There is something about being away on holiday that makes everything seem so simple. Maybe it’s the break with routine and habit: by getting out of my day-to-day rut, it offers fresh perspectives and new insights. Or perhaps it’s the chance to actually think things through without constant interruptions or attempting to tackle a never-ending to-do list. Or maybe it’s being in a new environment and being inspired by the natural and man-made wonders it has to offer. Regardless of whether it’s one reason or all of the above, everything always seems so much clearer to me when I’m travelling.
A recent family road trip through Ireland in August has been the impetus for me to rethink, regroup, and start over in a few aspects of my life. Like my health. A new Fitbit revealed how little activity I actually did over the course of a work day. I originally told myself I just didn’t have the time to do more, but with the benefit of distance (and getting in 10,000+ steps a day without realising it while away), I realised how silly—and, ultimately, counterproductive—such excuses are. What could be more important than taking care of myself? So I’ll be kicking off my autumn with a focus on improving my eating and exercise habits.
Then there are all the activities I try to juggle on top of a demanding day job. I need to make my side hustles—the crafting, the writing, the environmental advocacy—into proper paying jobs, not just time-consuming hobbies, so I can achieve my goal of being self-employed. However, my natural tendency is to try to get everything done at once. Needless to say this is not an effective or efficient strategy and, rather than progress, can lead to demotivation and feelings of being overwhelmed.
One of my impulse buys while in Ireland was a little book about kaizen, a Japanese term for small, steady improvements that can yield big results. This was itself adapted from American efficiency practices employed during World War II, and the idea is related to the productivity practice of marginal gains. In general, the aim is to bypass the flight-or-fight response that you can face when tackling a big project, and instead (very) slowly build up the momentum that will take you over the finishing line. There’s a whiff of the tortoise and the hare about it and if it worked for Aesop, why not me?
So what does all this mean for the MissElaineous blog? Rather than posting on a weekly basis, I am planning to slow down a bit so I can get other things up, running, and—fingers crossed—turning a profit. However, I have a handful of posts in the works—including more country walks, the recent trip to Ireland that kicked off these musings, and even a Fitbit-related science experiment—so if you want to see everything when it’s available, make sure to sign up in the sidebar to have the blog posts delivered directly to your inbox the day they’re published.
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at some of the sights of Ireland …