FIVE DAILY GOALS FOR STAYING INSPIRED, AVOIDING BURNOUT, AND A HEALTHY AMOUNT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
I am new to blogging but I am no stranger to the “workaholic” mentality, writing, social media, or creating. I have always had a bit of an obsessive personality, and realizing it’s ok to take breaks or shift your focus away from what you’re working on has always been something I’ve struggled with, and I know a lot of other people do to.
Starting in college, there were times I would write and write and write, nitpicking every little detail and slaving over what I was doing, only to suddenly realize I hadn’t moved, never mind eaten, all day long.
I will be the first to admit I often become obsessed with what I’m doing to a point far beyond productivity and dedication. Plus, it almost always leads to me spending hours in bed and shutting myself off from the world, feeling like there’s just nothing left inside me.
Dedication and passion are good, working yourself into the ground is not.
About six months ago, I set the five daily goals for myself to help me prioritize and manage my “me” time, and they have really helped me prevent getting burnt out and overwhelmed. Of course, I’m not going to say I do all of these every day, or that I’ve mastered the art of maintaining balance, because I’ll be the first to admit I have a ridiculously long way to go when it comes to that.
1) Not looking at my phone first thing in the morning, at least until I get out of bed
I am so guilty of waking up and checking my phone before I even pull down the covers. If there’s anything that makes me feel completely overwhelmed, like everyone is trying to get a hold of me all the time, and like I’m already falling behind on work, it’s looking at my phone in the morning.
Waking up, getting out of bed, washing my face, looking in my closet, sometimes making a coffee (you get the idea) and THEN looking at my phone is all around a much calmer, reflective, pleasant way to wake up. It also helps me think about what I want to do with my day, and how I want to feel about my day with none of the pressures, notifications, or negative influences that might be waiting on my phone.
2) Spend at least one uninterrupted hour without screens
This is especially important for people who do a lot of work on a computer, from home or on their phones. Since I started blogging, I’ve spent more and more time working on my computer and (borderline obsessing of course) over my social media, which is something I need to work on. Spending that much time engrossed in a space that isn’t the world in front of you (and in many ways isn’t even real) is not healthy for anyone.
It’s super important to take a step back from all the screens. Lately for me, this means watering my plants, taking care of my fish tank (and watching the fishies) or reading. It could also mean chatting with my mom, taking my dogs for a walk, or eating dinner with my family. They’re all things that are really important to me, and I want to make sure I give them the time and attention they deserve.
3) Be present
Jumping from the last idea, focusing on being present in the physical space around you might be the most important of these goals. It is one of the best ways to ground yourself. Especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to look around you. Who’s there? What’s going on? What’s the weather like outside? Is Sheryl from accounting actually in your house or only on the other end of an email?
Human’s aren’t wired to constantly have 7 different things going on in their heads at all times. It’s fine to multi-task when you need to, and of course sometimes balancing multiple engagements is unavoidable, but it’s not sustainable. Plus, thinking about all the things you have to do at once is just a different way of spreading yourself too thin, and it’s going to end up impacting the quality of your work.
Focusing on the present moment and what’s happening right in front of you is not only good for bringing yourself back down to Earth, but for getting a little more enjoyment out of what you’re doing, which ties into to all of these other goals.
4) Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
There was a time in my past life as a college athlete life where I would work out for 3 hours and that would be an easy day. Regardless of how I feel about it, that couldn’t be farther from what my days look like now. That much exercise isn’t really sustainable (or healthy?) for most people anyway. Coming from someone who used to love going to the gym, I understand its hard to get there when you’re out of the routine (or in my case no one is telling you to).
There's something about getting up and moving around that makes for a really good break in your day, It’s also a chance to do something completely for yourself. A half hour is really not that long, and you don’t have to become a power lifter to achieve it. For me these days, this is often something casual and low intensity like walking my dogs, an occasional hike, maybe a little yoga or an ab workout.
5) Do at least one creative thing every day
I do a lot of writing. I work for a magazine, I maintain this blog, and I’m starting a full-time job in development and communications. I love writing and it is a creative outlet for me, but I’ve also come to realize that I need a break sometimes. I have found that if I zero in on something really singular for too long I start to drain out my well of ideas pretty quickly. Then, my writing starts to become more stiff, more of a force, and a lot less enjoyable.
Taking time out of my day to try and do at least one creative thing, whether that means picking up my guitar or pulling out a sketch pad, even something as simple as jotting down a couple new song lyrics, really helps me remind me what I love about creating. It also really helps me come up with new ideas more organically.
To summarize, the big overarching theme here is just to spend a little more time focusing your attention on the tasks in front of you, and on yourself.
These aren’t meant to be more rules that cause more stress either, just goals. Very flexible goals at that. I mean, 30 minute pedicures instead of 30 minutes of exercise? That sounds like a perfectly justifiable trade to me. Or you could mediate, pray, take a nap, whatever works. What’s important is that it works for you.
When it all comes down to it, no one can take care of you as well as you can. Taking a step back and thinking about what you can do for yourself is so so important.
I hope you took at least a little something out fo the post, and I’d love to hear about how any of these goals works for your life. What’s your favorite way to keep yourself grounded?