Were you a summer slacker? Were you lured away from your usual position behind a desk tapping away at your laptop to go outdoors and seek adventure, relax and enjoy the longer days? Did you eat on a patio while the sweet breath of the wind whispered through the rustling leaves of a nearby tree? Well, If that constitutes slacking, then, hell yes. I slacked off big time. Funny thing though. I accomplished more writing projects this summer.
Looking back, I have transitioned into a better work/life balance. It took being super isolated for over a year to get my priorities straight. About dang time!
When I began writing ten years ago, I spent entire days in the sitting position, hunched over my laptop, blogging. I rarely took breaks. Back then, there were blog contests and competitions that spurred me on, kept me typing away. Since then, I’ve written nearly 900 essays and published them here on the Wild Ride. But novel-writing has always been my passion, my reason for blogging — to build a readership, and I am most grateful to you.
You can guess where I found the time to enjoy life and polish my manuscript this summer. No? Take a look at my home page and the dates of my posts. Therein lies the secret. I was forced into the blog intensive care unit on May 25th when my site reverted to Premium from Business and exploded into tiny bits of broken links and missing photographs. By the time the engineers glued Humpty Dumpty back together in late June, I had found a new rhythm to my days. I’ve only blogged twice this summer, but have struck a balance, a new habit.
Since January, I’ve been journaling during my second breakfast — my first includes a coffee IV and toast. I start my entry by writing the day and date at the top of the page and then ruminate over the accomplishments of the day before. I follow up with what didn’t work out as planned and what I learned from the setback, however minor. When the days warmed up and grew longer, I took my bowl of granola, yogurt, and fruit to the patio under the shade of English oaks.
At the end of each journal entry, I list non-negotiable tasks and include reasonable writing goals. When I look back, almost all of them included writing a blog post. The bubble next to it only got my signature scribble twice. Hmmm.
Time is precious. August will slip away with summer as the shadows lengthen. We’ve already transitioned from the profusion of tender blossoms to the golden hues of late summer. I’ll take my new habits to accomplish more into the fall and see how it goes. Maybe what I learned might help you too.
I set my priorities and learned 8 life hacks over the summer:
1. Focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is detrimental and counter-intuitive.
2. Get outside every day and do something adventurous. There is a ton of value in movement, blood flow, change of scenery.
3. Seek awe in the simple things — I knew this one already — like the hornet I swept outdoors with an eagle feather, where it flew into my lilac bushes. I’m allergic, by the way.
4. Embrace happy feelings when they appear, especially when they come unexpectedly.
5. Accomplish more when taking breaks. The 90-20 rule — Ninety minutes of work followed by at least twenty minutes away from my desk.
6. Make appointments, plans, and reach out.
7. Don’t focus on huge goals. Instead, celebrate each baby step as a win.
This is the one I’m still struggling with:
8. Don’t feel guilty for not blogging. Write a post when swept up in a feeling that has to be expressed. Like this one.
When the mornings grow dark and too frigid to eat under the barren oaks, I’ll journal indoors. I’ll continue to go outside and move my sluggish body to get ideas flowing.
Taking breaks isn’t just for slackers!
Were you a summer slacker or did you find balance and accomplish more while enjoying the longer days? What did you do this summer?