Here we are on the first Monday of February, and I’m trying to turn down the volume on all the pep talks going around social media. Seems like everyone is feeling the new month, new week, fresh start vibes and I’m over here wondering if my to-do list will just hold on a second.
My first month of 2015 wasn’t inspiring on paper but man oh man did I learn a lot. I’m all about honesty, so I want you to know I’m not always right and I don’t follow my own advice. Remember my post about self-employment in December? It seems like I forgot my own words after January began. So here are my lessons learned from January:
1. You can be good at self management in the workplace, but take away all the structure and you might fall apart. Maybe not, but probably. The good news: It doesn’t have to continue to be your story. There’s always a chance to choose something else. Also really important: falling apart doesn’t mean you failed.
This was me in January. My flexible work schedule turned into working in the evenings and on the weekends because I said an enthusiastic YES! to everything else. Yes to coffee with friends, yes to helping friends with things during the week, yes to extra tasks that didn’t pay my bills, yes to biking the river trails all afternoon, yes to writing blog posts, etc. These things were awesome, but they cost me big time. To catch up with my work in January, I had to work 6 days and 50+ hours last week. And I’m sitting here on February 2nd, the Monday after the catch-up week, exhausted and spent. Lesson learned. February: saying the intentional YES! and the brave NO.
2. Mornings start and end quickly when you work from home.
All of the sudden it’s 10:30am and you’re daydreaming about the things you might eat for lunch. At my desk job, I had already completed 3 hours of work by 10:30am. At home, it’s a good day if I’m 2 hours in. It’s easy to dilly-dally, pour more coffee, run a quick errand, or spend 30 more minutes cuddling your pets in bed. I work best in the morning, so my February self is getting out of bed by 8am every day unless I’m sick. Lesson learned.
3. I questioned my abilities a ton and didn’t know what to do about it.
I told you guys to get used to cheering yourselves on. Apparently I need to listen to my own advice a little better. More than three times in January I received a few weird emails and my whole day was rocked. I didn’t have a recovery system. I wasn’t rooted and grounded in my faith, listening to what God says about me and says is true. I thought completing my to-do list made me valuable for that day, so when things took a turn another way or people didn’t respond well to what I was producing, I didn’t know what to do. In February: mindfulness, belly breathing exercises, and starting from within… not relying on what is external to dictate my well-being. Lesson learned.
4. I am rich in life.
This wasn’t a part of my December post, but something I learned on the eve of my 25th birthday in January was that my life is SO RICH and all the striving I do can halt because what I’m seeking is all around me. Continuing in February: gratitude lists, practicing presence, and celebrating the richness of life – from afternoon sunlight on the porch to really good tacos with Marcos, to flying on two wheels and sipping iced coffee next to people who truly know me. Those are just a few of my favorite things that happen almost every day. Like I said, rich life.
What did you learn in January? What are you hoping for February?