This blogpost is also available as a podcast! Take a listen and please let me know what you think!
Now you can listen to LFB’s longer posts while at work so you won’t get in trouble by your boss for reading my blogposts. For all future td;lr posts provided you guys like this idea), I will be posting audio versions as well.
Conscious Living is a series which takes a closer look at living a life full of thoughtful choices and conscious decision making in order to live a life full of meaning, self-love, and respect for ourselves and the world around us.
I am all about conscious living (hell, it’s even in the subline of Love from Berlin). I will start to dive into this topic here on LFB very soon, but let me just give you a bit of a preview: To me conscious living is all about consciously deciding how we live our lives. This really seeps into every aspect of life, but for now for this post, I want to focus on consciously making good decisions about how we spend our time in order to get the most out of it and lead the most enriching version of our lives possible.
As you might have noticed, I took a bit of a hiatus for the last few weeks.
Which, is pretty surprising seeing as I am a workaholic. Because, my dear friends, here is the rub:
- burnout will inevitably occur if we push ourselves too hard
- perfectionists have a tendency to overwork which is actually counter-productive and leads us to be inefficient – the very thing perfectionists truly hate!
And so, while knowing this, and yet also consistently feeling the need to constantly create content and feeling guilty when I kick back and take a break, I tried to do just that in order to stave of this impending burn out I felt fast approaching. So, for the past few weeks, I tried to stake a step back, remove the guilt, and relax a little. Granted, I haven’t completely given up doing work, (I do have a 9 to 5 after all), have still stayed relatively active on snapchat and instagram (shameless self promotion: @lovefromberlin) and have been working on a lot of the behind-the-scenes LFB work. I did however take a step back from posting on LFB, replying to comments, and sending out any newsletters to give myself a bit of a work vacation. (Sorry to those looking forward to any of those things, but, hey! I’m back now!) Verdict?: I’m really glad that I did, because through doing so, I realized a few things:
Time is not infinite
We only have so many hours each day. For most of them, we spend them working. Then there are all those miscellaneous tasks or daily “blockers” that chip away at our time at random moments – waiting in lines, dealing with traffic, daily chores, etc. – that when added up end up taking up a substantial amount of our day. What we are left with are a few good hours in which we choose what to do. When we look at it this way, those few “me-hours” are so precious and we should really be making the most of them doing what we love and loving what we do. Which leads me to the second point…
Time is expensive
Coming from the start-up world, we talk a lot about expenses. Not expenses in terms of financial purchases, but expenses in terms of time. If you ever overhear people from the start-up scene talking about “how expensive” a feature is going to be, we are talking about how time intensive the actual implementation of a feature is going to be. Granted, this does still boil down to money, because money is time in the start-up world, but if we just stick to thinking about time as currency, we begin to realize something. Things that take a long time are more expensive and things that take less time are cheaper. And I don’t know about you, but the more expensive something is, the more worth it said thing better be. So I’ve taken this thought process and applied it to my daily life. After realizing how few “me-hours” I truly have, I only want to be “investing” my time in things that are truly going to make me happy. Running LFB does make me happy, but being a workaholic doesn’t. Using up all my “me-hours” sitting in front of the computer is not fulfilling. I want to “invest” my free hours in seeing friends and devoting my time to other hobbies. As far as the rest of the hours in the day go, I have also taken this new mantra to a whole new level, refusing to waste time in general. If there is a book I start that I don’t like, why waste hours I will never get back on being determined to finish it? Falling down the internet rabbit hole? Sometimes enjoyable, but often a waste of time: click bait articles, I’m looking at you.
Nobody regrets not working enough on their death bed
Continuing with the theme here of “spending” my “time currency” is the simple fact that no one regrets not working enough on their death bed. I doubt that at 90-something (clearly a true optimist here!) I will be lying in a hospital bed lamenting the frequency of my blog posts. I do, however, foresee regretting hours of free time I devoted to doing work instead of being outside in the fresh air with friends. Relationships are some of the most beautiful things we can cultivate on this earth and one of the most worthwhile ways to spend time. And when I say relationships, I don’t only mean those with friends, family, fur babies, or significant others, I also mean the relationship we have with ourselves. We should be our own best friend first and foremost and we should learn to cultivate that relationship and revel in our own company.
Work life needs “hard edges”
I am the first to say that I feel unproductive when not working. I also do genuinely love working – whether it’s on my photography, on LFB, or UX/UI work. But a VERY IMPORTANT game changer here is the concept that WORK NEEDS BOUNDARIES. When work life begins to eat up those precious few “me-hours” a day, we are no longer in the driver seat choosing what to do. And that’s just an expense I don’t want to have anymore. We really need to stick to some “hard edges” aka specific work hours that do not bleed into the rest of our time.
Work better be fun
Seeing as so many damned hours a day ARE devoted to work (it’s gotta be something like 80% of our day, but don’t quote me on this because I am definitely NOT a statistician. I only passed statistics bcos I systematically cheated. Sorry, Mr. King!), we better fucking love what it is that we are doing. Now, I know that sometimes we have to do things we do not like because we have to pay the bills. In those cases, we just have to make the best out of our situation. But sometimes we also just have to take risks and dive head first and eat ramen noodles for a few months, in order to try to turn some of our dreams into our day job. Big announcement here: I will be doing just that at the end of September. I am stepping away from my full-time UX/UI job to pursue my dreams of becoming a photographer that can live from her craft as well as really try to make LFB even better. (See what I did there? My “me-hours” can now be used to spend time with myself or friends and family without the guilt.) This is only possible by eliminating my current day job because…
It’s impossible to do it all
I have been trying to run a photography business as well as a full-time blog all while having a full time job. It’s just not sustainable. Referring back to the first take-away on this list, there are just not enough hours in a day to pursue them all. The beautiful thing though, is that the minute we realize this is the minute we can start having more control over how we plan our hours. This will take some brutal elimination on the part of hobbies or work we just do not love as much as the others. But this does leave room for us to cultivate the few things we really do love and still have breathing space for everything else.
We should not feel guilty for relaxing
Okay, so this one is STILL hard for me. I mean, I even felt guilty about not blogging while on holiday. But we should not feel guilty about taking time for ourselves doing absolutely what-fucking-ever. As long as we give our working hours “hard edges,” and really WORK during those hours, there is no need for guilt. The work is getting done. After hours? Let the guilt-free Netflix binge begin.
Stepping away makes us happy
As you have already gathered by now through reading this post, time is precious and not to be wasted, and the best time spent is time that enriches our lives. That time is always time that makes us happy. With such a finite amount of them, I for one know that I hope the majority of my hours are spent smiling and not even thinking about time because I am having that. much. fucking. fun. These positive moments form positive memories which, if we follow the thought process of “expense,” is actually like investing. You end up making more than you put in. Get it? If not let me explain: When we form happy memories those memories can continue to be recalled and continue to produce happy feelings for us long after the actual event has passed. Ultimately, even if we do not know why we are here (getting all existential now), we want to make the most of it and us. So many of us have been tricked into the mindset that work intrinsically equals value, but what is truly valuable is the personal ways in which we can make ourselves and others happy.
Stepping away also recharges us and creates room for new ideas
Having free time also allows us to generate new ideas. Have you ever noticed that the best ideas pop up at the most random times? For me, it’s usually during my morning shower. Our mind needs time to wander, stumble upon new weird crazy ideas. If we are constantly working and never recharging, a: our battery is dead and we are of no fucking use to anyone, let alone our boss. b: we have no buffer space to dream.
Now I am no self-help guru or anything so fancy, nor do I claim to be, but these are just some of my take-aways from my time away from the computer screen. They might be things you guys already know and I’m just really late on the train to Adultville, but you know, everything and everyone at it’s/their own pace.
How do you think about time, and what do you value the most? Oh, and please let me know what you think about LFB’s new podcast. I am totally new to the world of recording, so I can assure you that it will improve with time!