For pretty much the whole time I was living in London, the inside of my wardrobe door was plastered with sticky notes reminding me of things I was dreaming of doing but I was never finding the time to do. Drawing, studying a foreign language, play the ukulele, take a singing class… I kept on telling myself that I would do all of those at some point, but I simply couldn’t at the minute because my job was taking up too much of my mental space.
Now I’m jobless, and when you’re jobless you find yourself with a lot of time on your hands. In fact, as soon as we were settled down in Wellington I thought, Great! This is my chance to finally tick all those wishes off my list.
Easier said than done, though. I went from having no time to having too much time and trust me, one thing is having a day off after a busy week, and another is having the whole day to yourself every single day. It can get intimidating. During my first week in Wellington I was far from productive. Because I felt I had all the time in the world, I ended up wasting most of it. Getting out of bed was getting harder and harder. I would drag myself to the library, stare at people for a couple of hours, browse through job offers without applying for any, go back home, and squander the afternoon on YouTube.
This made me feel awful. I wasn’t accomplishing anything. My art supplies lay abandoned in a box, I couldn’t remember where I’d put my Japanese books, and Puke the Uke was gathering dust in a corner. Most importantly, I was completely ignoring my blog, which I’d put as top priority in the hope of turning it into something more professional.
I wasn’t happy with myself one bit. So I sat down and worked out an action plan.
- Make a daily To-Do list
Write down all the things you want to do today. Not in your lifetime – just today. Keep it simple so you’re not overwhelmed.
- Have lunch
Make sure you include things that you’re obviously going to do, then cross them off. This will make you feel accomplished and will give you motivation to keep on going. I like to include things like peeing, reading, having lunch and taking a selfie.
- Plan a schedule
Give priorities to your tasks and decide what to do when. Perhaps you’ll find out you’ve overestimated your time and there are too many tasks on your list – in this case, cross out anything that can wait until tomorrow. Don’t try to overdo!
- Have a cuppa
Even if what you’re doing is probably something fun, don’t forget to give yourself a break. Factor in some time for a refreshing walk outside or a tea break.
- Pretend it’s your job
Now that you know what you are going to do, do it. Take it seriously. No matter what, do what’s on that list. Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you think there’s something more important you should do instead.
Two weeks into it, I feel like a new person. I now alternate days dedicated to job-hunting and days dedicated to being creative. On job-hunting days I wake up early, go to the library, spend the morning applying for jobs online, go to the gym before lunch, hand out CVs in shops and cafes in the afternoon, and relax in the evening. On creative days I also try to wake up early, and I dedicate the morning to my blog. This can be either actually writing and posting something, or just doing some research on something I’m planning to post in the future. I also plan what I’m going to post and when, so I can keep track of what’s coming and it helps with time management too. If I feel inspired I also write in the afternoon, although not for my blog: I found a couple of websites that I would like to collaborate with so I’d try and write for them. I also do my best to draw as much as I can. Inktober is definitely helping although I have missed a few days, but I’m concentrating on trying on new drawing techniques and I’m definitely being more productive than I used to. I’m also playing around with Puke more and my goal is to learn one new song every week.
I hope this was helpful, have fun getting shit done!