Thinking, designing and building a website is a steep learning curve. But I’m grateful I’ve been able to make time to really enjoy that learning curve. I’ve not only found out some fun HTML facts (that’s a lie, but I’m sure there are loads) I’ve learnt more about me, the way I work, and what I enjoy about what I do. Here’s what I found out…
Five things I’ve learnt during lockdown
There’s a lot going on almost all the time. It’s easy to get wrapped up thinking about what you’re doing next, what you need to do, what’s happening somewhere else, what you didn’t do and so on. Take a deep breath and focus on what it is that’s happening right now. Even if you’re not enjoying it, you’ll learn something about yourself. Notice your life.
2. Enjoying learning
People say you lose some ability to learn as you get older. Maybe you do, but that doesn’t mean you should stop. I find it easier to learn specific skills and concepts in my thirties than when I was in school. Nowadays, I’m able to quantify why I should learn something. I also have the ability to discover how I can learn that thing. I’ve learnt how to learn, and no doubt you have too. Don’t throw that away.
3. Connect with people
They’re not far away. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who found lockdown isolating and lonely. It made me think. We have the ability to access almost anyone in the world at our fingertips. Technology and social media can connect us with friends, family or complete strangers, but it’s up to us to make it happen. Over the past few months, I’ve connected more than ever with old friends, family, and even formed new relationships without ever meeting anyone in person. I think that’s pretty cool.
Note: If you’re interested in the idea of making meaningful connections and how they help then check out Mike Guest’s project, Dawn Days.
4. Routines work for me
Deadlines work for me too. I’ve learnt to use my time effectively throughout the day. Dedicating time first thing to meditating and yoga and tea, before sitting down and working. I try my hardest not to get distracted by notifications, and separate time for communicating. I’ve learnt to keep my phone away and on silent, turn off emails, and zone out my surroundings when it’s work time. Discipline is hard to keep when you’re the enforcer though. Which leads me neatly into the next lesson.
5. Go easy on yourself
There’s no reason to stare at your laptop trying to work. Sure, the odd 5 minutes won’t hurt, but if it’s not working or you’re really distracted then do something else. Go for a walk, read a book, solve a puzzle, procrastinate. You’ll come back to your task feeling much better. Still feeling blank? Just repeat the process. It can be tough for me to sit down at a laptop on a sunny day. It’s been drilled into me from a young age that sunshine should be enjoyed outside. So take your thoughts outside. Pencils and paper are portable instruments and a lot easier to use on a bluebird day than a laptop.
How those lessons have helped me
I went from a ‘nine-to-five-Monday-to-Friday’ schedule to a ‘no work, no travel’ lifestyle, and I know a lot of other people did the same. I was 2 years into an in-house content marketing and SEO role at a ski, snowboard and surf retailer before it went into administration.
I spent Monday to Friday in an office talking about going outside and I spent the weekends going outside. Lockdown and being laid-off came simultaneously and they marked a seismic shift in my lifestyle, but it turns out that an ‘enforced sabbatical’ was a welcome change.
I started meditating more frequently, went for walks, started brewing ginger beer and did more yoga. All these things are done slowly, the exact opposite of my previous lifestyle, and they gave me room to think about my next steps.
I’m grateful that I was able to consider what I should do and that I could reach out to friends and family for support where I needed it. It was time to go freelance and getting online was step one. Getting online takes time. Luckily, time is the one thing I had plenty of. And this website is the result.
It’s still growing though, and apparently that even takes time. I’ll add more information here and stories about my work. It might start to look really corporate or quite generic so enjoy it while it’s still a bit different and hard to find.