Finally, here is the final part of this collection!
In the last post, you read about podcasts, family time, creating something, and practising giving in My 11 Habits for Daily Inspiration – Trilogy Part 2.
I have been missing my writing dates over the last month as I indulged in the holiday season and my usual routine got thrown out the window and buried under the 30 cm of snow.
Instead, I have been working on strengthening a few more habits, like exercising and meditating daily. More on those later.
Now that the snow is melting, it’s time to dig out the writing bugs and get back to the keyboard.
8. Spending time with special people
I like people, I really do.
There are countless times when my days have taken a 180-degree turn for the better after having been in good company.
An inspiring coaching session, dinner with friends, a video conference call with loved ones scattered around the world, a family day out, or serendipitous encounters.
The most outstanding people in our world would tell you that who you surround yourself with matters; they have a low appetite for people who mindlessly dump their negative energies upon others.
I believe the same. Life is too precious and short to be hijacked by what drains our energy. I used to be a people-pleaser who would freely give of my time and attention to whoever demands it, and I have since learnt to exercise a healthier boundary and pay better attention to how others are influencing me and my day.
It is a great delight to be around people who care, who are kind, who take courageous actions, who believe in miracles, who are humble, who reflect upon themselves, who are open-minded, who are humorous and joyful, who listen genuinely, who are entrepreneurial and who make things better.
And I am very blessed to be surrounded by many, many, such wonderful people!
Little Hurry has now started to sleep better at night and as a result I get better rest too. When he used to wake up every 1.5 to 2 hours, I would crawl out of bed in the mornings feeling as if I have barely slept. I have since stopped getting upset or happy about changes in his sleep rhythms as they are like passing clouds as he moves from one growth spurt to another.
While he catches up on the needed shut-eye by napping in the daytime, I would shuttle from one task to another on a never-ending laundry list. Because I was tired, I often find myself unproductive, irritable, lazy, uninspired, emotional, and craving chocolates and pastries. You can imagine where this was leading to. I needed to regain control of my sleep and energy.
The first change I made was to start taking a 45-minute nap in the day, when Little Hurry was also sleeping. Tempted as I was to use that time to ‘get something done’ instead, I soon realised that the sleep helped me to get the rest of the things done faster and with more focus. Nowadays, I am enjoying the benefits of the new habit of going to bed by 10:30pm, at least an hour earlier than I used to.
There are tons of research and advocates on the importance of sleep, and I am sure that you are aware of at least some of them. The key to moving from knowledge to implementation, for me, lies in letting go of the need to do ‘one more thing’ before going to bed, and to just get my head to the pillow. The rest is history – try getting me out of bed.
10. Get productive
There are days when I have been meandering about without focus, and it irritates me when I realise at the end of the day that I have spent a whole day doing bits and pieces of small things here and there, or getting distracted and spending time too much time online following one website link after another. To ‘major in minor things’, as a friend used to say.
What I have learnt: become a better project and time manager. Otherwise, even if you have great ambitions and inspiring things happening around you, the practical details would hold you back and frustrate you.
Two simple tools that are most helpful for me now are (i) a pen and paper, and (ii) a pomodoro timer.
(i) Every morning over breakfast, I plan my day on paper, highlighting what are the key activities and tasks for that day.
(ii) Whenever I sit down in front of the computer, to work or to do readings online, I switch on the Focus Booster app and work in cycles of 25 mins each. Leveraging on this tool helped me to overcome two tendencies: one, staying at a task for the designated period of time and not task-hop and wander around the house; two, moving myself away from the computer when it is time for a break, otherwise I would be mindlessly glued to the screen and before I know it, a few hours would have passed.
Here is a screenshot of how that app looks like on my screen, at the bottom-right corner. Big enough to be in my radar, and small enough to not be a nuisance.
This has been my theme over the last few months and definitely one which I am going to continue practising this year.
In the beginning, to get it to stick as a habit and an attitude, I would anchor it to a daily activity – eating. Every morning as I enjoy my favourite breakfast, with each bite, I would focus on one thing that I am grateful for.
I am grateful for the wonderful friends and family I am blessed to have, our health and happiness, the possessions we own, the experiences and opportunities we have, our skills and talents, the dreams and goals we are fulfilling, and all that we don’t yet have and that is already on its way into our future reality.
Returning to gratitude is one of the best choices I have made. I tend to worry unnecessarily and doing that takes me away from being present in the moment and prevents me from truly enjoying the days, whatever it is. Returning to gratitude has helped me to replace that worry with calm, joy and love.
If you are into personal development, like I am, you might also tend to be more critical of the self and be constantly looking out for ways to improve the self. Returning to gratitude has also taught me to be kinder towards myself and others, and to see the gifts and opportunities hidden in even the undesirable situations.
And if I find myself back in the habit of worrying or feeling less than wealthy, this is a good reminder:
That’s it for now! There are a few other habits and tools that I turn to when I am feeling less than inspired, and these 11 would be the most relevant ones for now. I have also been getting more consistent with my meditation practice, so perhaps I would share more in a later post about my experiences on that.
What about you? What are some of your habits for bringing the spark back in your days?
- My 11 Habits for Daily Inspiration – Trilogy Part 2
- Are You Craving Me-Time?