Five things I’m doing differently. Starting now.

Like many of you I’m sure, I had grand ambitions for January 1st. I was going to start a new blog. I was going to start writing weekly blog posts. I was going to start my first my blog post with five, simple things I’d resolved to do differently in 2014. 

None of that happened. And it’s nearing the end of September. SEPTEMBER!

Let’s be honest – it’s hard to change. It’s easier, safer and more comfortable to stay the same. To make excuses. “I’m too busy”.

Today, I was tired of my excuses. I put my productive girl hat on, finally set up this blog and am finally writing this post.

(I can’t promise a weekly post, but here’s to trying!)

So here goes.

1. BE PRODUCTIVE, NOT BUSY

I’m so sick of being “busy” all the time. There’s always emails to write, people to see,  whatsap and private message, errands to run and favours to return.

When I quit my job two years I vowed to “stop being busy” with “all my free time”. But truth is, a busy person will always find ways to be busy; busy-ness is an approach to life.

I made up for lost hours in the office with more jobs, more projects and more things.

Soon I realised that as a freelancer, I don’t have any more time in the day than I did as a lawyer, but I do have more flexibility on how I exercise my time.

Busyness is a choice I’ve made in the past to fill up the gaps in my life and to distract me. Starting today, I’m going to un-choose it.

2. THE POWER OF A PAUSE 

Ever felt you’re so busy, rushing from one thing to the next, instantly responding to emails, shooting off emails, and adding more dates to your diary? Chaos begets chaos.

From now on, I vow to take more pauses. To take more moments in the day – even if they’re just a breath. I’ll create more pauses in my life – empty Saturday mornings, or a week night just to sit on the couch.

3. ERR IN THE DIRECTION OF KINDNESS

In his convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013, George Saunders urged graduates to err in the direction of kindness.

It’s so easy in this world to get wrapped up in yourself, your problems, your busy-ness. Now is the time to unravel. More pleases, more thank yous and more smiles. Grateful people are happy people.

4. SAY NO TO OTHERS IN ORDER TO SAY YES TO MYSELF

I like to please people and I like to see people happy. I know this is a positive personality trait, but it’s also one that sees me in a crumpled heap when I’ve overcommitted myself, or burnt out when I’ve said “yes” too many times.

My challenge from now on: consider what’s important , where my priorities lie, and gently say no when something doesn’t align.

5. CARE ABOUT WHAT THE PEOPLE THAT MATTER THINK.

Every time I see one of those “I don’t care what anyone thinks” type of inspirational-photo thingies I’m going to scream.

Truth is, I feel you should care what other people think.

Wait. Hear me out. I’m not suggesting you should invite other people’s judgements, criticisms and fears into your life – to hell with that.

I’m suggesting that you choose good people in your life – people you admire and trust, people that inspire you – and care what they think.

Challenge yourself to be the kind of person that they think highly of. Challenge yourself to be some one that you’re proud to be.

If we don’t hold ourselves and those around us to a standard, if we act recklessly and selfishly, we stand for nothing. And then we will fall for anything.

What are five things you could do differently, starting today?

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