– Henry David Thoreau
Earlier this week I published an article on “Five Reasons Why Having A Blog Makes You More Productive.” However I also sometimes fear that blogging, or any writing for that matter, can also become counterproductive if it begins to take away time from other activities we could be taking part in.
The above quote by American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau sums up my feelings perfectly. If we find that we are writing about the things we do more than we are actually doing them, then things can become problematic, unbalanced, and incongruent with our self-perception. Therefore it is important that sometimes we put down our pens, shut down our computers, and go searching for what life really has to offer. This has motivated me to put together a short list of some of the things we can do to correct this imbalance.
1. Pick Up A New Hobby
I don’t care how old you are, unless you are on your deathbed there is no reason to not always be seeking new activities to engage yourself in. Our time on this world is limited, but the kinds of things we could be doing within that time limit are endless. Try to think of a friend who is well-versed in a subject or hobby that you may be interested in. Maybe it is a sport like volleyball or golf, or maybe it is an activity like painting or photography. Have your friend guide you through the first few stages of the learning curve until you become familiar with the fundamentals. Once you have a good enough grapple with that you can continue pursuing the activity on your own.
2. Help Someone In Need
Doing things for others is one of the most underrated productive things you can do. Not only are you making a difference in someone’s life but you are going to feel infinitely better because of it! Try to find a local volunteering organization, maybe a church, soup kitchen, or rehab center, and then see what you can do to help out the community. Try to volunteer on a regular basis. Even if it is only one hour a week it is still more than most, and you will still be playing your fair part in improving other people’s lives.
3. Spice Up Your Living Space
There is always a good excuse to change up your living environment, even if it is just for the sake of change itself. This doesn’t mean you have to go to IKEA and spend money on colorful furniture, there are plenty of creative things you can do with things you can find lying around the house. One of my favorite projects is to make collages out of old photos or magazines. You can turn this into a frame to put on the wall or even a nice tabletop. Think of your living space as a work of art. Incorporate both creativity and personal meaning, but keep it tasteful for guests. If you get too extravagant you may come off as a bit of a loony…but sometimes having fun is more important anyway.
4. Challenge Yourself
Deliberately find something that brings you out of your comfort zone. The point of a challenge is to push you to the next level. What is something you wouldn’t dare do? Maybe it is skydiving or that new roller coaster at Six Flags. Maybe it is even approaching that new girl from work. Whatever it is, “Go Nike And Just Do It!” You will feel better about yourself for pursuing the challenge, and you will be more inclined to face your fears in the future. Make sure you find something that really gets on your nerves otherwise you aren’t challenging yourself enough.
5. Cook For A Friend Or Loved One
This is another nice thing you could do for someone else that will also benefit you. If you already love cooking then maybe you have a favorite dish that you would like to share with someone. If not then you can check out AllRecipes.com (my personal favorite) and find something that you won’t screw up. It is also OK if you need an extra pair of hands to help you around the kitchen. Remember this list is about standing up to live, not fending for yourself, so the ability to ask others for assistance is still an necessary part of any healthy living strategy.
6. Join An Activist Group
I am sure everyone can think of a particular cause that they would like support. Nowadays there is an activist group for just about anything: animal rights, cancer awareness, fighting poverty, environmental issues, and protesting corrupt government institutions. Take a moment and think of something that you would like to change about the world. Then try searching for your cause on Google and see if you can find an organization that shares your beliefs. It typically isn’t hard to find an outlet for any kind of social, political, economic, or environmental change, and most of these organizations are non-profit, thus they are willing to have just about anyone hop on board who wishes to show support.
7. Plan A Getaway
I use the term “getaway” here because vacations can be expensive. Ideally you may want to visit Cancun and drink margaritas all weekend, but some of us aren’t always fortunate enough to have that option. However, just because we don’t have money doesn’t mean we can’t escape from our same ol’ daily routine. Maybe there is a local beach or national park you could visit for the day. Find the time to spend a long afternoon just outside and enjoying nature. It is a great way to get in touch and remind yourself what you are really standing up and living for. Also, how could I quote Thoreau and not recommend spending more time with Mother Earth.
Don’t just sit down and wait to die! Get up right now and find something that makes a difference in you and in others. So you wanted to spend the weekend locked in your room writing another blog post? F— that! Free yourself first. Then you can write about all the rich experiences you had after the fact. Have I gotten you inspired yet?