Easter has always been my favourite time of year. I am not particularly religious, and although I love chocolate, it’s not the prospect of gorging myself on eggs all day!
For me, Easter heralds the start of spring, new life and new beginning. The 4 day weekend is the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends, spend some time preparing the garden for spring or summer and reflecting on where I am, working out if I am in the right place in my life, and if not, what I need to do.
New Year’s Resolutions aren’t for me
Traditionally, New Year is the time for making resolutions and changes to your life, but I find this way too difficult. Deciding to get fit, eat more healthily or spend time with family and friends sounds great with a glass of bubbly on New Year’s Eve, but when the cold, dark days of January hit, it’s hard to maintain those good intentions. How much easier is it to curl up under a blanket in front of the fire with a bar of chocolate, bottle of wine and binge on the latest box set on TV instead of hitting the gym or settling for a salad?
Spring and Autumn are my rebalancing times. Time to reflect on what is going well and what needs some attention. The long Easter break gives me an opportunity to work out where my efforts should be spent, and this year is no exception. Good Friday saw me sitting with a cup of tea, hot cross bun, a blank sheet of paper and some coloured pens.
I am a visual person – I need to see my thoughts on paper – a mind map of where I am and where I want to go. This will serve as my plan for the next few months, to be adapted, changed and updated until the Autumn when the process will start over again.
Easter is a time to be sociable
Long walks over the weekend were the perfect opportunity to think about previous Easters and what had made them so special. Happy memories make a base for a good future, so I try to pick out the key things that made those times so special.
Most of them involve doing things with people I value. Family days out as a child; helping my parents run art exhibitions for a few years; hiking holidays with friends; Easter egg hunts with my children and many shared meals.
All my favourite memories involve spending time with friends and family, but in the busy hustle and bustle of life, these are the things that often get side-lined to accommodate the latest deadline or because we are just too tired.
Step into the unknown
I took a gamble 18 months ago, to leave steady employment and start my own business. It is still very seat of the pants stuff, scary not knowing when your next pay check is going to arrive and whether you can meet the bills each month. After over 30 years of having a defined working day, I still feel I should be at my desk by 8am, even if I have no work to do! These habits are hard to break.
When the work comes in, I may have to work late into the night or all weekend to meet a deadline, but I still feel guilty taking a weekday morning or afternoon off to have coffee with friends. Old habits die hard.
However shaky this last year has been, I have had an amazing time. I have met inspiring people, been able to attend thought provoking workshops, seminars and conferences. I have learned new skills and honed existing ones. I have a greater understanding of my strengths and weaknesses.
Looking to the future
I now have a plan for the next 6 months which will help me stay in balance, enable me to spend quality time with family and friends, have some fun and recreation and also meet the demands of work so that I can create sufficient income.
Having a plan helps clear my mind of non-essential stuff and concentrate on my priorities. I can’t do everything, but I can focus my efforts on those things that I want to do and will bring about benefit either financially or emotionally.
For me, my business is part of who I am, so needs to be part of my overall life planning review. I wonder how many business owners take time to reflect on whether what they are doing now is meeting their life objectives? Perhaps a life review should form part of the annual business planning.