I‘ve skipped one week of my challenge. I wasn’t really in the mood for it and had quite a few things to do that week. Therefore, I decided to do my third week last week. Here’s a little recap of what I’ve done each day.
Day 15 – Identify your main priorities in life
Staying in touch with family and friend - most of my close family and closest friends are all living abroad. For me it is extremely important to stay in touch with every single one of them. Sending emails, Skyping once in a while, sending postcards when on holidays and trying to visit everyone once in a while too are the ways I keep in touch with them. For a very long time I found it difficult to stay in touch with friends. With some you try but when never receiving responses from them you know that there’s a point where you need to let go. With others it’s so much easier. When they come back we always try to meet up, we have regular chats on WhatsApp and send regular emails to each other, and of course I have them on Facebook a great way to see what they are all up to. For me this is one of my top priorities because without family or friends you’re pretty much alone out there, and when you’ve known them for years it’s simply too difficult to not keep in touch with them!
Being happy – I’ve said this in my previous 30-day challenge, but for me one of the top priorities in life is to be happy. To be with the people you love and those that make you happy when you are around them. I am a very happy person, don’t get me wrong and I’ll definitely keep on that path in life. However, there are some days where I am a little less happy and in not a great mood, but after some time I notice that these things are simply irrelevant and they should not make me feel that way. I always try to see the bright side of things and try to become more positive about certain aspects in life.
Starting a family – as I grow older, I become more aware of what the future can bring me. I’d say that I currently have a stable life – an amazing boyfriend, a new job, a very happy situation. However, one of my main priorities in life is to start a family of our own and to have own a house too. Even though this is currently not in our near future plans, it is a topic we talk about and we are both pretty much on the same page.
Day 17 – Turn off notifications
This one was a little tough. I completely forgot to turn off my mobile notifications, but I did make the effort to check my phone less often than I usually would. I checked my phone four times throughout the day, and whenever I was on my computer, I did not go on any social media pages and emails. What I’ve noticed from that, and had already noticed when coming back from my no-wifi week of skiing, that in a day I receive a lot of notifications especially from Facebook and emails. I find it quite unbelievable how much we depend on internet and how much we’re addicted to checking social media.
Day 18 – No TV all day
I guess I choose this day quite well, as I had a trip planned to Brussels the whole day and when I came home I was too tired to even switch the TV on. It was a study trip organised by an institute, JASON Institute. We left the Hague very early in order to arrive at our first visit on time. At first, we were supposed to go to NATO but due to the recent attacks in Paris, NATO has restricted visitors from coming. Therefore, a speaker of NATO met us at the permanent representation of the Netherlands in Brussels. We then had some lunch before heading to the EEAS and later to the EDA. It was a very interesting day, with great thoughts of foreign security and defence in the EU. I went there for pure interest and also just to freshen up my mind on what is being done in terms of defence and security in the EU. Most of the other students that joined me were still doing their Bachelor or Master degree, so for them it had some educational value.
Day 19 – Don’t buy anything for 24 hours
When you don’t work, you generally have an impulse of doing a little window shopping. I try to go outside everyday for a little walk in the city. I usually go into shops to see what they have. When I know that I do not have to buy anything in particular I usually don’t buy anything. However, there are times when popping into a shop you suddenly see something and think that it could be useful to have. Luckily for me, I did not have that today. The only thing I ‘bought’ (through a gift voucher I was given) is a candle from Rituals. So I technically did not spend my own money, but used the voucher for something I’ve been looking for the past two weeks. The candle I wanted has been out of stock ever since.
Day 20 – Practice single-tasking
I really enjoyed doing one thing at a time. I have some days where I like to do multiple things at once, and tend to forget to finish some of the things I started. On Saturday morning, I finished the bread that I had started preparing the night before. I wanted to make sure to have some fresh homemade bread in the afternoon. Through out the day I made sure that when I started doing something I would finish doing that before doing something else. For instance, I finished doing some spring cleaning, sorted out some old shoes left at the back of a closet, vacuumed the house, sorted out some papers and so forth. I think that when I am at home I should really try to practice single-tasking more often. What I usually do, for example, is start an episode of a series. Then half way through, I would press pause or sometimes would not, and I’d start reading one of the blogs I follow on a daily basis and at the same get a cup of tea or glass of water, and check Instagram too. I then find myself going back a couple of minutes in my series because I simply could not follow and would have to restart reading an article that I could not finish reading due to all of the distractions. I really need to make this more of a priority in my personal life. Funny enough, I am not like that at work. I usually complete, or almost complete, a task before taking on another!
Day 21 – Stay offline for one day
On Sunday, I tried spending most of my day outside. In the morning, I did a little bit of cleaning in the house before heading to Rotterdam’s MarketHall in order to buy some French produce. I bought some French cheese, saucisson and bavette (meat – recipe coming this week). I’ve been to this market twice before and it is simply beautiful. You can find different kinds of products from different countries. I will definitely write a post about it in the upcoming weeks. After a little walk in the city, I headed back home before going back outside to enjoy a glass of wine with my boyfriend. Once we came back we cooked a delicious meal with the meat bought at the MarketHall. Even though I did post a few photos on social media, I made sure just to post them and not check my news feed. The evening was a little bit more difficult to remain offline and did check emails and social media before going to bed. Overall, if you are determined to stay offline for the day that is possible. However, I have noticed that I needed to be kept busy throughout the whole day in order to not be tempted to check out my phone and tablet.