We have come to a start of the year and some of us may have some new goals or resolutions that you wish to achieve. If we reflect back, we may find that halfway through it all, we find ourselves losing the enthusiasm or that we got too distracted.
If you want something bad enough, make time for it.
Most of the time, we may think we are too busy or it is not possible. But if we were to really break down how we spend our day aside from work, commuting, school or other necessary duties and responsibilities, we may notice these time wasters such as:
- spending hours on YouTube and Facebook….watching videos
- spending hours on Netflix or TV watching our favourite shows/games
- chatting or ‘catching up’ (which may involve lots of gossiping or idle chatter)
- sleeping till noon on weekends
- spending too much during the day
Making time for your passion, hobbies or goals
At more times that I care to admit, I would find myself wasting hours in YouTube or Facebook watching the entertainment videos instead of the educational videos. While it is okay to destress or relax from time to time with these videos, excessive indulgence of a few hours each day are unhealthy. I find that I am not the only person who does that but literally most people I know are doing the same.
Time wasted would never come back. I am not sure about you…. but when I reflect back, there is no satisfaction or feelings of accomplishment through watching entertainment videos or sitcoms. After some laughter, poof…everything is gone after the night’s sleep. There is no genuine value derived from consuming and indulging in sitcoms, parodies, reality shows or jokes kinda programs or videos.
However, there would be a sense of accomplishment and happiness if we acquired a skill or worked on a personal project. Because whatever we have acquired …..the knowledge, ability and capability belongs to us…and us only.
It is important to realize that our hobbies or goals may not be something that has a high monetary value. We would have gotten that covered in our job or our main source of income. But it should well be something that nourish our souls and give our life a little meaning, aside from the daily grind of work, commute and responsibilities. That is why it is important to have a personal goals, hobbies or interests to keep us sane in this stressful, pressured and fast paced world.
I want to give you some real life example of some people I know:
Apprenticing as a florist and baking
A friend of mine is stuck in an unsatisfying job. When she first begin, she had wonderful bosses and colleagues. But they have left for other opportunities over the years. She remained behind and now find herself having nasty bosses and lazy, passing-the-buck kinda of colleagues. Due to her seniority, the pay she is earning is higher but if she were to move to another company she would not be able to get the same pay. Also she know her way around quite well so she saw no point of moving.
But out of her working life, she has many other interests. She loves to bake and through taking the effort and time to learn, she bakes the most delicious cookies and cakes. Therefore she would always have something delicious to bring to people’s house during housewarming or festivals, unlike me who often have to spend a fortune buying stuff when going for visiting.
She also helps out a florist near her home…. for free. Initially she was just hanging out and helping here and there. But slowly, the florist started to teach her some skills bit by bit. She told me she is not helping out for the money- in fact the florist is getting old and wanted to sell her business to someone who has genuine passion. She may even get a good deal. But my friend told me that flower arrangement is a hobby and she is helping out within her interest and capacity and learning new skill. She is not interested in taking over the business because once she did, it would become just another job….because in business there are many things to worry about such as overhead, cost, ordering of flowers, difficult customers, etc.
This friend of mine spend only minimal time on social media. In fact, it was only the last two years or so she has gotten data plan….and it is prepaid so not much surfing can be done.
Growing a beautiful fruit and flower garden
A friend’s dad used to own successful advertising business. But even when he was a full time businessman with a family and 3 kids, he was able to find time to relax and destress through gardening. He has a large plot of land where he grows flowers, vegetables and fruit trees.
Eventually after he retired, he moved to a housing area where there are ample space to do gardening. He spend a lot of time each day outside his garden pruning his trees and flowers. There is no monetary value that he could derive out of it but it keeps him healthy and his mind well occupied after retirement.
Me, a caregiver and blogger
While I was in the corporate world, I was already a blogger out of interest for writing and sharing. Aside from just writing, I had to learn the nuts and bolts of the platform, themes, plugins, etc. The blogging, which I did mainly out of hobby, helped to improve my writing skills and my work as a communication manager and managing my company’s intranet.
In 2017, I resigned from my job to become a full time caregiver for my mom. As many caregivers may be able to relate….caregiving is a very lonely role and at times, you would not know how the future would be. Blogging has given me a lot of respite. It has allowed me to be able to set some little goals and achieve them.
For example, there was a period that I know I would be too busy to write blog posts. But I did not want my blog posts to stop. So few months prior to that, I sat down and calculated how many blog posts that I need to prepare and how much time I got. With that, I was able to zoom down on how many blog posts that I need to write per day. Almost each day during that available period, I make the time to sit down to write my posts. Sometimes, it would mean that I would have to get up earlier like 4 or 5am in order to have enough time. And in order to achieve my targeted goals, the time spend on TV or entertainment is really down to a bare minimum.
In the end, I was not able to achieve the numbers that I targeted for each of my blog… but I was close. If I had not sat down with my diary and planner to calculate and set a target, there would be no goals or target to work on.
It was kinda of a fun thing to do and it gave me a feeling of accomplishment. Something that passively consuming all those digital entertainment did not. Eventually I did repeat this process a few times….I would set a target and write, and then zone out for a while and focus on other things.
Back to you
If you find yourselves unhappy in a life situation… perhaps feeling stuck in a dead end job, feeling angry and sorry for yourself would not help. Most of us have financial and family commitments so it is hard to just walk away from a day job.
After work, you may just want nothing more than to slump down on the couch and watch your favourite TV program in Netflix or cable TV. Or in any of your spare time or even family or time with friends, you may be just mindlessly scrolling down your social media’s newsfeed. Just to zone out and relax.
There are situations in your life that you may not be able to control. But there are little personal goals and pursuits that you set for yourself that would give your life that additional meaning. It can be anything that you have interest or aspiration in.
If you scrutinize how you spend your day, I am sure you would be able to identify pockets of time that you are able to use to work on your goals and aspirations. Now all that is left is that set a little goal or target to motivate you to put those little pockets of time to good use.
If you wish to become a writer, write just a page a day and you would have a book in a year.
If you wish to learn a new language, learn a new word each day and in a year you would have known 365 new words.
You can do it if you set your heart out with a little help from planning.