I took a break from blogging for the month of April so I could focus on writing a book. The month went by sooo fast, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed my time away from the computer. I didn't completely step away from social media, but I did cut way back, and it felt great. I learned a few things on my break, here are five:
1. The world doesn't stop, just because I say "no" to something.
Saying "no" to my blog - something I love - was hard. Would everyone leave me for a "better" blog? Would my precious readers sink into despair without me? No, of course not. The world kept turning on its axis and didn't skip a beat. That's both humbling and freeing. Sometimes, even good things should be shelved for awhile, just so you can breathe. The world will still be there when you get back.
2. Focusing is a skill, and I've gotten rusty.
Just like adding numbers in your head, or riding a bike, or playing the piano, it helps to keep your skills sharp. The more you do it, the better you are at it. I struggled more than I anticipated I would. I realized I need to practice focusing on one thing at a time...and the more I do it, the better I'll become at it. Focus helps my creativity and makes me more productive.
3. My husband appreciates my attention.
My husband, Tom, is a saint. He has indulged my blog habit for almost seven years. Sometimes it means he spends the evening alone, or worse, goes to bed alone while I write. I try to tuck my writing into spaces of the day that won't interfere with our time, but it doesn't always work out and I hate that. He loves when I sit with him on the couch without checking my phone for emails and twitter updates. He appreciates when we have conversations...and when we go to bed at the same time. It's good to remember what makes your partner happy - and do it.
4. Television is overrated. Except for PBS.
Having a little more time on my hands meant I surfed the TV for something to watch. PBS has some great shows...I just stumbled across the series The Bletchley Circle and a couple other British dramas. Other than that, its a huge waste of time.
5. Most of social media is mind-clutter.
Just like the "Three Bags Full" task yesterday, social media takes regular decluttering. I cleaned out my email inbox (well, I started anyway), and took some notification apps from off my phone. I got off a couple of mailing lists. I took walks without my phone. I sat outside and listened to the air and the birds and the leaves. A clutter-free mind is a beautiful thing... and it's amazing how light on your feet you feel when you don't have to know everyone's latest Facebook updates.
Today's Small Thing is to take one of my "Five Things Learned" above and make your own challenge.
- Can you say "no" to something - even something that you love, if it is for a greater good?
- Are your focusing skills rusty? Take out a Sudoku book, a pair of knitting needles, a craft project, a crossword puzzle....and be intentional about your focus. Turn off outside distractions - TV, music, noise - and simply savor the art of doing ONE THING at a time. It feels wonderful.
- Spend time talking directly to, or listening directly to your man. Notice his eyes and his smile. Ask him open-ended questions: "what do you think about....?" or "how do you feel about.....?" I can assure you, he will appreciate it.
- Turn off the TV. Take a walk. Read a book.
- Mind-clutter: turn off "notifications," and set social media aside for a day. Get back in touch with the beauty of being. Simply being.
- Think of your own twist on this....how can you apply it?
Because you really have to be intentional about this.
Which challenge did you choose and why? How did it affect your day?