Rather than reluctantly rolling out of bed on Monday to face a new year of work, we woke knowing that this year will be different. A summer spent revelling in motivational podcasts, blogs, productivity books and doing some soul searching (don’t worry we also enjoyed our fair share of days at the beach, Christmas lunches and lazy Netflix afternoons) had us revitalised and recharged for a more simple, intentional and contented 2019. We’ve distilled all of the hours spent listening, reading and thinking into four key findings for a better year in work and life.
1. Planning for success
Setting goals has become contentious, for some believe rigid goal setting may close us off to the unforeseen opportunities and meandering that may serve us well in the long run.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits believes focusing on goal-orientated outcomes often doesn’t turn out as expected and,‘when they don’t, you’ll often end up either 1) trying to force something when it shouldn’t be forced; or 2) being hugely disappointed or frustrated.’
Though this is true, the A-type within us loves the rigour of defined goals. So how can we find a balance? Listening to the Best of Both Worlds Podcast by Laura Vanderkam and Sarah Hart-Unger we discovered a goal setting approach that resonated with both our hyper-organisational and realist selves. Rather than experiencing overwhelm from a series of extravagant, all-encompassing goals, the podcast suggests setting goals for each quarter. They advocate that per quarter you set three smaller, achievable goals for your work, relationships and personal life. An incremental approach negates the frustration and disappointment of unrealistic expectations whilst having something to visualise and work towards.
Cultivate a ripe environment for success by eliminating mental and physical clutter and employing the right tools - be it a simple habit-forming application like Done, using a diary to thoughtfully plan the everyday and cleaning your home and work spaces.
A good decluttering should be supported by considered storage pieces. You may like to explore some of our most popular modern bedroom storage and minimalist furniture pieces for a simple life here.
2. Trust your intuition
Last year we jumped into projects and commitments through a feeling of obligation or excitement and underestimation of the enormity of the task. In 2019 we’re open to opportunities but considering them thoughtfully as they arise. Do they align or detract from our intentions for the year? Will this benefit me in the long run? We’re honouring intuition (even though it’s hard at times). That leads us to our next point…
3. 'No' is a complete sentence
Another podcast we’ve been listening to is Let it Be by Kelly Exeter and Brooke McAlary of Slow Your Home. We really, really suggest you listen to this one. These two women candidly share their wealth of wisdom on simplifying your life and cultivating a calmer existence despite their hugely busy workload and motherhood.
One of the biggest lessons learnt from Let it Be is to prioritise and guard time for yourself just as diligently as you would any other work or personal commitment. That means learning to say no and not feeling obliged to attend every event, partake in every activity, or to fill downtime with errands.
We think this is beautifully stated by Brooke McAlary on the Slow Your Home blog,
‘You can be both busy and intentional. Being busy isn’t really the problem. I personally like being busy – to a point. I also really like down-time and the fact that this weekend I spent two hours in the hammock reading comics.
But how do we say no?
Start by understanding what you want from your life. Knowing your Why helps you say no and keep your priorities front and centre when there are tough decisions to be made.
Then commit to living by your Why. Ask yourself whether this commitment, this responsibility, this event, this piece of furniture or item of clothing is going to help you live according to your Why, or if it is going to take you further away.’
4. Seek contentment
Despite all of the goals, self-help and motivational talk above, our number one learning after three weeks with family by the beach, in the Tasmanian wilderness and driving down the east coast is that the most important things in life are those away from structure, work and the screen. We felt most content when the phone was off. No emails. No social media. No application reminding us to meditate and no merciless pursuit of goals. Just being.
We believe that for a better year in work and our personal lives it’s essential to make time for these moments. Pop out of the office for lunch. Plan a weekend hike. Turn phones on 'do not disturb' on a Sunday evening. How will you be seeking happiness and creating an even better 2019?
All images taken by Elise in beautiful Tasmania over the Christmas break.