moments going unnoticed. And it crushes me every night, like a huge weight on my chest. One day, I will be old. One day, the things I have today will be a memory and nothing more, and what will I remember?
Will I remember the things that consume so much of my time and brain power? The administrative tasks that keep me awake, the reviews that ‘could be better’ or the daily inconvenience of having to find a parking space on the school run? I hope not.
I want to remember the best things from every day, the things I look forward to. The things that aren’t big occasions, but seemingly insignificant moments of joy and gratitude. And if I want to remember them I need to feel them, I need to allow myself to feel them.
Instead of rushing Tabitha along when she wants to walk along a wall I need to hold her hand and take a photograph.
I have too many plans. I have too many targets. I only have one now.
And I’m going to try and pay more attention to it.
Sub title: Probably the only productivity tip I will ever write.
I am a putter-offer of unbelievable magnitude. And this is my top tip. When you want to give up for the day (or for the night) and sit down + recuperate, just force yourself to do one more thing. Just one.
Maybe, once you’ve done this extra thing, you may even be convinced to do another thing. But that’s up to you. If you just do that one extra thing that will make life easier tomorrow or give you a better nights sleep without it hanging over your head, you are getting ahead.
Make it a habit. It helps.
New ideas can be hard to come by and yet conversely, sometimes they can be overwhelming.
I’m lucky at the moment that they just keep coming, but finding a way of organising them and picking out the ones that will work is vital to make sure they don’t go to waste.
This is how I manage my idea overload.
I’m not the most organised person, but I make sure that when something pops into my head I note it down straight away. I find the best way to do this is on ‘notes’ in my phone – it’s always somewhere close to hand and it won’t be accidentally thrown away like a scrap of paper.
I’d say at least once a week I set some time aside to collate everything. I have recently started using Trello to organise all the ideas in a cohesive way. I started out just using it as a ‘to do list’ type app but really it’s so much more versatile than that, and as it’s online I can access it from anywhere.
Sort them all out into categories – it helps if they’re as specific as they can be – for example I had to split my greetings cards ideas into single card ideas and collection ideas.
Now obviously, unless you are a super genius, not every single little idea you have is going to be a total winner, so don’t spend too much time on this bit, but just take a second to work out what you think you could do with it, a miniature brainstorm. Think about its potential, and how you would make it work.
So, having spent a minute or two expanding on it, ask yourself a few questions:
Is it a really good idea?
Some of the ideas I write down at 2am just don’t make sense in the real world. If you’re just not that into it, there’s no shame in not following it through?
Is it the right time for it now?
Maybe you can set some time aside for it in July, maybe it’s for a certain season, or maybe your business isn’t quite ready for it yet.
Do you have time to bring it to life right now?
Writing a book? Sounds great, but can you fit it in?
Is it worth making time for it?
Is this the one idea that will get you noticed? If you really think this could be a game changer it may be worth clearing some of your schedule.
If not now, when would this work?
Think about when you could plan it in. If you really do want to do it, try and give it a specific block of time, whether it be ‘Next Tuesday I will do this‘ or ‘In September I will set a week aside for research + development.‘ Just not ‘when I’m not busy…‘ that never happens.
So now, you should be able to go for it – or at least have a good idea when you’ll be bringing your ideas to life. Oh, and, those ones that don’t make the cut? File them away. Keep an ‘unused ideas’ list – maybe they will never be good ideas but sometimes having a scan through might prompt you to come up with something that does work.
I hope this helps and you have a wonderful time organising the products of your mind.
When I left school and started living in the grown up world, making new friends and looking after them kind of slipped way down my list of priorities. I was surrounded by friends in my job, and as I lived above a pub it was like I always had a houseful of people.
Times change though and when I moved out and my career moved on I became much more conscious of the dynamic of my friendships. Making time for old friends and making new friends seems so much more daunting as an adult but I have made it a big priority in my life recently and I feel like it’s really paid off.
I love my pals. And I know that I’m not the only person who finds the idea of ‘putting yourself out there’ and trying to make new connections bloomin’ terrifying. So here’s what I’ve learnt:
Our brains usually work in a weird way. We want to understand things, so sometimes when we see a new person we make instant decisions about what they might be like. Whether we like them, or whether we absolutely do not. Now maybe sometimes a ‘gut feeling’ is going to be spot on, it’s not an exact science. Resist that urge.
As much as possible. Aside from anything else, it makes you more approachable – who knows, maybe one day you’ll get chatting to that person you pass on the pavement every morning, and if not, it’s still a nice thing to do.
I think this is the easiest way of making sure you always have time for your pals. Work it into your routine – maybe not every week but it great to have a coffee morning or a fortnightly meet up to look forward to and it takes the hassle out of trying to co-ordinate your schedules whenever you want to arrange anything.
And on the subject of co-ordinating schedules it pays to make yourself available. Of course this isn’t always possible but make sure you prioritise your friendships above work sometimes because they are incredibly important. Even if you can’t make it to see them on a certain day set aside some time to chat on the phone or even have a good chinwag over fb messenger.
Don’t be afraid to ask your friends when you are in dire straits. It’s what friends and are for and can bring you closer together. And along the same lines…
Don’t be afraid to tell them when you’re struggling, when you’ve had a big fight with your husband or when you can’t face a meeting the next day. Of course you don’t need to tell everyone you’ve ever spoken to or set it as your Facebook status for all to see, but it pays to be real with your friends and let them in without being judged, and it creates an open discussion where they will feel more comfortable sharing with you.
See something that reminds you of your BFF? Tell them! Whether you send them a card that you think they’d love, text them to tell them you’re listening to “your” song or post a buzz feed on their Facebook wall because it had them written all over it.
Laughing together is really important. Let your hair down and have a good giggle as often as you possibly can.
Wishing you all many happy times ahead with your friends.
So today is about learning a new skill. I am obsessed with learning new things, but unfortunately time doesn’t always allow me to master all the things I’d love to.
Here are some brilliant + fantastic learning opportunities:
Yes, trapeze. In real life. You can learn trapeze. I can’t believe this. Definitely one for this summer, the flying trapeze school is in London and a 2 hour class is only £27!
Code academy is a super easy way of learning the basics of coding, and best of all it’s free! You can work through a couple of modules at a time so it can fit in between all the other cool stuff you’re doing pretty easily.
The wonderful Molly Jacques hosts this class through the brilliant Skillshare website. I’ve done a couple on there and this is next on my list!
A vital life skill I feel. Sadly, this one takes a lot of practice. Here’s 9 stretches to help you get there – let me know if you have any luck, I am trying but I won’t hold my breath!
I wish, wish, wish I’d learnt the piano as a youngling, I think it would be a lovely thing to be able to do. We have a little keyboard knocking about although I’m not sure it’s up to serious use, maybe I will upgrade it and use these free (!) online lessons to become a virtuoso.
I think that’s quite a lot to be getting on with, what do you fancy learning?
I was always a grumpy sort of person. A perpetually unimpressed, moaning ball of negativity.
But recently, over the last year or so, I feel like a weight has been lifted. Like I’m floating, being carried along by hundreds of brightly coloured helium balloons.
The difference between old me, and new me is simple – now, I’m grateful.
Of course, things still go wrong, and get me down – quite often I’d say. And I’m an anxious, depressive sort of character (is that just being a creative?) so sadly I don’t live in a rose tinted world, but I am surprise daily by the difference my new found thankfulness has on my life.
Today, I am grateful for a lot. But here is a little list, mainly for my own benefit, and if it inspires you to do that same and write down all the wonderful things that you have in your life at the moment, then all the better.
+ My beautiful husband, and his wonderful beard + constant support.
+ My equally beautiful yet so far beard free children.
+ Abundant friendships, many of which are new + exciting.
+ The internet + the support that it provides me with on a daily basis.
+ The Doc Martens I got for Christmas that I am still excited to put on everyday.
+ A million other tiny little things.
If you follow me on instagram you may have seen that today is my lovely Grannies 90th birthday. So in honour of the occasion, here are 5 things she has taught me.
Life is for enjoying, savouring + laughing. My Granny has spent her life filling everyone around her with laughter. She is kooky, uninhibited and mischievous.
Help people, be loving to those around you – even when you’re tired, even when they don’t expect you to + even when they might not deserve it. The love you give out is relative to the love you get back.
I hope if I reach 90 I am surrounded by the warmth that I felt in her living room this morning as neighbours, friends and family appeared for an impromptu breakfast birthday party.
I have never seen a more impressive collection of photo albums. Treasure moments, write diaries, print photographs and look at them all often. Children will grow up too fast and people will leave us too soon, but our memories of them are everything we will have.
You are, and I am. Everyone is if they really need to be. Sometimes we just have to get on with it, and things will always get better.
I remember one day when I visited Granny as a child, she was unloading the washing machine and dyed all of her underwear yellow. I asked her why and she just said “because yellow is my favourite colour.”
Let’s all dye our underwear or whatever else it is we want to do.
Well after yesterdays offensive vegetable post this seems like a sentimental antidote. I actually found it floating around Facebook with some farfetched and emotive story attached to it but haven’t been able to pin point who actually wrote it.
Whilst I have many, many wishes they all feel a little frivolous and self-indulgent so this kind of struck a chord with me.
Not always, but most of the time, you will be right. Following my heart has had a tremendous impact on me + my life this year and I will never forget it.
This one is kind of self explanatory – I am not really a workaholic type character (which I don’t consider a flaw as such, because it keeps my life in balance) but really knuckling down and getting s*** done is an incredible feeling, and totally fundamental.
This isn’t something I’m used to, but it’s part of growing and it’s thrilling.
I’ve put aside a LOT more time for my friends this year, old + new, and it has had such a positive effect on my frame of mind.
But most of all, I’ve learnt how fortunate we are.
Jeez. I can’t even believe how amazing 2013 has been for me + my little family. We now stand at the brink of 2014 full of happiness and excitement.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Veronica Dearly this year – with your kinds wishes, your projects, your orders and your support.
So long 2013, and thanks for everything – Happy new year!