Read regularly, create daily, rest well
New Years resolutions are often attempts at drastic changes to lifestyles which people regularly give up within a matter of weeks, if not days. For 2018 I’m aiming to simply move the needle towards how I want to invest my down time, resting properly, learning more and making stuff. I also think these goals could form great foundations for anyone working in tech who want to find a great balance between work and rest.
Watch less, read more
Relaxing is often associated with passive media consumption, with services like Netflix, Instagram and YouTube making it incredibly easy to access an almost unlimited amount content. If these platforms did a ‘Year in Review’ showing the time we spent using them, I’m pretty sure it would be worrying seeing the number of hours we invested!
So this year I want to trim back on passively consuming media and start to actively engage with higher quality content. To do this I’ve signed up to a number of relevant, well-written publications such as Offscreen, Delayed Gratification and Disengo. Plus, I’ve started to push myself to actually use my kindle regularly (which has been gathering dust for far too long). The aim is to spend more time reading and learning, getting away from screens and to enjoy getting inspired by others.
Create small things often
Most projects people work on a pretty massive and this means things often take weeks, months or even years to reach an end goal. This means the satisfaction of shipping a product, completing a project or landing a new client can only be enjoyed every few weeks/months, with most of our time spent chipping away at these bigger goals.
In 2018 I want to attempt to create and complete something daily. Whether this be writing a blog post, sending out a newsletter, or even simply taking, editing and sharing a nice photo on Unsplash or Instagram, doing this should mean I finish every day knowing I have completely finished something. This will not only be really satisfying, but it should also give momentum to other, much bigger projects.
Take actual, restful breaks
I used to think that resting meant listening to podcasts, playing computer games, watching TV, browsing the web or hanging out with friends, but after taking a step back and trying out a few new ways to rest I realised these things aren’t the best way to rest. Real rest means actually giving yourself space to think, completely uninterrupted by anything, with almost nothing to stimulate your brain.
Most of our days go like this — wake up, look at your phone, get dressed, listen to music on your commute, work on your computer throughout the day, listen to a podcast on your way home, put music on whilst cooking, see mates for a drink, watch some Netflix, play on your phone in bed, go to sleep. Doing this on repeat gives us almost no break from external stimuli and therefore practically no time to think or process our days.
Last year I started to remedy this by going for walks (without headphones plugged in), occasionally visiting to art galleries (they’re free in London and often pretty peaceful) and meditating/praying more. Doing this was gave me space to think, provided clarity and helped me to see the bigger picture. I cannot recommend doing this enough and I’m certainly going to be doing that more this year.
So if you’re starting the year and want some slightly less sacrificial New Years resolutions (no one ever enjoys giving up chocolate) let’s try and use our time better by reducing how much we passively consume content, creating small things every day and learning to take a proper break at least once a week.