What I learned in March

Now that April is more than halfway over, I finally have a minute to share my insights from last month!

March was enlightening for me in many ways. I was able to observe myself and my work habits more objectively – looking closely at what they really are and how I operate – in order to build around who I am instead forcing myself to work the way I think I should.

I learned that I work best when I have no ultimate final output in mind. Diving into the process with no solid vision of what I am doing or where it is going is the most fun I can have. It’s where I constantly find myself inspired and excited, and where I smile and laugh as I see the form of a project bubble up from the work I’ve done, not knowing what it wants to become until it does. I love watching it emerge.

Along the way, I found a few tools and techniques that helped me get into this process and stay there longer. They made my work much more enjoyable and focused, eliminated a large percentage of distractions, and helped me stay more organised – all so I could experience more time with that beautiful spark of creative inspiration.

1. Tools

Split screens on Mac

No need to get all fancy with multiple monitors, you can get the same benefits using Mac’s split screen (there might be PC options for this too. Definitely worth looking for). Just hold the green dot down until you have the option to choose another screen. Whichever one you select will sit side by side with the other (with the option to change the ratio or swap them around for whichever view suits you best). I tend to put research on the left and writing on the right. It looks like this: Continue reading

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My Happiness List

My Happiness List

As I mentioned last time, the process of thinking about and writing down a list of things that makes me happy and keeping the list where I can read it regularly has been quite enlightening. I know I said it before, but who knew that thinking about what makes you happy would actually make you happier? It’s a sweet trick. I try to read my list every day, really taking a second to remember what each one means to me (it only takes a minute and it’s well worth it). Going through them gives me a little rush of joy every time.

Since the list I shared with you last week is just the summary I use to trigger my thoughts for each point, I felt inclined to share the full idea behind each one. It’s more of a note-to-self summary than a description, per se, but if you’re in the process of making a list for yourself maybe it’ll give you more ideas. I read quite a few lists from other people while making mine and it helped guide some of my own points.

In writing this all down, I particularly liked how they tend to cross-pollinate. For example, paying close attention to people helps me nurture my relationships, while being Noelle helps me have more fun. Ditching my ego makes it easier to not keep score, and being active helps me look my best. It’s lovely to see them build on each other like that.

So without further ado, here is my expanded happiness list! Continue reading

What I Learned in February

Well, it wasn’t as successful as last month – by a long shot. I had a few lovely days off to hang out with visitors (reading under palm trees, gorging on delicious food, and wearing myself out with pool games) followed by a week of not as much fun when the builders came and tore out two of our bathrooms. I was locked in the living room with a meowing cat for five days, one of which was my birthday. Not terribly fun and definitely not very productive.

That being said, I did manage to get some stuff done in February and learned a few things along the way.

Keep a Happiness List and Read it Often

While I didn’t completely finish the Bliss Station I mentioned last month, I did make progress. One thing that was great to work on was my happiness list (based on Gretchen Rubin’s happiness commandments from her wonderful book The Happiness Project – how many times can you fit the word happiness into one sentence?). I wrote the majority of this list a few months ago, but I wanted to review it and hang it somewhere I could read it every day. I’ll put up another post with what each of these mean to me and why I chose it, but as that is too long for here I’ll give you the shortened version. Continue reading