Self-care as a part of routine

One thing that I have noticed around me is an increase in tension. Many people seem to be under a lot of stress. They seem more stressed and more sensitive. I am not saying everyone but definitely a large number of people. And I am one of them for sure.

Staying at home uncovered lots of things to me. Although it is great to have extra time at home, it brings other unexpected side effects. We are forced to face ourselves and we are forced to see things we did not see before – simply because there was no time for it. Some of it might be surprising, revealing and yes – stressful.

So staying at home actually means going back home – literally and metaphorically speaking. We are uncovering layers that have not been touched maybe for years. While all of this is going on – the outside world is not the most welcoming or kind.

I am not writing this to make us feel sorry for ourselves. Rather to point out that self-care is more important the ever. It is a must. Here are some things I have added to my list to be more mindful of:

  1. peaceful and quiet environment with lots of light, plants and fresh air
  2. time off the media, watching news just once a day, scrolling through ups no longer than 2o minutes
  3. listening to soothing music or meditating at least 10 minutes
  4. physical exercises – adding variety
  5. eating fresh foods and limiting unhealthy choices
  6. reaching out to friends
  7. more screen breaks and resting my eyes more often
  8. learning something new (craft, skill, language and so on)

Take a good care dear friends and put yourself first ๐Ÿ™‚

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Self-care is a key component for survival

Going back to what I know…

Well, in times of crises I have always done it. Went home, talked to my grandma, met up with dear friends, looked at old photos, played old song…So this time I am going back to something I thought I have experienced and shelved. I even wrote a post about it and thought to myself: “Done that, been there – tick it off!”

I usually don’t go back but this time I am trying something else. Different perspective, angle, strategy and product. I don’t like going back to old thing that much as they lack the excitement but if they work, they have proven to withstand the test of time. I am trying again to open an online shop and everything from scratch. I know it worked four years ago and I know it took me about 2 years to get decent amount of customers, reviews and experience. Nothing fancy, very simple and straight forward. I will make an update in few months time. No, don’t worry, I am not going to promote it here ๐Ÿ™‚

The main reason I sat down I wrote this post is that I think you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to go back to old things. And especially if you know they worked. The social media promote ‘recency’ as something of a great value. It does have its value. Don’t get me wrong. But the old has its value as well and often it gets buried under the big hill of new shiny things…something to think about, I suppose ๐Ÿ™‚

Also one side note: I was really looking for different way to open an online shop and basically there were only 2 ways; my own website or being on one of the big platforms. What I would like there to be – is something like virtual farmers market of sorts. Few shops bundled together. That are perhaps nearby and I can get to know the people bit more. A platform where can I build my own email without feeling like I am doing something wrong. A platform that allows me be me. A platform that is not massive with automated Contact us section. A smaller platform of few where your product does not get buried in a day and where you don’t have to spend on ads to keep it barely visible…

Do I want too much? Am I naive? Is there anything like that already? Anyway, there are many little shops like me who feel the same. Maybe there are already creative people working on some app for a mini-platforms that don’t have the ambition to be sold and grow bigger but rather to serve its primary premise – to connect people and stay humane at the same time.

Have a great day and wishing you all the success in your ventures ๐Ÿ™‚

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Dreaming about lavender fieldsย 

Thinking about the next step…

There are lots of prediction how the world will look. It is clear to me that I will have to be more versatile and juggle lots of moving parts. I will have to learn few more things, too. From all of this I gather that the future is going to be about activity, flexibility and self-improvement.

All of which I don’t particularly like or excel in…I love things to be the way they are – change often scares me. I don’t welcome it…having said that, I know it is something that needs to be done. I have streamlined my direction as follows:

  1. What am I good at? Maybe look back into my past and rediscover old talent.
  2. How can I help others or solve their problem while earning bit on the side. Tutoring? Dog walking? Selling things I don’t need anymore?
  3. I need to go deeper in my skills, what makes be different from the crowd? (I need to work on this point and I know it will take me at least a year to do that – I know that sucks but it is better to be honest with myself)

So yes, this is a marathon that feels like a very long sprint ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s get it done!

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Mini-blocks and mini-burnouts

This might be useful for someone who works at home with a great intensity. That is what I have been doing during the lockdown and it occurred to me – that instead of having a big creative block or a big burnout, I experience a series of small ones. Not sure why it is, but this is how I deal with them.

Usually, when I put 100% into something or all my creative focus into one thing, I get very excited and almost nervous. I want to get straight to it. Bring it to this world so to speak – and usually I do. Sometimes, during that process, I start feeling like I am just pulled into some desert plains. I start asking about my motives, if someone is going to care, will it serve someone, am I wasting my time and so on. This is disappointing for me, simply because after a great high becomes a great low. And I think that is where many people stop creating and abandon their original idea/intention.

Now, when I am at home and I do need to find other strategies, I react differently. When I start feeling like this – I stop. I don’t push through anymore and I take time from it. I can do this just because I am at home. What works best for me is when I sleep on it. The next morning, I look at it with fresh eyes. And I am sure my brain worked on it as well while I slept. Then I continue and I finish the task no matter what where my initial feelings – euphoria or subsequent feelings – negativity. I finish it from a more balanced and neutral place.

I am writing this because you might be feeling the same, starting something with a great enthusiasm and then stopping it with negative feelings. I think, the best way through this is to embrace it and realise, yes, this is the process, this is how I work. There will be these ups and downs – and so what? Why it should stop me? This is how I work. This is how I get things done – and there is nothing wrong with it.

So keep on going my friends, no matter how hard it seems ๐Ÿ™‚milky-way-1023340

Keeping it simple and going back to basics

My last post might have been a bit long-winded, I think…

So today I am doing something different. Basically putting out a checklist of what I am focusing now during these strange times. I like to write short lists to streamline my thoughts, especially after watching or reading something inspirational or motivational.

  1. What do I love most? How can I translate that into a digital business/product?
  2. What truly fulfils me?
  3. What I am most passionate about (work wise )
  4. Prioritise based on my answers to Question 1-3
  5. Stick with it
  6. Organise other things that I don’t like, things that sap my energy, things I am not particularly good at
  7. Cut out things that eat my time
  8. What takes me away from my priorities – based on my answers to Questions 6-8, cut them out or at least minimise them

Yep, so that’s it for today ๐Ÿ™‚

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Working from home – because that is the only way now…

So…I have completed several weeks of work from home now. And just few months ago I thought that I will never work from home again….

This time round I found it quite hard. I was distracted by what was going on around me. I spent hours watching videos about the pandemic; what to prepare, how to survive and videos about what will happen next. ย As a result, my productivity dropped immensely not mentioning zero motivation to work. Anxiety and fear crippled me for hours. I am not ashamed to admit it. I believe that it is O.K. to be scared and worried. It is a normal reaction. It is good to admit to yourself and your loved once. If you do that, you will be more understanding towards yourself and others will be more understanding towards you. When I realised my feelings and failings, I moved to the next step. If you read my blog regularly, you already know that I love to follow steps ๐Ÿ™‚

I created a new routine for myself and decided to keep it. Morning routine stayed almost the same as on the “normal” work days. I created a little workspace that is shielded from my family and is fairly quiet. I have put up my board with a weekly timetable and deadlines. I left my phone in the bedroom and limited my time on the media. I have set a time for breaks (I have cut out my trips to the fridge). To make my work day more appealing, I have shorten my ‘actual’ work hours. I started my work with few silent minutes of ‘tuning’ into my work. This is an important little step for me as I need to sound friendly and enthusiastic when I talk to the clients. All of this, helped me to get into a certain tempo.

Once I moved on from feelings to action, I realised that I am actually still interested in what is going on. I even looked at new technologies that I can use and found some free courses I want to take. All of that helped me to settle into my ‘remote’ mode of working.

Did the worries disappear? No. I still have them. I don’t know what will the ‘world of work’ look like after the pandemic is over. Some people say that it will be better and some people say that it will be worse. I think – no one really knows ๐Ÿ™‚ All I know is, that I need to have a back up plan, in case I lose my job. I know that people often recommend to go deep and focus only on one thing. But I think, for me personally, this is not a good strategy. I am looking at my skills and thinking – what can I offer to this new world which is coming but I know nothing or very little about.

Here are my very crude notes:

1/ I know, that I have to diversify.

2/ What skills do I have, what can I offer.

3/ How can I enhance my skills in the shortest time possible.

4/Can I start providing this service now at least on a small scale, perhaps during that time I gained from working at home?

I will end up this post by some basic observations that might be good to share with you . I think that I am not wrong if I say that people will always – meaning even in our uncertain future – be interested in:

  1. Health
  2. Happiness
  3. Wealth

Are you able to provide service, advice, expertise in one of those areas? Can you solve some problems people have in achieving these? Can you teach them or help them?

Last time, when I was mentioning some hot jobs, I omitted completely the tech industry. Mainly because I am totally useless with anything technology related. But if you have those skills – you might go really up now. I can see around me a great demand for apps or educational software that are simple and useful. ย Or can you offer services geared up towards the industries that are under so much stress nowadays? That would be great too. Think about nurses, doctors, fire fighters , police force…Do you have something that will make their life easier, can you provide something that would be of a value to them? Or can you produce some cleaning or hygienic products? I can see a massive demand for those.

Or why not start with something small?ย I noticed that even now there is a demand for dog walking. Or you can offer to be a personal shopper and deliver the shopping to people who are not able to do the shopping themselves.

And one last note to end up this post with. But an important one. Never ever think that you can’t do anything. New opportunities are there already while some new once are slowly emerging. We need to notice them and decide which way we will go.

The feeling that we all are in this together is more obvious then ever. So I wish us all – sunny days ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

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Working from home again – what next?

Working from home become the new norm in a last couple weeks. Even people who never intended work from home – simply have to.

I found myself paradoxically at home again. Nothing new to me and I eased to it quickly. However, my old fears and problems reappeared: …I can be made redundant any time. How long before I am asked to take a pay cut? And so on.

Rather than listening to these lurking thoughts, I am looking at the new opportunities. I am asking myself, where are they? In what areas? Where is my place in this?

Here is a list of few ideas that might be booming in future and might be worthwhile to explore bit more:

  1. online education and tutoring
  2. care service offering remote activities
  3. fitness trainers providing online sessions
  4. delivery service
  5. providing of interactive activities for all ages
  6. anything to do with and audio – audiobooks and podcasts
  7. blogging might see aย Renaissance
  8. all crafts should be blossoming again right? ย (maybe a wishful thinking)

I am sure there are many more and I will add them as I go…

In the meantime I am off to polish some of my tutoring skills.

Take care and stay healthy everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

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Working from home for 8 years – my experience

Well, eight years is a long time and I thought that I should share my own experience. I do see lots of different posts on working from home, passive income and great part-time opportunities.

I have worked as translator and project manager for one internet company for many years. It was intense. I had to provide very high standard of service and had to be available any time as we had customers from all over the world. When I say any time – I mean it. I worked on weekends and I worked late nights. The pay was not fixed and depended on the bulk work done – hence me working during Christmas and Easter break ๐Ÿ™‚ The pay was average and only if I have done 10 hours day, the pay was worth it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. I have done it for a reason. I could stay at home with kids. I have no regrets. However, my energy supply was limited and once I slowed down, I was not needed…

I think many people don’t see this side of “working from home”. My family members and friends often joked on my account saying that I am on holidays all the time. About that I WAS bitter. Although these were loving people, they did not see the work I did and assumed I don’t do much if I don’t go to work in the morning. Of course, they did not know that I am working sometimes till 3 am in the morning, that I am working when sick and so on. I felt that my work is invisible and not valued. I know many people can make it and work from home with a great success. But not me. And I thought that my experience might be useful for someone as we are usually told only the good things and then we lose time figuring things out.

My list for next work from home job would be:

  1. What is the success rate of this business model, 1 in 10 or 1 in 1000
  2. What is the pay structure and job guarantees
  3. ย Will I have holidays and free time or am I expected to work in different time zones
  4. What are the future prospects of this job
  5. Make list of advantages and disadvantages

and then decide if it is worth it ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_1119