📝 Notes for the Curious: Edition #72


Welcome to 2019! This is such an interesting start to a year for me. I have no plans, no goals, no word of the year. I am on what I am calling a semi-sabbatical. I am almost not working, a couple of ongoing clients, my Change Maker Programme participants and of course, you, my Notes readers. That’s it. For the rest of the time I am doing some self-work. It sounds incredibly indulgent and I have struggled with telling people about this because it feels so privileged, a bit spoilt-princess-y. I know that for many people, including many Notes readers the idea of taking time out from their normal working life is simply not possible. There is just no way that they can make their numbers add up to this. I had to sit with it for a while and realise that I couldn’t ignore it, I am taking this time off and it is a privilege to be able to do so. It wasn’t done on a whim. This is years of designing a life that allows for this kind of decision, there is sacrifice involved which will largely go unseen by the outside world. There have been hard decisions and a lot of tears to get to this point. Because while it is a privilege, it is also a necessity. After battling health issues for years I finally received a tentative diagnosis and started on a course of treatment. So far so good and I am cautiously optimistic, but it’s taking time to readjust to this new normal and I simply could not continue at the pace I was operating at previously.

One of the hardest things isn’t the physical adjustments, although they are not easy, it is clearing space and learning how not to be doing something all the time. Everytime I open up free time, my brain starts whizzing around with ideas of ways to fill it “OOoo I can declutter the house/batch cook meals for days/decorate the bedroom/insert other crazy plan” It is really going to be a learning process to not fill the time I am creating with random projects and to just learn to be still. I am planning to spend more time with people as a way of stopping myself disappearing into the rabbit hole of projects and just doing this one thing but it will definitely be my biggest challenge this year I think…

I don’t know how it will go, but I’m interested to find out, and of course I will report back here to let you know.

Now, let’s get on with the Notes…

1) Creating a simpler life

Spoiler alert: it involves SYSTEMS! Hands up who’s surprised? I love systems and they have definitely made my life so much simpler. This year I want to deepen that and create more personal systems in my life, such as (regular) decluttering, organising an accordian file with birthday cards for each month so that I never miss another important birthday and redoing our family budget. Not all at once, because, as I said above, I’m meant to not fill up my time with endless projects - but bit by bit these will be worked on. What systems would make your life simpler this year?

2) How to Read more in 2019

Do all of this. In a nutshell. Something I am looking forward during my semi-sabbatical at the beginning of the year is working through my growing book pile. I came back from Berlin with another 5 books, some gifts, some purchases but still, more books. One of the recommendations to read more from the article is to read more poetry, I never thought of myself as a poetry reader. It’s not a default genre for me. Then I realised that these days I read most of my poetry on Instagram. My current favourites are Gemma Troy, Hollie McNish and Nayyirah Waheed.

3) Find your inner peace

I’m stepping up my quest for inner peace in 2019. The end of last year felt very fragile for me and in order to shift that feeling, I need to make some changes. These 10 adjustments feel like a good starting place, but while they look simple, they’re not easy. It’s time to dig in and do the work.

4) Do you know what makes you happy?

If I asked you “What makes you happy?” could you tell me? I can see you rolling your eyes, of cooooourse you can, what a stupid question. But can you? Really? Because if you know what really makes you happy, why aren’t you doing more of it, all the time? Here are 5 steps to finding out what makes you happy so you can do even more of it this year.

5) The lazy Person’s Guide to Self Improvement

CLICK! Did anybody else read that title and think “YES! That’s the article I need this year”? I know I did. Lazy self-improvement is clearly my jam. Give it to me.

Until the next Notes,


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Who am I and who do I help? I’m Emmy McCarthy and I make small businesses better and help people create leadership in their communities.

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