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A Little Time Off

It’s been just over a week now since I left the best job I ever had. It feels weird to think that, let alone say it. When I was still there, it definitely didn’t feel like the best job, but the last seven days or so have given me some perspective. I wake up in the mornings not routinely checking my emails, clearing my Facebook messages or wandering onto the website to see how everything is going. I have started to make time for breakfast in the morning, I don’t wake up panicked and I actually have time to read on the bus without falling in and out of sleep.

I miss parts of it. Of course I miss the inevitable sense of importance and being able to work with fantastic people on a daily basis. I miss being at the beginning, middle and end of the story, watching the whole journey happen – and knowing that there was a small part of it that was down to me. The feeling of accomplishment that you get from doing a good job and working with people who (hopefully) feel valued is second to none. I miss watching the names and faces of those you start with, grow and prosper. There are so many fantastic individuals that have made me smile and gasp in awe this year, many of them close to home, but also a number that I can already see on the horizon doing their thing already.

It would be impossible to thank everyone that has been a part of this. There have been times along the way, probably more than I expected, when I needed to lean on someone for help and they have always given me the time I needed. I am not going to say that those people should know who they are, because many of them are reading this – and I wanted to express a heartfelt thank you. Feeling empowered in the position that I was in is only boosted knowing that I represent and sponsor the values of others walking alongside me. Like-minded individuals marching fervently towards change.

It has been a privilege to hold that baton for nigh on 12 months, but batons are meant to be passed. In truth, even though it was difficult at first, it has been refreshing to find myself again. It also amuses me slightly that at a moment’s notice of focusing on me I am back at this keyboard and typing it all out. I guess this gives me a platform to transform myself. A constant that I can turn back to for more challenges and puzzles that I am craving now.

It does feel empty at points. A numbing feeling looking back at some of the best experiences and achievements of my university life, knowing that it is not only the end of that, but nearly the end of another chapter. I look back at them fondly, but it hurts knowing that they are past and the future looks a little more uncertain.

However, I am taking a little rest to start with me. That is the reason why I have not been so diligent in responding to messages this month or have taken time out of other commitments. This phase of hibernation is slowly drawing to coming to a close with this succinct message, but it has been nice to have some time away from most responsibilities. As time like this, as much as I hate the mundane, it feels good to have a tidy house, a decent schedule and time to relax. It is something that I have missed immensely, and felt guilty about for too long. No one should begrudge themselves a little time off.

With the last few months of a staple life to go, before things take a massive upheaval, I can honestly say I feel calm for the first time in a while. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen, but having fought against the impossible last year and managed to achieve some of it, I can’t wait to see what is in store.

The thrill is in the chase right?

I’m Too Busy

It’s easily done. You want to make the most of your time, combined with the fact that you rarely say no. You have a diary covered in biro from the various meetings and lunches that you have to attend. When you ask a friend if you can meet up for a drink, both of your eyes avert directly to your phones to see whether your calendars can squeeze each other in. Spontaneity is allowing them to decide where you are going. The idea of being impulsive is a distant memory when you think about all the responsibilities you have to keep.

I have been guilty of this. This is only the second post that I have written in four months. I’m actually embarrassed at the fact that I have forgone one of the things that I have loved doing for so long, because so called “more important” things have taken over. For all intents and purposes, that is an illusion. The only reason that I was reminded to write something, was after a chance encounter with a friend who said that they read the blog. Then it hit me.

I hadn’t even thought about it in months. I always keep a list of things that I want to write, but the chances are these ambitions get squashed because, you guessed it…I’m too busy. It really got me thinking about my priorities on a day-to-day scale. How often do I sacrifice things that make me happy on a daily basis to graft for the long-term vision? You can tell yourself that things are going in the right direction, and by busying yourself with a list of tasks, how do you actually know where you are? Have you given yourself a chance to reflect?

It pays to take a day off and do the things that you have been putting off. The reason that your productivity is so low, is because you give yourself nothing to look forward to. And I am not talking about that dinner that you offered yourself as a treat for writing that essay, but the food for your soul. Let me give you an example. I went to India for the first time last year, and in 6 months, not once have I looked back at my diary or even contemplated going through the pictures. Yet, it sits on my to-do list, circled vigorously with the vague urgency to get to it. That doesn’t work.

The one thing that I have realised, is that the best things you do don’t get put on your lists of mundane tasks for the day. They sit dormant in your mind whilst you contemplate taking time out of your busy schedule to actually do them. Now is the chance to make time.

For the next 30 days, I have set myself the target to write something every day on this platform. To be honest, I am quite scared, because I have never written with that level of frequency before and I fear that it could get self-indulgent. So watch out. But this is a challenge and it means making an effort. It means making time. It means “I’m too busy” isn’t good enough.

You should try and do the same. Start thinking about the things you have been putting off, the people you haven’t met, the places you haven’t visited. What can you do in the next 30 days to consciously free up your schedule and release the shackles of your packed diary?

Try it. You really have got nothing to lose.