Making Time For Nothing New!

It's been a little while since my last post in this series, if you missed the previous editions you can have a quick catch up here. Now today's title might seem a little odd but recently I've very specifically been making time for absolutely nothing new! Just let me explain what I mean ...

 Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

It's very easy these days to get caught up in a world driven by new ideas, constant hits of new and enticing content and the temptation to consume, consume, consume on each and every corner. Not only that but I also find that when you write a blog you can often feel the pressure to constantly be showcasing the newest thing and I know I've certainly fallen for that pressure in the past. Feeling I must write posts with lots of shiny new products and gadgets in it to stay on top of the game and demonstrate I'm aware of the newest trend - not that I usually am anyway! 

Now that can not only get incredibly expensive, it is also by no means a demonstration of any real meaning or connection to anything worthwhile. Plus it all gets a little stressful on the bank balance and the bulging cupboards or bookshelves hiding under the weight of all these shiny new but not exactly all that loved 'stuff.' 

Recently for me though it has been the overwhelming stream of content in my brain that I have decided to turn away from to try and find a better focus. Whilst making time for new things is amazing, making time to actually finish that book, or sit in the quiet for a moment and gather your thoughts in to one place, is incredibly important and I feel ultimately more rewarding.

So whilst I won't pretend I haven't still been getting excited by new ideas and don't still have a list as long as my arm of things I can't wait to try, share and do here on this blog and in my life in general, I've very much been focusing on finishing the task in hand first. Switching off when it all gets too much, being more careful about what I consume both in the physical sense and when it comes to what I'm allowing into my brain! When it comes to work I'm trying to live up to my post about the benefits of single-tasking and I'm also applying that in life as well.

 

THREE TOP TIPS TO MAKE TIME FOR NOTHING NEW!

1. Be Conscious Of What You Consume.

Here I'm really talking about two things - the physical clutter and items that we are purchasing, usually unnecessarily, and then cramming into our space when we don't really need to, as well as the online content clutter that we are overwhelming our minds with on a daily basis. I've addressed the physical before in this post about decluttering and the pain of so called 'retail therapy!'

I've seen and heard a lot in the blogosphere recently about being more intentional with who you follow and the content you are choosing to consume and I think this can be applied to all of us, blogger or otherwise. We all need to think about both how much content we let in as well as exactly what that content contains and whether or not it is helpful to us. So take some time to have a clear out of what you are exposing yourself to across social channels and other online activity. To get you started I'll turn here to some really useful tips laid out in this post: Be More Intentional With What You Consume by Jen Carrington.

2. Finish That Current Task, Project, Book etc FIRST!

You know all those half written emails, unfinished projects and other little jobs that you started but never quite finished? Those are the open ended details that can really drag us down. They keep us awake at night worrying because we know that we should have tied up some of those loose ends ages ago. Procrastinating and distractions drag us away from finishing things time and again. But at some point we have to tackle the issue. Intrigued to know why many of us find it hard to finish what we started? Take a read of this: Why You Can Never Finish Anything And How To Finally Change It via FastCompany

It can also affect our personal lives too, leading us to feel guilty about all those things we said we wanted to do, started, but never completed. When you do get some time to yourself and you want to spend it wisely, don't always turn to doing something new. Think about the things that you've already begun and find a way to focus back in on those. Go on, take that quiet time and go and finally finish that book or three that you first started reading months ago. 

3. Embrace 'La Dolce Far Niente' - The Art Of Doing Nothing!

If you've ever read the book or watched the movie 'Eat, Pray, Love' then you'll likely be aware of this Italian turn of phrase. Elizabeth Gilbert is sitting in an Italian barber shop describing her guilt at having spent her first few weeks in Italy learning little Italian and eating. Yet the Italians have this beautiful phrase for the pure sweetness of doing nothing - La Dolce Far Niente. 

Whilst I hear you all roar that wouldn't it be nice if you only had the time to do nothing, there are still a few ways that you can squeeze in a little cultivation of this idea even in the busiest of days. Turning off the TV that so mindlessly robs us of our time, sitting still for a moment and connecting to yourself and disconnecting for a moment from the noise of daily life, on and offline. Just being, not doing however brief can really bring you peace and is something you should definitely give a try every now and again.

 

So this month I'm focusing on embracing what I already have, finishing what I've already started and taking a short moment now and again to sit in the silence and just be without picking up a magazine, a new book, my laptop, phone and all of those other distractions. Do you have any unfinished business to which you could refocus your energy and time this month? What old things can you revisit and make time for, for the rest of the month of June?

Louise

 


Making Time For: Improving Photography Skills

IMPROVING BLOG PHOTOGRAPHY AND SOME USEFUL RESOURCES

Today I thought I'd bring you another instalment of my Making Time For blog series where I'm trying to share ideas and resources for things that I'm making more time for in my life and that maybe you might be inspired by too. Last month was all about reading and I'm happy to say that whilst I'm not yet on track to become bookworm of the year, I am definitely remembering to sit down and read on a more regular basis. I'll have some reviews for you soon but until then, for February, I'm sharing a little bit about blog photography. Namely how I'm setting aside time to improve and where I'm learning some nifty tips and tricks from!

Nikon Camera D5500

I must first mention a beautiful new camera that has come my way completely unexpectedly. Back in November I went along to the London Ski and Snowboard Show with Nikon. Everyone who took part and who spent the afternoon trying out the new Nikon D5500 DSLR Touch Screen Camera* was entered into a competition to win one of the cameras for themselves, following judging by photographer Dan Vojtech.

Now I never win anything, and I know people always say that but it's pretty true in my case! So as time passed I assumed that it had gone to someone else and forgot all about it. That's until a few weeks ago when an email dropped into my inbox explaining that I'd won! Two days later said beautiful camera arrived at my door and I've been loving giving it a thorough test run ever since. I must say a huge thank you to Nikon for their kind gift. It has definitely reminded me that I need to spend more time honing my skills instead of constantly relying on my current point and shoot technique!

So over the last few weeks I've been thinking very seriously about how I can improve my photography and where best to spend my time learning new skills. At the moment we're in the midst of moving house so once we're settled in a new location I think I'll investigate signing up for a local short course to get some more hands on experience. However I also love to get tips and inspiration from other bloggers out there so I thought today I'd share a few links that I've found very useful.

Plus I'd love to hear from you if you know of any great resources for taking basic photography skills to the next level? Let me know in the comments below if you have any posts or resources to share. Any additional help is very much appreciated!

 

USEFUL LINKS FOR BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY FROM FELLOW BLOGGERS

1. For all things blog photography related such as backdrop ideas, props, editing, exposure and pretty much anything else you can think of, a really great resource is the photography section of Pinkpot Design Studio. Full of creative inspiration and amazing tips Chaitra, the brains behind the blog, shares a wealth of information for budding bloggers and small business owners looking to use photography to enhance their brand and improve their own knowledge and skills.

2. Let's Talk About Flat Lay Photography is a really useful post from Rebecca over at the blog From Roses. I desperately wish I could create beautiful flat lay style images for this blog and I'm going to work at doing so over the next few months so watch this space.

3. How To Take The Best Photos In Winter by Jodie Loue has some very handy tips for dealing with low light during the darker wintery season. So if like me you're always chasing the light and are constantly perplexed at how best to handle it then this post will come in very handy.

4. A Beautiful Mess and Media Marmalade are two blogs that I love for very different reasons (one is all about creativity and one is primarily a fashion blog) however they both have great sections on photography with some really easy to pick up tips and tricks. Check them out if you're after advice and inspiration.

 

Where do you turn to when trying to learn new photography skills? Or have you written a post on this subject that you think might be useful?

Plus what have you personally been making more time for during the month of February? Anything new and exciting on your to do list? 

Share in the comments below and I look forward to reading your advice and ideas too!

Louise

 

*I was kindly sent this camera as a prize in a competition run by Nikon. I was not asked to write this as part of winning and have chosen to share this completely independently.


Making Time To Read: 4 Books For The New Year

Last year I wrote a short post about making more time for music because it was something that as a music lover I realised I wasn't paying any attention to anymore in my life, all thanks to many other things going on and so many different distractions. This year I thought it would be nice to re-visit such a concept. The idea of thinking of one thing that I really should do more of and spending more time focusing on filtering said activity back into my life. Hence a new series on this blog has been born and I'm hoping it will inspire you to think about doing the same, whatever your particular passions may be.

It's really so important to make time for yourself and the things that truly make you tick. No matter how busy we are I firmly believe it is possible to pull back a little bit of time and space to really be ourselves. Not only that but it's extremely necessary in order to allow ourselves time to think, process and gain perspective.

You may only be able to spare a few minutes every now and then, but those minutes still count. Unless we actively commit to finding that time, it's very easy to get lost in a routine solely focused around work, other people and the general daily requirements of getting through life. Don't forget that YOU exist somewhere in all of that as well.

Why not have a think about your own passions. Can you find a little more time for them in your current weekly routine?

Now I'm not one for writing down a long list of resolutions at the start of each new year because inevitably I usually fail to stick to them. However bit by bit I prefer to make little changes and promises to myself that I can more realistically try to achieve. Focusing on one thing at a time to avoid a frazzled brain, added stress and a feeling of failure. The point of making time for yourself isn't to add extra pressure, it's to take some of that daily strain away.

Regular readers will probably note that I've mentioned previously my lack of attention to reading real books over recent years! So I thought that for me this would be the ideal starting point for this new blog series. I'm consciously making an effort this month to devote more time to a pile of books that I've been meaning to tackle for a long time. All of which are kind of falling slightly into the self-help category which wasn't actually an intentional decision! I guess they kind of go hand in hand with that new year, new you kind of feeling and are all things I'm keen to learn more about. I'm sharing them here incase they spark any area of interest for you too. Once I've read them I'll offer a little of my thoughts - and that should hold me to the promise of swiftly getting reading properly! 

 

4 BOOKS CURRENTLY TOPPING THE WHAT NOW READING LIST:

1. EVERYTHING YOU NEED YOU HAVE, HOW TO BE AT HOME IN YOURSELF by Gerad Kite: This is a book about connecting back to your inner sense of self. The idea that the modern lifestyle, with all its many choices, the improvements to our material wealth and the muddled minds that our hectic lifestyles are creating is ultimately making us ill. Gerad Kite aims in this book to remind us that everything we need to be happy and stay well already lies within us. I'm looking forward to learning more and hope it will offer useful tips for living a simpler and less worried and frantic life. Watch this space!

2. THE POWER OF FORGETTING by Mike Byster: Along a similar thread this book focuses on techniques to help focus the brain in an ever changing and overwhelming world full of far too much choice and information. Mike Byster is a memory-training coach and here he shares "methods for becoming a more efficient and productive thinker." Promising to help develop skills to become more successful, productive and find a better balance. It certainly sounds well worth a read. I'm looking forward to learning more, my brain could certainly do with a new year decluttering!

3. A MINDFULNESS GUIDE FOR THE FRAZZLED by Ruby Wax: This new book from Ruby Wax looks at the growing phenomena of mindfulness and how it can help us to live a healthier life. I'm looking forward to reading this because I'm confident that Ruby's view on what mindfulness means and how we can imprint it into our daily lives is going to be smart and accessible in a way that perhaps some of the other offerings out there sometimes aren't. With a Masters Degree in mindfulness from Oxford University Ruby certainly has a good handle on what this subject is all about and how it can be useful. I'm sure this will be an insightful and helpful read. 

4. BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert: Now I'm embarrassed that I shared a picture of this book on Instagram back in October when it was delivered and yet I still haven't even opened the cover. I can't wait to read this and it might actually be where I start first. So I really have to get my current book, that's been dragging on a bit, finished and crack on with this one right away. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the very well known Eat, Pray, Love has penned this book with the aim of helping others live a more creative life. Not in the sense of giving up what you do and devoting yourself to the arts, more to help people open their minds to a more curious and creative way of living. 

 

Have you read any of these titles or do you have any similar must read recommendations? What one thing will you be making time for this January? Let me know in the comments below and here's to the weekend and to making time to do what makes you feel happy.

Louise

 

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Making Time For Music

We all have many things in life that we love doing but that we rarely get the time to focus, sit down and devote time to. This Sunday I've decided to prompt you to take back a little time in your lives, find something that you never get time to enjoy and spend a little time rediscovering this joy whatever it may be.

Music

For me one of my great passions is music. It makes me feel alive and if I really connect with a song or particular piece of music it can unleash all sorts of emotions - happiness and elation, of course sometimes sadness and reflection as well as provide absolute excitement and complete motivation.

I'm not a music expert by any means, I like what I like and that can range from the incredibly mainstream to the downright obscure. To me it really doesn't matter about being cool or following trends - all that matters is the way it makes you feel. It occurred to me recently that I very rarely really get the chance to really listen to an artist that I like, or enjoy music for longer than just a snippet of background noise as I go about my daily life.

So my one thing this month that I will be making more time for is music. I'm going to make a conscious effort to listen and enjoy it on a far more regular basis and return to the music loving, toe tapping person that I once used to be!

I encourage you to have a think today about something you have neglected over the past year or so and perhaps spend a little time this afternoon getting back some of the enthusiasm that you used to have for your particular choice.

What is the one thing this month that you could do with making more time for?

In the meantime my personal picks for this afternoons listening inspiration can be heard below. Enjoy the rest of this weekend and do let me know how you get on re-connecting with whatever it is that you decide to make more time for this month.

 

In the picture - Bowers & Wilkins P3 Foldable Headphones and Moo Mini Business Cards.