Tag: #personaldevelopment

An invitation to stop using time-saving hacks

Last weekend I volunteered to help make food at an event. It was a pretty basic task. I had to restock the drinks bottles on the shelf, refill the snack bowls and make some pizzas in the oven.
I was surprised to find it was the most relaxed I’ve felt when making food in about a year. The basic task of cutting up pizza slices was bringing me more joy than similar tasks usually do.
The big difference was that I was taking my time.

The power of understanding our productivity fluctuations

In the past four weeks I’ve been doing more public speaking than I’ve done in the last six months

On Wednesday I gave the final push to a paper we’re launching at COP on the social aspects of circular economy. In practice, this meant mass reviewing 1000 revisions on track changes and comments to a semblance of a clean document.

Unsurprisingly by Thursday I was knackered. I remarked to one of my colleagues that this was one of the least productive days that I’ve had in months.
When I gave myself the grace to realise how much I had been pushing myself over the last two weeks, I could see that this was a natural cycle of energetic flow.

Being an outsider in a room full of insiders

This week was a European tour for me. I started in Brussels, then went up to Amsterdam to speak at the Sustainable Packaging Summit. on Wednesday I came straight to London (with a small box of chocolates for my dad’s birthday) to speak with a group of Spanish cleantech startups. I’m now going back to Brussels this Sunday (and speaking at another event on Monday there!)

I’ve been posting quite a lot recently about the importance of getting out of our comfort zones if we want to get wider perspectives. This week was me putting this into action

The balance between being right and being effective

This week, I’ve been reflecting on the idea of ‘being right’. After all, so much of what we do is based upon finding the correct answer.
But what does being right really mean?
For a long time, I saw being right as synonymous with the best way to do things. In my mind, once we reflected upon something for long enough, there was more or less a single answer that was correct.
Looking back, I’d say I was pretty naive.

Finding the balance between reflection and overthink

The last few weeks I’ve kept my days clearer and my evenings quieter.

Some call this ‘slowing down’, though I find that term a bit confusing – because whilst I am doing less activities, my mental space doesn’t feel particularly less active. If anything, it feels like I think more, rather than less.

It’s been an interesting experience for sure. Having freer evenings has allowed me to lounge around and enjoy spending time alone. When I tried ‘doing less’ in the summer, I ended up getting fidgety and felt quite miserable because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I think I’m having a better crack at it now though.

The power of spending more time daydreaming

I’ve spent more time lounging around in bed this week than I have done in months. And honestly, it’s been pretty great.

This experience has been in stark contrast to my recent months. My summer was meant to be a period of downtime. Yet I found it really challenging to really relax. It was as if there was an angst to go out and spend time with the world. Which then meant I was getting tired again.

I think I lost sight of the benefits of having comfort and safety. Our so-called ‘comfort zones’ are often used in the sense of things that we have to break out of to grow. But I forgot that there is a reason why having a comfort zone is good too. It’s nice to feel calm and safe somewhere.

Finding the joie de vivre in our life’s work

I’m writing this on a lazy Sunday, where I’ve been feeling anything but with the essence of joie de vivre.

I had an injury on my abdomen return on Friday. My Saturday was watching England get hammered by South Africa in the Cricket World Cup (and also lose to the same opponent in the Rugby World Cup, but I follow that less). Meanwhile, Chelsea managed to throw away a 2-0 lead against Arsenal in the last 15 minutes to draw 2-2.

But this week was around connecting with my joie de vivre about what I do.

The importance of being in the room where it happens

This week’s theme for me was about getting myself out there.

Over the last few months, I noticed that I haven’t been going out to meet the world as much as I could – particularly around and about in Brussels. Perhaps it was a hangover from the pandemic, but the convenience of online meetings has led me to become a little overreliant on online communication.

So this week I attended a few networking evenings plus work events. I feel a bit silly now, but it became starkly evident that I had been missing out on great connections due to my passiveness

Everything everywhere all at once is not a recipe for success

I spoke to someone recently who remarked that I sounded quite relieved when I told her I felt like I could just concentrate on just living for the next few months.

Last week, I wrote about how we can better integrate the different areas of our lives. The natural consequence of that we receive an economy of scale. It also means we reduce the sense of feeling guilty for not doing enough.

For me, I would feel like I could not ‘complete’ all of my goals within the timeframe I had put on myself, nor within the hours of the day. The mixture of career, leisure, fitness, coaching and writing felt like a constant juggling act.

But the relief came when I realised that I didn’t need to make this so complicated.

The journey of integrating our different selves into one

If you’ve been following my writing for a while, you might not be surprised to learn that I’m currently on the Eurostar. I shift across from London and Brussels regularly, in fact this is the second time I’m in the UK this month.
I’m attending another three-day intensive around personal development. Each time I attend, I find new ways in which I can deepen my understanding about myself and the world. This time, I want to go with nothing to prove, nothing to take and no one to impress. Instead, I want to really live into being fully present and receiving the learning opportunities.
The fact I’m doing this is illustrative of how much I enjoy different things. And why not? After all, there are many rich experiences to enjoy in life.
Nonetheless, what has become apparent has been the way in which this makes it hard to keep track of my priorities, with the risk of spreading myself thin.