The Einstein Window

The Einstein Window: The Key to Time Management

A huge part of time management is knowing what to work on and when. Your productivity can be seriously hampered if you do not properly organise your time. When you are going to work on what task. Having a clearer picture of this is key whether it is to maximise your hobby potential, or to ensure you meet that crucial deadline at work. Think about the issues you might face at work or when otherwise trying to organise your time. What challenges do you face? I can tell you that there is a period of the day when you will get your best work done and that is the Einstein Window.

What is the Einstein Window?

The Einstein Window is the time each and every day when you have a mental peak. Work might feel almost fun as you manage to complete tasks with each and push onwards to the next one. It is the time of day you feel capable and productive as your power through your work and those problems you face seem more like fun puzzles waiting for you to solve them.

If you are not sure of what I am talking about, try to think back to your last day at work. Think about how productive you were throughout the day. You are not at the same level for the whole day. Consider when you were the most productive and how that felt.

The mental peak of the Einstein Window normally lasts two to four hours. It can happen at widely different times for different people and can vary based on your lifestyle and diet too. Luckily, where we spend so much time at work it is likely to fall whilst we are there, enabling us to capitalise on its positive effects.

For me, it starts around the middle of the morning. I feel incredibly motivated and I can get through tasks with ease. I think for most people it would probably be during the first few hours of your work when you are better rested and not worn down by any monotonous tasks. Take a few minutes to identify when your Einstein Window is.

The Einstein Window

Protecting Your Einstein Window

Once you know when your Einstein Window happens, you need to learn to protect it. This is the period of the day you have the capacity to get the most done and you do not want it to be hijacked by outside forces. You want to be able to effectively use your entire window.

The process of protecting your Einstein Window begins with occasionally saying no. You need to prevent interruptions from happening to your work by anyone at any time during your window. I’m sure you can probably think of a few times someone has asked you to do something whilst you have been deep into other work. Moving on to help that person with their problem makes you lose focus and time for your own tasks. Some of you might even be able to think of an occasion when you have had person after person requesting your help, eating up all of the time you had to work on a particular task yourself.

When you agree to help your colleague, that is when the interruption happens. If you can, I would recommend politely telling your colleague that you are unable to help at the moment but will come back to them later. Make a note to go back to them at a more convenient time for yourself, and then continue with the task at hand.

It is important not to come across as unhelpful. That is not the vibe you are going for! So be sure to follow up with your colleague when you can and not to forget about them. They will appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to assist them, as long as you do!

If you work in an office you will not be surprised when I tell you that they seem to be designed to maximise interruptions! Working in clusters seems to promote talking over computers and desks at each other. This can make it difficult to get your work done and make the most of your Einstein Window. You need to be able to focus without getting distracted by colleagues, and the best way to do this is to leave the office. Or, at least, your normal office space.

Maybe there is a breakout room, or unused meeting room, that you can make use of. Maybe you have the option to work at home. If you have a particularly important task to get down during your window, I would recommend trying to remove yourself from any situations that might distract you too much.

Collaboration and creativity are valuable to teams and businesses, which is why offices exist in the way they do. It is important to know when to make use of those resources and when to back away to get important work done. This is especially true during your Einstein Window.

The Einstein Window

Distractions we create

Take a moment to think about all of the distractions that you might create yourself. Primarily, I am talking about your mobile phone. Here we have a device which is constantly connected and going off all of the time.

I am sure that some of us are very good with our phones and do not keep them on our immediate person whilst at work. In some cases, however, you might need to keep it on you so you can be reached on it. This is particularly true for the self-employed and freelancers, who rely on their phone to generate work!

Even if you do need to have your phone on your person and not silenced, it is worth thinking about what distractions you are willing to allow during your Einstein Window. I would certainly recommend either removing or temporarily blocking access to social media apps, and other apps you might waste your time on. Not only will this significantly cut down on the number of notifications you receive, but you also will not be able to waste any time scrolling through your feeds. Most modern phones have a function built in that you can use to restrict access. I promise you the world will not end if you switch off from your phone for a couple of hours.

Mobile phones are not the only distraction that we make for ourselves though. Self-sabotage might also come in other ways, such as booking meetings too close together. You need to allow yourself either a decent amount of time between meetings to effectively complete tasks, or book them almost back-to-back as not to waste time between them.

Whatever you do, try your best to remove any distractions during your Einstein Window to reap the best results.

Now you have identified your Einstein Window, it is time to go out there and make use of it. Try organising yourself so you have tasks to do during your next window and see how you do. I’m confident you will be very pleased with the results, particularly if you are normally prone to distractions or moving from task to task without resolving them.

Have you heard about the Einstein Window before, or does it sound familiar? What time do you have your window and what do you do to make the most of it? Let me know in the comments below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
When does a hobby become something more?

When does a hobby become something more? A look at trying to become a professional photographer

There are some lucky people out there. Lucky people who have a day job which is something they truly enjoy and fulfils them. For the rest of us, that is but a dream. I think most of us have had thoughts about turning a hobby into a stream of income. Perhaps even had lofty goals of this income replacing our day jobs. To be able to do something that we wake up excited to do every day would be bliss. But at what point does a hobby become something more? Here is a look at my thoughts about this and trying to become a professional photographer.

I believe that almost any hobby can be turned into something to make money. Whether it can be enough to support you solely can vary greatly depending on the hobby – and how good you are at it. There are ways to make money with almost any hobby or activity. On a very basic level, you can talk or write about the hobby and generate money from advertisements on a blog or service like YouTube. You can also get sponsorship for posts or videos this way, or use affiliate links for a small kickback. Starting a revenue stream this way is very popular at the moment!

Doing the hobby itself to create income is another option. If you are a great painter of miniature models you could consider doing commission work or entering competitions with prizes. If you enjoy dress making it might be worthwhile selling some of the dresses you make. Graphic designers can create bespoke logos and other graphics for people. For almost any hobby I can think of it would be possible to monetize it somehow. If you have a hobby you make money from, why not share it below in the comments section?

For the past few months, I have had the desire to take my photography further. I want to be able to make money from what I enjoy doing, and perhaps at some point in the future even have it replace my job.

There is a lot I still have to learn, however.

I have been putting together a list of things I will need to move forward with my plan. At the top of the list, as I would imagine would be at the top of any similar list, is doing more of the hobby. Taking more pictures. I can have all of the fancy websites, invoicing systems, and contract templates I like. Without the ability to take good photographs they will be useless. Without a stunning portfolio and the ability to draw potential clients in, I don’t have a business.

But that is not a problem. That is because this is a hobby first, and taking pictures is what I enjoy.

When does a hobby become something more?

Developing your hobby

Recently I have been trying new ideas and having a go at different types of photography. Specifically, I have been focusing on city photography over the past few months and I have been quite happy with the results. I have also been looking at black and white photography. You can see some of these photographs as the accompanying images to this post.

I want to move on to trying out portrait photography next. I’ve had a little success with this in the past, and want to experiment and learn more about this form of photography. I have already begun asking friends to strike a pose for me, and hopefully will have some lovely results soon!

Developing your hobby is key to making an income from it, and this process should never stop. There are always new things to learn and new techniques to experiment with. Even if you decide not to adopt these ways of working going forward, the experience they give can be invaluable to you and your audience.

Chances are that you will consume some content from other people who are making money from the same hobby as you want to. Whether that be a blog like this one or a YouTube channel, you will get the opportunity to learn from their experiences. Whatever that post or video talks about, you might go on to try and thus giving you another – perhaps unique – perspective on it. Share that perspective with the world!

Not only will sharing what you learn to help other aspiring hobbyists (whether they seek to make a profit or not), but will show to the world that you are serious about refining your craft. This can have huge benefits, not least of which is attracting potential clients!

When does a hobby become something more?

Consistency and Set Backs

It is cliché and often repeated, but, indeed, you can only develop your craft, build a brand and a following, and start to create an income from your hobby with consistency. Consistency is the key to success and often one of the hardest parts of, well, basically anything.

Being consistent means that people know what to expect from you. They will enjoy seeing your regular posts, and they will know what service to expect from you when making a purchase. Only focusing on trying to turn your hobby into a moneymaker for a few days each month will never work.

This is a huge reason why some people will not succeed in their plans. They will suffer burnout from trying to do too much at once, or they will get distracted by something else. If this happens to you, the important thing is to remember that setbacks happen. You just need to make sure you get back to it as soon as you can. You certainly should not feel that all is lost just because it has been a few weeks since you last updated your Instagram account, or made a sale, or made any hobby progress. Do not forget to make use of hobby projects to keep you engaged in the process. They still work even when you are trying to make money!

I have certainly struggled with consistency with just about all of my hobbies over my life. And even now, knowing that I want to move forward with my photography, I sometimes struggle to find the motivation to remain consistent. It is natural, however, to sometimes falter and I know I have what it takes to make the dream a reality.

When does a hobby become something more?

Make a Plan

If I can give you one tip, it is to make a plan. With a plan and vision, you’ll be able to clearly set down the path to turning your hobby into something more, something you can make some money from. The focus you gain from a good list is enough to keep you consistent and prevent distractions and burnouts!

A key reason to make a plan is to ensure you do not forget to do anything at the start of your enterprise. If you will be making money, there are all sorts of legal things to consider. Even when creating a website, there is much to be done. Missing any part of these could cause problems further down the line.

A good plan will be created over time, as you research more about your hobby and how you could make money from it. I have been looking in to become a professional photographer for a few weeks now. I have a list which is continuing to grow as I work on some things and discover other areas which need attention.

I would certainly advise, however, that you should not procrastinate by doing nonstop research! You must, as some point, start the business! And start to make money from your hobby.

Even once you have gotten underway, you can still implement to-do lists. They could be incredibly useful in some situations. For photographers, for example, you might have a list of shots you should take for each session. Maybe a list of things to do before or after taking the photos. These don’t need to be one-time activities but things you do every time. This list will continue to grow as you learn more and more about your hobby and refine your craft. And as you do, your potential to earn will increase.

When does a hobby become something more?

Turning your hobby into something more where you can generate a little bit (or a lot) of money from it is certainly something I would advise everyone to try at some point in their life. You don’t necessarily need to invest huge amounts of time into it, just so long as you do consistently work on it. A little each week is all you need to get started.

Over time, by sticking with it, you will find it easier to devote more time to the hobby and the business side of it as your reach grows and sales increase.

You will also be able to learn so much from the experience. Whether that be about running a small business, new ways to experience your hobby, or meeting new people. There are so many opportunities that open themselves up to you when you invest some time in something you love.

Even if you aren’t concerned about making money from the hobby, there is still a lot of growth to be had by pushing the boundaries of your hobby and exporting it to other people in some way and fashion.

There is a lot to gain by working on your hobby to turn it into a small business, regardless of whether that means leaving your current job or not. Particularly in these uncertain economic times, having another stream of income is not a bad thing.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any experience of turning your hobby into a small or large business, successful or not. Don’t forget to like and share this post with your friends too, to ignite the spark of hobby growth in them too!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
What am I doing with my life?

Asking yourself: What am I doing with my life?

I think we all get to a point in our life where we stop and wonder, to ourselves or another, what am I doing with my life? Perhaps this point comes at retirement when your job can no longer define you. Maybe you have just finished university and you are not sure what to do now. Perhaps you have been in the same job or field for years and it is becoming apparent that it is not what you wanted from life. You are not alone in these thoughts.

What am I doing with my life?

What am I doing with my life?

In my own life, I am constantly thinking about what I want to do with my life. What I want to do “when I grow up”. Although I might be grown now, the certainty of my direction in life is not there. I wonder if this is down to the expectation of having a set career path. I have never known what I wanted to do as a career, and that did not bother me. But because so many people define themselves by their job it feels weird that I cannot, or at least do not want to, do the same.

Recently I decided at the next social function (whenever that might be – thanks COVID) where I meet new people, I will respond differently each time to the “what do you do?” question. I will respond as a service assistant, as a blogger, as a photographer, as a pianist, as many other things too.

Embracing the fact that I can be more than one thing is helpful when I get to thinking about the direction of my life. Considering this has made me much more positive. I think the answer to this question for me is less tangible. I want to achieve many things, and experience many things. Have a good, enjoyable life. But from day to day, what I want to do can change and that is okay.

What am I doing with my life?

What are you doing with your life?

I wonder how many other people stop to ask themselves what they are doing with their life? I guess, on one level or another, we must all do it. To be uncertain about one’s life is a very human characteristic. But just because it is natural does not make it easier to deal with. This is particularly true for those of us which struggle more with answering the question.

For some, the ongoing global pandemic might have caused this question to come to the forefront. Whilst some people are managing to get by relatively unscathed, some are not as fortunate. Personal and monetary woes might have people questioning their direction, past and present.

I think given everything that is going on that now is a good time to discuss where we are all going with our existences. It is not an easy discussion to have, because the answer will be so vastly different from person to person. It also requires a lot of reflection, which some people might not be used to doing.

What am I doing with my life?

The path to an answer

To answer the question of “What am I doing with my life?” you must first understand and accept that the answer if it can be found at all, is very likely to change as time goes on. What drives you in one moment might change, due to personal growth and changing opinions, due to social change, or due to unforeseen events.

I wonder if some people might find it hard to accept that things will change over time. That what they might want will change and adapt as the clock moves on. I think that it is especially important to understand and appreciate this, not only for yourself but for those around you. People grow and things change. And that, as they say, is life.

It is also worth knowing that it is all right not to have a clear picture of what you want your future to look like. Perhaps you have not worked it out yet, and that is fine. What people perceive as their future and what they end up with, in reality, are probably quite different anyway. That is also okay. In some ways not knowing might be better, as you will not be artificially tied to one big end goal. You will be free to keep exploring, growing, and experiencing new things.

Experiencing new things is a key component of growth. With this growth will come a better understanding of what you want to do going forward. There is so much to experience and learn out there is this big world – and beyond in the stars! Deciding what you want to do with your life without seeing what is on offer can be, in some cases, a mistake. Anecdotal stories of older generations waking up and believing they have wasted their life are not hard to come by.

But just because you might be older does not mean it is too late to experience new things and to set a new path. Whether you are 20 years old or 80, you should always keep learning, developing, and striving towards a goal or ambition. For as long as you are able you should encounter the myriad of opportunities that your life affords you. Do not decide at 60 you are disappointed with how things are going and spend the remaining 30 or more years of your life being unhappy about it – that is a third of your life!

None of us knows how old we will be when the time comes for our life to end. If this is not reason enough for you to stop procrastinating than I am not sure I can offer you anything that is. Deciding what we want to do with our life is not something that should be rushed in to, but equally, it is not something that should be put off again and again.

What am I doing with my life?

This might all seem a bit wishy-washy to you. Perhaps this is coming across a bit idealistic. Perhaps it is. But it can be grounded in your life quite easily. Give thought to your interests and do not settle on something because it seems the easiest option. Yes, in many cases what you want to do with your life should be realistic, but that does not mean it needs to be specific in its scope. These do not need to be SMART objectives (although this post might help you reach your goals)!

Perhaps the simplest advice I can offer is not to put too much pressure on yourself in making this decision. Remember that you can always change your mind! As you go about your life, you will be subject to new things which will continue to shape you.

Never stop learning. Never stop growing.

What do you think about this? Have any helpful tips or personal experiences you can share? Post them in the comments sections below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Human beings are creatures of constant change. It is not our way to be just one thing, in one place, for all of our time. For some, falling into the unchanging ‘tree-like’ stance can be detrimental to their wellbeing. It is our habits and preferences that can take root and make us immovable. This prevents us from progression in our life and causes stagnation. Breaking free of our roots and moving forward with our lives is not something impossible to accomplish, however. This post will take a look at how we can encourage fresh growth in your life by making the smallest modifications and setting new goals.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Change isn’t always pleasant

It is comfortable to do the same thing over and over again. Patterns and routine are kind to us. We know them and they know us. Moving away from these habits and towards new ones can be difficult because of this.

You will naturally resist any attempt to change your ways. You are so accustomed to them that you may find yourself justifying staying just as you are. Maybe you’ll begin to barter with yourself. Just one more take-away – it’s been a difficult day! Afterwards, we can start the diet tomorrow.

The saying that there is never a better time to start than now is not only true, but we all know it is true too. Our self-justifications that there is always a better time to do things is, actually, rather laughable. There’s a reason we want to make the change, and it is because we are not as happy as we think we will be after the change. But the unknown quantity that exists, and the doubt, make us delay our development.

I’ve experienced this mental barrier personally (just about every time I go to exercise) and must confess I am not always able to break it down. Sometimes I just stop and decide that things will work themselves out in the end: there is no need for me to change.

I’d wager most of us to can point to a recent example where we essentially talked ourselves out of doing something that we originally wanted to do. It begins as us putting things off and finding other things to fill our time. In the end, we push it so far from our thoughts that all notion of it ever being achieved is forgotten.

Deep down we know that change can be positive. If we can improve ourselves, no matter that it might be difficult, I say we should try. Eventually, you will tire of the same old life, day after day. If you wake to find yourself stagnant one day, with your roots firmly planted and no sign of your life progressing, it might be time to take a look at making a change.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Know what to change and what to keep

It’s important to know what you want to change and what you want to keep. It’s also important to realise that trying to change too much will set you up for failure. I’ve written more about this previously in this post.

If we are honest with ourselves, we can often highlight a few areas of our lives we would like to change. It’s good to also recognise those areas that are beneficial to ourselves too. We don’t want to make the mistake of doing away with those, accidentally or otherwise!

Similarly, it might not be worth changing things for the sake of changing them. Don’t fix wasn’t isn’t broken, as they say.

What you need to focus on are those areas which, perhaps suddenly, no longer feel fulfilling. When the same old, same old begins to take its toll, it’s time for an upgrade. A change for the better.

One way of looking at it is by Marie Kondo’ing it. If you aren’t familiar with this author (and Netflix sensation), Marie Kondo advocates for decluttering of possessions by picking up that item and deciding whether it sparks joy within you. If it does, it stays. If it does not, it goes. The same method can be applied to the mental clutter in our brains and also the clutter of our lives and the actions we undertake (or don’t undertake). If getting up an extra hour before work to catch up on social media beforehand isn’t doing it for you anymore, it’s time to stop.

Of course, we must accept also that this is a very personal decision. Everyone has very different lives. Some might seek to stop doing tasks which others want to begin. Identify what is important to you, and want you want to do with your life. If you have made and recorded your goals (whether by resolutions or otherwise), take the time to assess what steps you need to take to make your dreams reality.

It comes down to knowing what works for you, and what doesn’t.

Further, remember that not all changes need to be huge and significant. Sometimes a small change can be very impactful (and more than that, easier to achieve). Many small steps can make up a large one. The art of setting smaller, more readily achievable goals, is something I have written about previously in this post about my 2020 goals.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Be S.M.A.R.T

Aside from making sure you have a strong foundation to build your changes upon (see this post I wrote on the subject), you also need to make sure your goals are SMART.

Chance are you’ve come across this acronym before. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time.

Your goal must be specific otherwise you might not know what you are doing or how to get there. It cannot be too broad and must enable you to be able to take both small and large steps towards its completion.

A measurable goal is one with defined criteria for success. Such as dropping 10lbs in weight, and not something like being beach-body ready (although that is the dream).

The goal must, of course, be achievable. If it isn’t you are likely to become disillusioned and you’ll find that nothing much changed at all. It has to be something you can actually do.

Realistic goals are easier to maintain. It’s important not to make a goal too difficult to complete. Goals shouldn’t be too grand. If they are, perhaps you should consider breaking them down into smaller ones.

Time sensitivity can help get results. Not setting yourself a time limit on when to achieve something by can lead to perpetual procrastination. On the flip side, giving yourself a deadline – such as completing 5 home-made Christmas cards by the start of December – can be a powerful motivator and a way to keep yourself in check.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Things to consider and how often to make changes

As I said at the start, humans are beings of constant change. But it can be important to reflect on the speed of the change sometimes, for the above points. Make sure you always put yourself first, in a loving manner, and take the time to smell the roses.

Small changes might happen all the time, but what about a significant change? This varies from person to person. Those more used to making large changes might feel more comfortable doing so more often, and vice versa.

Be kind to yourself if things take longer than anticipated. Patience can be a reward in itself. Likewise, if you find your goals coming together nicely at a pace quicker than anticipated that does not mean you should rush out to find more goals. Perhaps it would be a good time to sit back and enjoy the moment – you’ve earned it.

There are a few things which you should consider before attempting to make changes in your life. We’ve touched on them already so I’ll just highlight them here:

  • Is this change/goal beneficial or fulfilling to me?
  • Does it meet my personal standard of significant? Is it worth changing?
  • Is it SMART?
  • Am I being patient and kind to myself if change is happening slowly?
  • Am I appreciating each moment along the way if change is happening quickly?

The most important thing to remember through this process of change is to remember that regardless of whether it is faster or slower change, you are still worthy and deserving of that growth. Become the best version of yourself.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

If you have any tips for those wanting to make a change to their life, whether small or large, please share them in the comments below. Shared knowledge can help us all improve.

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
Cope with Anything How to Build Resilience and Inner Strength

Cope with Anything: How to Build Resilience and Inner Strength

Things are tough for many people at the moment. The uncertainty that has come with the virus spreading around the world has caused many people to wonder if they will be able to cope if things get very stressful and when everything seems to be going wrong. And sometimes things will go wrong, particularly given everything going on. It can all become very frightening, and many people are feeling this way at the moment. The thought that you won’t be able to cope is a powerful one, but not one that is impossible to shake off. This post will look at how you can cope with anything, and how you can build resilience and inner strength to deal with the tough times.

Cope with Anything How to Build Resilience and Inner Strength

A Changing, and Stressful, World

The Coronavirus has rapidly changed the way we go about our days. The entire world has been affected by it and the responses to it. The uncertainty that has come with these changes have been stressful for many people. In the UK, many people are furloughed or at risk of losing their jobs altogether. Our key workers put themselves at risk daily to ensure the continuation of important services. Medical workers on the front line worry they might catch the virus or, perhaps worse, pass it on to a loved one at home.

We have all watched the news, perhaps more than we might usually, and seen the reports on what is happening to our world and the country we inhabit. Things are difficult for us all. And what is now happening only serves to compound what already happens in our everyday lives: the death of loved ones, car breakdowns, high bills, redundancy, and even disappointment at results from a test. Many things happen to us in life which can be difficult to deal with. The Coronavirus is another, and quite large, problem for us to deal with.

As individuals, it is important to learn how to deal with these issues and overcome them. We don’t want to feel constantly overwhelmed, and so we must learn to be resilient and to increase our inner strength. The knowledge that we have survived all of the difficulties life has thrown at us so far should be a reassurance to you, and one you can nurture from reassurance to a cornerstone of your strength.

The perpetuating loop of worry that can be caused by many of lives events can be slowed and stopped by realising that you can deal with the problem in front of you. Luckily for us all, resilience is something that can be developed and grown. It might not make you invincible to all of the problems in the world, and you will not hurt less when tragedy strikes. What it will do, however, is help you to adapt and overcome the circumstances you find yourself in, without losing yourself in the process.

Cope with Anything How to Build Resilience and Inner Strength

Six Ways to Increase Inner Strength and Boost Resilience

Let’s take a look at six ways you can develop your resilience and increase your inner strength.

  1. Reclaim control of what you can – When dealing with any difficult situation, it is important to identify the things you can control and the things you cannot. Those aspects you cannot control can seem daunting and, perhaps, even scary. You can use up a lot of mental energy worrying about those aspects, leaving you even more frustrated and upset. Instead of this, try to work out the areas that you do have some control over, no matter how small they seem, and use your energy to exert influence over these areas instead. Take action here to reclaim some control over the situation.
  2. Emotions are not your enemy – Some people take the attitude that what you are feeling should be pushed aside to focus on the problem. This can make matters worse for yourself, as failure to recognise your feelings can leave you unprepared for the next difficult situation. You will not feel less distressed by pretending the situation isn’t scary or upsetting. Permit yourself to feel your emotions. Respect your emotions and they can offer a way forward. Make sure to show yourself the compassion that you would a friend in a similar situation.
  3. Leave your comfort zone – To help build your coping capabilities, step outside your comfort zone and try something new, exciting, and maybe a little scary. By doing something that might be difficult, unknown, or challenging, you’re building resilience. Show yourself what you are capable of by regularly stepping outside your comfort zone. Sometimes it might not work out and that’s life. But the experience of trying shows you that you can make the attempt, and it perhaps wasn’t as scary as you thought it might be. All of these attempts build a bank of experiences that demonstrate your ability and your inner strength.
  4. Build strong relationships – Your friends and family can be rocks to ground you in difficult times. Surround yourself with strong rocks so that when things go wrong, you have people around to support you. This support is worth the world in some situations and will remind you that you aren’t alone. Not all rocks are created equal, and some might be more feathery than rocky. I wrote about making sure you stay around positive people in my post on making sure you stay positive during troubling times. Just remember, you need to reciprocate that rockiness when your friends are in challenging places as well.
  5. Practice mindfulness – I have extolled the virtues of mindfulness many times. And in difficult situations, it can come in handy. Being able to properly focus and not be consumed by negative emotions is a powerful tool to have. Resilient people, even if they don’t realise it, have some measure of mindfulness. Start practicing mindfulness today and your resilience will benefit, as will so many other areas of your life.
  6. Take care of yourself – Perhaps the most important tip I can give to you is to make sure that you always take care of yourself. Self-care makes you mentally and emotionally strong, and able to cope better when hardships come your way. Make sure you get a solid sleep each day, eat well, and don’t worry so much about the things unsaid or that you didn’t do. Spend time outdoors and doing things that you love. Everyone is different, so just do whatever you enjoy, whether it be yoga or hitting the nightclub with your friends. Life can be difficult and it’s important to remember that you aren’t a machine. You are here to enjoy and experience life, so don’t forget to do that, even when things get tough.
Cope with Anything How to Build Resilience and Inner Strength

Ensure You Reach Out

There is a myth that fully independent people are stronger people. That they can deal with any hardship. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. Resilient people know that they should reach out for support from those around them. It is okay to be vulnerable and seek help from friends and family. This doesn’t make you weak, it makes you resilient.

Even with the current climate of social distancing, we can still reach out to others. Technology has brought us all closer together. Make use of it, and also remember to reach out to your friends occasionally to make sure they are still doing well.

Together, you can have the strength to go through any challenge and come out the other side even stronger. You’ll be in a great position to deal with the hardships that come your way.

Cope with Anything How to Build Resilience and Inner Strength

I hope you’ve found this post informative and can use it to help build your resilience. Resilience counts for a lot in the difficult times we find ourselves in. If you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments below and we can all learn from your experience!

If you are struggling with your mental health during this unprecedented time, please know that resources and help are available to you. Please visit the Mental Health Foundation for assistance.

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
Can Hobby Projects keep you motivated all year?

Can Hobby Projects keep you motivated all year?

When thinking about goals and resolutions for the new year you might be reminded of all of the times you didn’t quite make it. All the times you started a new hobby, started doing something repetitively, just to end up stopping after a while due to burning out or mere forgetfulness. When thinking about these times that things didn’t go so well, you might stop to think about how you could improve in the future. How next time can be different. Luckily for you, I have the solution. You can keep up with a new hobby by adding some structure to it and setting some hobby projects for yourself to work on.

Can Hobby Projects keep you motivated all year?

Whilst this post is geared at hobbies, you can apply it to any area of your life where you find you are unable to keep things going.

Using projects to maintain your motivation for your hobbies is an excellent idea but not a new one. It is based on the premise of working towards smaller goals. You’re just dressing it up in a different way and, hopefully, receiving tangible results each step of the way when completing your projects. An example of what I mean could be learning photography. Your overarching goal is to become a good photographer (let’s ignore the subjective nature of that for now). You might have smaller goals on the path to meeting that primary goal such as visiting a photo gallery, and learning how to do portrait photography. The first smaller goal as a project is possible but perhaps not immediately obvious – perhaps you could produce a piece of work on the gallery about what you experienced and learned, or try to mimic what you see there. The second is clearer, however. Why not start a project to do portrait photography of your close friends or family? In the process of doing so, you will learn how to become a good portrait photographer.

Can Hobby Projects keep you motivated all year?

The Benefits of using Projects in your Hobbies

Several benefits come from using projects in your hobbies. Firstly, they provide an excellent way to stay motivated. Using the above example, taking portrait photography of your friends or family gives you a goal to work towards which can keep you engaged in the process. You can stay excited about learning your hobby by moving on to new projects one after the other as you improve your skills. You can look forward to starting, progressing, and completing these tasks. Little boosts of euphoria that can turn a new hobby into a love which you really want to do.

Another benefit is the tangible results you can receive from doing projects. In the portrait photography example, at the end of the project, you will potentially end up with a lovely collection of photos of your friends or family. This is something that you can carry forward and has multiple applications. In my own life, I sometimes print pictures I have taken onto canvas and give them as gifts. A personal and unique gift like a portrait is perhaps one of the best gifts you can give. Further, you’ll be able to look back in the future and have evidence of what you have achieved in your journey. In this example, they can even form part of a portfolio for use in other projects.

Avoiding burnout and recovering from it can be a key benefit of taking up a project in your hobby. You will be able to avoid burnout because you are more engaged in the project, as we talk about above. You can switch things up in your hobby and start a new project to recover from burnout as well. By changing things and starting something new you can reignite the spark of passion you had for the hobby, and hopefully continue to practice the hobby for a long time. Burnouts are common, and can be because of the repetition of a task. Projects (as long as they aren’t too large) avoid this but keep things new and interesting.

Can Hobby Projects keep you motivated all year?

Hobby Project Ideas

The possibilities when it comes to hobby projects are practically endless. Depending on what your hobby is, there is normally no limit but your imagination. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to thinking up hobby projects. Whilst my earlier example about portrait photography was simple enough, they don’t all have to be like that. It is worth noting, however, that making projects too large and complex might cause burnout in itself if there is too much repetition! Projects should be exciting, take less than a month to complete, and help to progress your hobby in some way.

Ideally, your projects should focus on an area of the skill you want to develop.

Here’s a list of some ideas, broken down by hobby, which will hopefully inspire you in your hobby projects:

  • Musical Instrument
    • Learn a particular piece of sheet music which focuses on an aspect of playing you want to develop
    • Perform a series of pieces to a group of friends
    • Write about a performance you have seen using what you know about music theory
    • Record and upload video of yourself playing to the internet
  • Writing
    • Enter a competition
    • Write a short novel based off of a friend or family member
    • Write the same story in different genres
    • Launch a portfolio of works on a website
  • Gardening
    • Plant vegetables that you go on to use in your kitchen
    • Add a water feature
    • Go to a flower/garden show and try to replicate things that interest you
    • Work on someone else’s garden or a community garden (such as at a park or church)
    • Teach someone else how to do particular things in the garden (not too broad)
  • Programming
    • Make an app
    • Learn a new language
    • Streamline a process you regularly use
  • Gym/Fitness
    • Plan your exercise routine
    • Start a home gym
    • Research new exercises that target a certain muscle group
  • Crafting
    • Make a themed collection of items
    • Make a set of items for gifts
    • Learn a new skill by working towards an end product (or multiple products) using mainly that skill
Can Hobby Projects keep you motivated all year?

Hobby Projects to avoid Burnout

Avoiding burnout is something we all want to do. Burnout is where you, essentially, just lose all motivation to continue whatever you were doing. Sometimes you might not even notice it happen at first. Maybe you’ve been learning a language every day and then missed a couple of days. Before you know it you’ve left it weeks since you last practiced. Once you realize you haven’t been doing it you come against the issue of not having the motivation to resume. Maybe that is because now you’ve not done it for a while you feel bad about it, or lost some kind of streak. 

Being able to maintain your hobby in this way is great for you because having a hobby you enjoy and are motivated in can increase your productivity in other areas of your life, such as at work. Some companies like Google mandate that 20% of employees’ time at work should be spent pursuing activities they find fun, like hobbies. ( We can take from this that suffering from burnout, and not engaging with your hobbies, will lower your productivity. That’s not something that most people aspire to and should be avoided where possible!

There are many ways that you can help to avoid burnout, and one of those ways is with projects. The idea is that instead of something being open-ended, like learning a language every day, you have set end dates and goals. For example, you might aim to be able to go to a restaurant and order in French. This can be a project as it is made up of smaller steps, such as learning what you need to say, working on the pronunciation, practicing with it altogether, finding a suitable restaurant, and actually doing it. You might even want to find someone to go with you. 

Because you stay focused on this project with smaller goals, you forget about the vastness of the primary goal which is learning French. This enables you to stay focused and motivated to complete the project. Once done, your next project and adventure awaits you.

Getting into the habit of creating projects for your hobbies to stay engaged and motivated means that you’ll not even need to think about keeping up with your hobbies. The only thing you’ll need to consider is what your project will be. Concepts like burnout will almost be a thing of the past, and occur much, much less. You’ll enjoy your hobbies and your life much more, and the bonuses to other areas of your life through increased productivity will be a boon to yourself.

Can Hobby Projects keep you motivated all year?

To conclude…

Something that must not be ignored when looking at hobby projects is that they are fun. Ultimately it is this that helps reduce the likelihood of burnout and keeps you engaged with your hobby of choice. Your productivity will benefit and you may well end up with tangible results from your hobby project as well. I’m hopeful that you will be able to start a hobby project now and you’ll experience the benefits of them first hand. I know I personally love them!

Do you already have hobby projects on the go? Let me know what they are in the comments below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing