HOW TO SPEND MORE TIME DOING WHAT YOU LOVE
And How To Work Out What It Is That Brings You Joy
It’s funny, despite the intentions and resolutions, the reality is most new years you come back to the daily routine feeling a little over it. They say the new year brings fresh motivation, and that returning to work after the proper break leaves you feeling ready to get going again, but this year I couldn’t have felt further from that. If anything after the two week break I returned to work feeling like my time had been stolen from me and all the things I wanted to do could no longer be done.
All the daylight hours gone, time to do things I wanted taken, mental space to engage in things I love reduced, if anything this return to work has made me really think about and realise the things I miss in my current ‘everyday life’. It’s shown me the hole in my ‘happiness bucket’. The good thing about this realisation is that I can really quite clearly see the things I want to be doing more of, the things that bring me happiness, fuel my passion, bring me excitement and give me joy outside of my job.
It’s helped expose the things I want to make time to do in my week, beyond just working. They may not come as a surprise, especially given I talk about how much I enjoy them a lot, but I’m not sure I realised quite how much they meant to my overall contentedness.
Reading. Photography. Pilates. Travelling.
Aside from the return to work, the other thing that’s got me thinking about my life and what fulfils it, is a book my friend recently recommended and was using. The book is called ‘design your life’ and one thing the book does is look at your life in four component parts: health, fun, career, love. I haven’t started working through my book and journal in detail yet, but I really loved the premise of looking at your life in these four areas, and scoring them on your current fulfilment.
What I realised quickly (just by spending a little time pondering the concept) is my love and career are extremely full, I have a wonderful family and boyfriend that bring me a lot of love and happiness, and a career which is extremely rewarding to me and that I feel very positive about, but actually my health and fun were two areas where I was potentially lacking. My health being by far the most impacted largely due to the lack of time and energy I prioritise to looking after myself given how demanding other areas of my life are.
My fun was/is actually quite fulfilled because really my blog is my ‘fun’, I love writing it and find it creatively really fulfilling, but I would love more time to do more of it. And this really is where the book is good and helpful, it encourages you to spend the time looking at these four areas, where you are feeling fulfilled and where you are not, and most importantly of all, it allows you to quite visually see the balance (or lack thereof) that you have in these 4 areas. What Burnett says, is that balance across fun, career, health and love is quite critical for happiness.
Thinking about balancing my scorecard, and realising what I was starting to miss having all my free time taken away, I realised there were a few things I simply love that I don’t get enough time to do in my ‘current’ lifestyle. These 4 things are the things I want to do more of and prioritise more in my life moving forwards, it may mean sacrificing a little elsewhere to get the balance, but as we all know, balance is the key.
Returning to work after two weeks and not being able to take photos when I wanted has left me feeling like i’ve got a bit missing. I’ve never felt it this strongly before, but my new found love for film photography has boosted my love for taking photos, styling photos and editing photos even more. I want to have my camera on my arm at every chance I have, and I wish I could capture more, everyday, without limitation. It’s of course not possible, but it’s been quite lovely to realise how much I love taking photos and how happy the process and output makes me. I’ve rediscovered a love for instagram in the last few months and I really think it stems from finding new accounts that truly inspire me and discovering the type of photography I want to create (in fact for the first time in years my account has started growing too). The reality is I adore my job too, so I won’t berate it too much for taking my time up most days, but I would love to really make more time to take pictures, perhaps even carrying my camera on me at all times so I never miss the chance for a shot – like I would do when travelling.
I’ve always known I have a somewhat weird addiction to magazines and reading, I used to spend my weekly wage on every magazine going when I was younger, and whilst it’s no longer the weeklies, i’m now buying books, independent magazines and coffee table hardbacks weekly and the obsession is real. But the truth is buying, flicking through and having books around my house really does make me happy. I’ve started carrying some of my new travel books to work with me so I can spend 20 minutes each day just reading a few pages. It sounds obvious but often when I get busy I don’t have the brain space for a novel, but actually a travel book or ‘coffee table’ style book is the perfect thing to dip in and out of without having to concentrate or commit too much.
I know I love pilates. But once again as soon as I get busy I drop it, and what I need to stop doing is dropping the things I love the moment I get busy. If anything I need them more than ever during those busy period because they keep me sane, relaxed and content. I did pilates for the first time in ages this week and had the best day i’ve had in a long time. I don’t know what it was, I felt internally positive, motivated and just a sense of excitement. It may sound weird, but I just think pilates must be my jam, and for that sense of positivity alone I know i’ve got to make time for it. Annoyingly the class I just signed up to I can no longer make due to a new work commitment (see why it’s hard) but rather than just give up I now want to find a local class I can go to once a week on the evening – and commit to it.
Travel. There’s not much more to say than travel is my spice of life. It’s always been a hugely important thing for me, and I know that without it I would and do feel lost. I love to travel, explore, just wonder and absorb the life around us. I love writing my travel posts, combining photography & travel together really does just make me happy. I’ve become almost obsessive with booking trips this year, I want to go to as many places as I possibly can, and it’s actually become an uncompromisable part of my life now – it’s nice to realise it and I’m happy to be so committed and unwavering about my need to travel. Work hard, play hard they say, and travel is without doubt my play time and I hope it becomes an even bigger part of my life as time goes on.
So there you have it, four things I want to spend more time doing because i’ve come to realise I truly love them, they really spark my passion and just give me a real sense of adrenaline. Even writing this now I feel excited at the thought of doing more of it in my everyday life, and not just when I am on holiday and have time for it.
And a few tips for you to help you think about your balance and the things you might need a little more of in your life.