One of the biggest blockers to leading a meaningful, healthy and connected life is not having time or energy to do the things that matter most to us.
I often hear people at the beginning of their journey of transitioning from their full time careers lament that they are too busy to fit in new meaningful activities and projects that excite them, even if they are really motivated to change their lifestyle.
“I couldn’t possibly fit in anything else into my life right now – let alone the brainspace to do any planning for life after corporate life. All I know is I just need a bit of me-time”, an executive shared with the group at one of our Full Time Lives workshops. Changing long-term habits and consciously redesigning one’s ‘full time life’ is hard, especially for mid-life professionals who have had the same productive but busy work cadence for many decades.
The key is not to try to fit in anything new into an already busy lifestyle. If you are clear about the new things you’d like to do then you have to do then the next step is to prune the activities and commitments that no longer serve you. It’s natural that we’re going to keep growing so it’s perfectly normal that certain interests or projects that previously gave us a sense of joy or satisfaction may no longer cut it.
Once you prune out time, space and emotional energy from a few things (or people!), you are one step closer to flourishing in our new chapter. You can practically take action to investigate or create new opportunities for your next chapter after full-time paid work.
Set a date for your new beginning
There is something to be said about getting ready for new beginnings when it’s linked to some kind of deadline or event. Like an annual spring clean, which is aligned with a season, or a new year’s resolutions at the beginning of a promising new year, or another life changing event like starting a new job, studies, relationship or moving to a new home, find the right time to prune the dead leaves and branches to make way for growth.
Declutter your physical space
I recently applied Marie Kondo’s “Konmari” decluttering method to my apartment. It’d been a year since it was renovated with plenty of storage to hide day-to-day clutter, yet over the course of the year, we’d accumulated unnecessary clutter (ie more clothes & shoes!) and some new things didn’t have a dedicated place.
What I love about Konmari-method is that it’s a ritual to respectfully let go of material items that no longer serve you. She suggests a certain order to declutter each category of things in your home, going from easiest such as clothes. She posits that we have to train ourselves on decluttering before we get to the hard stuff like sorting through old paperwork and sentimental items.
Clearing my main physical work and living spaces, certainly helped me with clearing some space in my diary so that I can focus on what’s most important to me. I had a good look at what sucks up my time and energy and am releasing myself from certain commitments. I’m already feeling much lighter and liberated!
Protecting your time to be able to do new things
Some old habits and commitments no longer have a place for where you may want to spend your time and energy. Whilst I personally find it painful to say ‘no’ to shiny new projects or invites, I’ve realised that jumping straight into doing things that no longer align with my areas of focus and goals means that it’s going to set me back from achieving the life changes that I’ve defined for myself.
Ensuring that there’s enough space in your life by saying ‘no’ to things that don’t fit with how you’d like to shape your new chapter is the key to pursuing new desirable activities, interests and getting to know new people as you leave or pause full-time paid work to rest and rejuvenate
What strategies do you have to get ready for your new chapter? Do you have a clear line in the sand when each chapter will start and finish? Does pruning help you clear your mind as well?
Email us if you have any comments or questions on how blossom and bloom!
Written by Natalie Yan-Chatonsky, Full Time Lives