I haven’t written a blog post for several weeks. Let’s call it a sabbatical; that’s what smart and successful people have. My batteries needed recharging. I knew 2017 would need to be the year when I go from saying, “I’m planning to start a business,” to, “I have a business.” And here we are – it’s 2017 and last week I delivered my first chargeable workshop – I’m in business.
There was a second reason not to post on my blog. At New Year, everyone is talking about the same things. We all want to talk about our diets, resolutions and how amazing we’re going to make this year. Although I knew what I wanted to say, I didn’t want to write a blog post that was the same as everyone else’s. One day I found myself reading a friend’s blog and writing “improvements” to the comments section. Sorry, Gabrielle.
And then this morning finally I read a blog which was saying something original. Write a list of things you’ll stop doing this year. A to-don’t list – brilliant. Don’t get me wrong, I realise that a list of negatives is just a list of positives turned on its head. However, the brain gets stimulated by creativity and there’s not so much originality when we’re talking about resolutions.
So I have my lists of to-don’ts and as I’m no longer a full-time teacher I realise that the list for you guys might be very long indeed.
1. Don’t neglect family and friends
Very few of us choose to be solitary creatures. If our work isn’t about making a better life for ourselves and those we care about then what’s going on? Every day of your life should be built around non-negotiables – things we simply must do, and that should include working, and spending time with loved ones.
2. Don’t skip exercise to complete more work
Physical exercise is primarily good for our minds and also pretty damn good for our bodies (I think we now know enough to turn traditional thinking on its head!)
If you aren’t currently exercising then you should be taking advantage of all the focus placed on it at this time of year; introductory offers, new release DVDs, books and articles. Finding something you enjoy or returning to something you used to enjoy is crucial. All the evidence shows that exercise will improve your mental focus and energy levels so that work gets done more quickly.
3. Don’t work late into the evening
This one is a no-brainer I’m afraid. Teachers have always worked hard but in recent years we’ve been lured into the mindset that busy-ness should be our main source of self-worth and importance. Unfortunately, overwork will probably make us die younger. The optimum amount of time to spend working each week is thirty-five hours. After that we become less productive. Is a thirty-five-hour week possible for teachers? Probably not, but a sixty-five hour week is ludicrous.
4. Don’t let social media take over
We can’t complain that we haven’t got enough time to get everything done each day when our eyes are never off our phones. Research indicates that office workers check email almost eighty times a day, and teachers can’t be too far behind. And that’s before we include all those other social media apps, the news, the weather, you name it. Get a serious grip on it by limiting the times when you’re on line. It will involve weaning yourself away and rewarding yourself for doing so, but it will undoubtedly be worth it.
5. Don’t neglect your mental health
The way to do this one is by doing the others first so that you have time in your life to be aware of how your head is doing. Then start to introduce other things to improve your most vital organ – mindfulness – try an app, meditation – try an app, time outdoors – bring a friend or a dog if you want company, get enough sleep, reflect on what you’re grateful for every single day – it’ll make you a more positive person.

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