I think we can all agree, it’s been quite the year. It’s been unprecedented… we’ve all learnt to pivot…. we’ve done more zooms than we ever thought possible. If nothing else, we’ve at least added some interesting words to our daily vernacular. And just when we’re at the tail end, parts of Sydney have faced yet another cluster and lockdown. Not what any of us needed right now.
For me, 2020 has been a big year and I’ve got to say it hasn’t necessarily been all bad. Lockdown really gave me the space to think about what I wanted and who I wanted to work with. My business is better than ever and I’m really excited about what’s coming up in 2021.
My year in numbers
I had a look at the work I’ve done this year and was kind of overwhelmed. I feel a bit better about the lacklustre amount of articles I’ve written on my own blog after counting this up!
What I’ve learnt in 2020
I think we’ve all had a few big learning curves this year. Whether how to manage on our own, how to connect with people when you’re not seeing them in person or even ways to be efficient while working from home.
Here are my top lessons of 2020.
1. Try to work with people align with your values
Midway through the year, I started thinking about who my ideal clients are and who I want to work with. I realised that the work that I really love, the work that sets me on fire, is the work for caring businesses. Traditionally, that’s topics like healthcare, aged care, baby care, education. However, ultimately I love working with organisations that care for others, no matter the industry. I’ve realised that when I work with businesses and people with similar values to mine, the work just flows. This is going to be something I take into 2021.
2. You can do much more with sleep
A year ago, I was at sleep school with my youngest child. I remember desperately finishing some client work while she started to nap longer than 30 minutes for the first time in her life. Bliss! If I didn’t know it before, then I definitely know it now – I am a much better human with sleep. No matter how busy I am, I always prioritise sleep. I rarely work late at night and prefer to get up early and work first thing in the morning. Because without sleep, everything suffers.
3. Don’t be complacent
I think the latest Sydney cluster has taught us not to be complacent. I think this applies to everything in life. The moments you take advantage of the things you have, that’s when it all falls apart. I’ve learnt to always be thankful for what I have in this exact moment because we don’t know when things might change.
4. Your community is everything
For many weeks over lockdown, the only friends we saw were the neighbours. Every day, we’d talk across the driveway, comparing notes about life at home. We’d go to the local oval and wave to parents from school (while making sure our kids didn’t get too close). I’d go for my daily walks and see groups of neighbours sitting on their chairs, metres apart, having their Friday evening sundowners. I’ve loved being part of such a friendly community.
I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of online communities, including the Clever Copywriting School community. Although I’ve never meet these people in person (I was due to attend a Christmas dinner this year but a hospital visit thwarted it), they have provided invaluable copywriting and life support this year.
Finally, I joined Digital Collective. The little community we’ve built has been delightful – we have worked together with clients from all around the world and it has been wonderful working on such diverse projects.
5. It’s vital to get out and about
I was always an advocate of exercise, but it’s taken on a new importance this year. If I don’t get out and enjoy a walk, run or bike ride most days, I feel my mental health slide. I start to catastrophise and I really don’t feel myself. My main exercise has been walking, either through the local bush or on the streets with the pram, but I’ve also enjoyed online classes at my local pilates studio. Next year I’m thinking of taking it up a notch with a personal trainer. Who even am I?!
6. Find your limits and stick to them
Earlier in the year, I realised that I needed to limit my exposure to the news. This was difficult for a former news journalist as I was used to always knowing what was going on. But there was too much sensationalism, too many headlines and too much unknown. I decided to only consume 2 news sources – the ABC at 7pm and The Conversation. It was the only way I could focus, do work and enjoy my day. The world out there was scary but my world at home was safe. My family were healthy, we were doing our best to minimise exposure and that was the best I could do.
7. Cut down on social media
I have dipped in and out of social media, depending on how I’m feeling and how busy I am. This year, I decided not to feel a pressure to post a certain number of posts a week or month on social media. If I felt like it, I did, but having a schedule was putting a pressure on me I didn’t need. Since taking away this pressure, I’ve found that I’m enjoying my downtime much more rather than thinking ‘can I turn this into a post’.
8. Always back up. Everything
Last week, my phone fell in the toilet. Don’t worry, I wasn’t using the toilet or the phone at the time. Within 12 hours, it was pretty obvious that I’d need a new phone, and fast. I had no way of contacting a vast array of people and I almost missed taking my friend to an urgent medical appointment because she couldn’t get hold of me to tell me the new time. My phone was 6 years old so buying a new one was probably on the cards soon so after a bit of research, I found the one I wanted in stock at a local store.
But *gasp*, although I’d always been so careful about backing up my computer, I hadn’t made a backup of my phone in ages. And the last one I made had disappeared during some sort of Apple update. I’d stored my phone photos on the cloud but there is a lot of other data stored on your phone like phone numbers and for me, lots of notes with reminders. In fact, I realised just how reliant I am on my phone.
Fortunately, the old ‘put the phone in rice’ trick did work on my old phone and I managed to get a backup of the old data and transport it across to my new phone. Moral of the story: always have a backup… or two.
Well, that’s me out. It’s days until Christmas and I’m going to crack open that bubbly and celebrate surviving the year that was. Actually, my kids want to go for a bike ride so the bubbly might have to wait.
Happy New Year all, let’s chat in 2021.