This past week, I began editing the abandoned novel manuscript I mentioned in last Monday’s post, and for the first time in several months, I feel like I am making progress on a worthwhile project. While this feels amazing after so many weeks of struggle and frustration, I also want to keep in mind the other goals I set while on vacation. It’s easy to get distracted by my old habits and to fall back into my routines, but these won’t allow me to move forward.
Prior to vacation, I was constantly plagued by exhaustion and a feeling of “not enough time.” The no-set schedule of a week away from work and home, however, allowed me to sleep and work as I saw fit, and for the first time in over a year, I felt like I had energy to spare. This has given me a small glimpse of just how detrimental it has been to my health and body trying to force myself into a work schedule that doesn’t fit my natural rhythms.
Many “life coaches” who give advice on how to gain more time for working on personal goals will encourage people to get up an hour earlier than they currently do. I have always hated this advice, but before my vacation week, I always assumed it was just because I am not a morning person. Now, however, I am looking at this advice as being genuinely negative for some people.
Most nights I go to bed between 9:00PM-9:30PM. My alarm goes off at 4:45AM. This should give me a good seven solid hours in bed, but I rarely sleep the whole way through the night, and I find it difficult to fall asleep. Going to bed earlier just increases my difficulty in falling asleep. Therefore, I am getting less than seven hours of sleep per night during the work week. To try and get up an hour earlier just to give myself more time for writing, photo-editing, reading, or other creative pursuits would have a larger detriment to my physical health and overall creativity. So this means I need to find other ways to maximize my free time. (I have written on time management before and encourage you to find what works for you.)
This leads me to some of the other goals I set while on vacation. One of them includes a greater focus on my photography. I’ve taken thousands of photos of various local landscapes, wildlife, and nature. For several years now, I have ignored the online photography community after developing a distaste for the some of the attitudes I ran into amongst people there. It caused me to quit sharing my photography. But I still enjoy it as a hobby, and if it is to be part of my free time expenditures, I should put it to use in achieving my personal goals. In the past, many people have expressed interest in it, and I have donated several pieces to charity auctions. But it has always been a medium I find easier to market in the “real world” as opposed to online.
I have several other personal goals, but those I’ll save for another time. The point of this post is that when you identify something that is holding you back from personal goals, you should never ignore it and go back to business as usual, no matter how difficult it may be to break routines and habits. For me, finding a better weekly schedule will go a long way to improving my creativity and my physical/mental health. This change won’t come without a new job, but my vacation experience gives me a better understanding of what I need out of a new job beyond simply getting away from a toxic working environment. I wish you all the best of luck in discovering what is holding you back and in finding ways to overcome those things.