It has been a while since I wrote a post here, except for the most recent Make an Appointment with Yourself post, which I posted on the spur of the moment because it sparked some motivation within me–motivation that I thought I’d share.
Reasons for my long absence:
- Feelings of being overwhelmed
- Collecting the small wins
- Experiencing small defeats internally and externally
I could rant about all the things I was busy with and all the small wins/defeats I have experienced since then, but I won’t. Because I think long absence posts should bring ideas, thought-provoking inspiration, and smiles instead of a long-winded and well-concealed excuse. So, there are no excuses. I didn’t write when I definitely could have. But here’s what I have to bring to the table.
When I was young, and in high school. I thought that life was supposed to unwind in this order:
- Graduate from high school and get as many scholarships as possible.
- Enter university.
- Study for 4 years.
- Graduate from university.
- (Magically) Get a nice-paying job.
- Work until retirement.
- Live for the rest of my old years in comfort and financial security.
Needless to say, I have strayed off this path. In my 4th year, I decided to partake in an internship program that would provide me with a year of full-time work and experience. I understood that this would push back my graduation by a year–that I would graduate a year later than my peers. Eventually, I stopped perceiving this as a drawback, though. As it is now, I recently applied for yet another 1-year-term job. This will mean I graduate yet another year later. It doesn’t bother me though because I know that graduating on time is not the important thing. It is a small portion of what is truly important–developing yourself in general.
Recently, I came down with a nasty cough, one that I am currently nearing complete recovery. I still feel fatigued and had to miss two days of work because my coughing fits during the night resulted in nights of 3-hour sleeps. I thought of something I couldn’t really figure out. I know that some unions provide full-time employees with 1-2 sick days a month that they can bank so that they get paid sick leave when they need it. I also know that it is not required for employers to provide this paid sick leave in North America because the company loses money and there will be people who take advantage of it (ex. use sick days to take extra vacation; go party and call in sick the next day). I can see some of the logic here, but I think that only applies to employees of low financial need and/or employees who are not subjected to thorough performance evaluations (ie. high-performing employees are less likely to take advantage of the system and even if they do, they are such a big benefit to the company that the 1-2 days of sick leave a month do not hinder that particular employee’s contributions to the company). For employees that earn just enough to survive paycheck to paycheck and maybe save a couple hundred dollars a month, the thought of taking unpaid sick leave (even when extremely sick) is a deterrent, because it means that they’ll either not make enough the next month to cover expenses, or they will have to pick up extra shifts in the same pay period (it is likely that during this time, they will still be sick); thus experiencing longer recovery times and higher chances of transmission (if contagious) to other employees. These people are at a major disadvantage because, if they are sick and decide to take time off work, they end up stressing even more about their financial situation in the near future. People do get sick, and while people tout the importance of taking care of one’s health so that these illnesses do not happen, these illness will still be contracted. By claiming the importance of health but making time off for recovery seem like an undesirable option to people who need the money doesn’t seem like it benefits either parties… I think many people are starting to develop a growing bitterness to blue/white collar jobs because of this, and develop a growing desire for autonomy and the ability to become their own boss someday.
Leaving on a more inspirational note, here is a summary of an article by Observer.com called “12 Powerful Habits I Have Stolen From Ultra-Successful People“. In the next month or so, I hope to implement a few of these!!
1) Waking up early – because, I can’t count the number of times I have slept in, gone to work, and had thoughts about all the other things I have to do–when I should have been focusing on the work at hand. I want to make this a habit.
2) Making lists – Thankfully, I already do this. The article says that by writing lists, you convince your brain that the list items are the only things that need your attention and focus. Therefore, divvying up your brain power more productively.
3) Habit Stacking – You could also call this “Habit Linking” in my opinion, because that’s what you are doing. Rather than making 2 separate habits of, for example, “Wake up early” and “stretch for 15 minutes,” have two LINKED habits of “Wake up early” and “After waking up early, stretch for 15 minutes.” This seems like a very useful brain hack because you are piggybacking off of a preexisting habit! Less work for your brain!
4) Stretching – because sitting for long periods of time is EXTREMELY bad for you (I need to work on that). I guess in order to make it more easier for me to implement, I can set a reminder every 15 or so minutes to get up and stretch for a minute. Be right back…
5) Listening to podcasts – I like to call this learning on-the-go, or learning while cooking, etc. For someone, that may be listening to entrepreneur tips, interviews with famous people, or discussions about the world cultures. For me, this would be learning Mandarin!
6) Meditation – calm down all the marbles rolling around in your head; make them wait their turn. 😉
7) Reading – Straightforward tip; like listening to podcasts, except for the fact that you have to hold a book/tablet/e-reader.
8) Writing – Straightforward
9) Defining the Most Important Task – Make a list, choose 1-2 things on that list that you absolutely must get done. Get them done. Feel the success!
10) Doing the affirmations – Everyone knows the saying, “You are your own worst critic.” But by doing affirmations, you are working towards being your own best friend, your supporter, and your cheerleader. 🙂
11) Visualization – If you can envision where you’d like to be or what you like to see happen in your future, you are more likely to take the steps necessary to get there!
12) Exercise – Straightforward
For the month of April, I will work hard to incorporate exercise, meditation, stretching, listening to podcasts, writing, and waking up earlier. In fact, why don’t I do some habit-stacking here.
Starting tomorrow I will wake up progressively earlier until April, then I stack some habits together when I have a good-sized chunk of time in the mornings before work to:
- Do a 10-15 minutes workout
- Stretch after the workout
- Phase out of stretching into meditation
- And do a little bit of rough writing in the mornings.
Should this be successful, you will be seeing a lot more posts in the month of April and beyond. I will keep track of my progress on this page.
I hope you learned something new and are inspired to incorporate some of these super-habits into your life as well!