It’s that time of the year! If you think 2019 was A LOT to take in, raise your hand.
We’re quite sure there are a gazillion things worth forgetting and remembering this year. Regardless of which memories you’d like to treasure the most, there are sure-fire lessons we’ll always carry for a lifetime. For starters, here are 19 things I learned while I was out of school!
1. You can’t run at 100% all the time
As much as the high of the hustle can be addicting (especially if you’re like me and love what you do), it simply isn’t realistic to expect yourself to be at maximum energy all the time. Like how our phones need charging after a whole day, we all need time to recharge in order to be 100% a.k.a. Recharged to our best selves.
2. Sleep is NOT for the weak
Repeat after me: rest is important. Sure, viral Pinterest and Tumblr quotes motivate us into pushing our limits to the core but it doesn’t mean embracing the no-sleep life because ZZZs are deemed “for the weak.” Rest well and then do the work! I’m quite sure you’ll be more productive that way than how you do when you’re at the brink of exhaustion.
3. Workouts are always more fun with friends
“Working out is so much fun,” said no one ever. Okay, well, at least for me. That’s why I have my workout buddies to join me in the “fun”! Exercising together is the best way to drag you out of a fitness slump or simply ease the overall mood. My friends and I pump each other up by cheering each other on or simply giving high fives after really tricky circuits.
P.S. Grabbing some post-workout food and sharing ‘kwento’ is part of the routine, of course!
4. Having a Google Calendar (may) save your sanity
Between running a nonprofit organization of 70 people, speaking at events, trying to workout regularly, and having a semblance of a social life, a lot of people ask me about how I manage my time efficiently. My answer? My Google Calendar.
The app helps me schedule meetings, take notes, and organize my day to day. While I miss jotting things down on a physical planner, I enjoy having my schedule synced to multiple devices to remind me of my plans for the day (read: it also helps me save paper!).
5. Multitasking on the go
One of the productivity hacks that really worked for me this year is keeping myself occupied in transit. That means I could be answering emails and social media messages while going from event to another. It saves me so much stress from getting buried over piled-up messages!
6. Instagram stories can help you appreciate each day
To say that a lot has happened in 2019 is an understatement. From the conferences I attended, the people I met, down to the food I ate, it’s nothing short of productive. And I’d want to remember all of that moving forward, especially after a really long hectic day. It keeps me grateful. *opens IG stories*
7. Do more with social media
Social media holds more power than we could ever realize. Yup, more than cute selfies and daily updates on our friends. Why not use it more to promote social good? There are societal issues that don’t get picked up on the daily news. Let’s use social media to start and shift conversations to those that matter. The best part is, we can do it together!
8. Unfollow people that do more harm than good
In line with social media, I’ve learned to simply unfollow people that don’t add value to my social media experience. This means that I don’t follow models without advocacies or people who post about seemingly unattainable standards of beauty. Doing this made me a lot more body-positive and confident. People you follow will affect that way you think in one way or another. So be careful who you follow.
9. Follow people that inspire you to be better
Instead of following ‘influencers’, follow people that inspire you. Because I’m passionate about activism, women in tech, and writing, I look for role models who can help me pursue my advocacies better. What are you passionate about? Start following those voices online!
10. Sign emails with gratitude rather than apologies
To implement a growth mindset, try signing off messages with ‘thank you for your time/patience’ instead of apologizing straight away. Showing a positive mindset comes off as much more professional than a negative one.
11. Stop apologizing too much
It’s quite a universal truth that women apologize too much. When I realized that, I began to become more conscious about how I dole out my apologies and only say it when I mean it (and not when I feel like I’m expected to). When you know that you are NOT in the wrong, stand your ground even when it makes an uncomfortable conversation.
12. Never be ashamed about being excited about something
As a teen, I feel like a lot of us try to ‘play it cool’ about a lot of the things we love. Whether it’s art or sports, don’t be afraid to share your excitement with the world! Everyone knows we need more positivity in this world. Go get it!
13. Give compliments freely
Saying that someone’s outfit looks great or that you’re happy they are happy can honestly make someone’s day. Adding positivity to this negative world we live in can make a huge difference to the people around you.
14. Check your calendar before the start and end of each day
Treat this as an exercise of appreciating everything you accomplished in 24 hours. Or rather a challenge to make the next day even better. Being mindful of how you spend your time is so important because it’s the first step to (as cheesy as it sounds) building the life you wish to live. Make every moment count!
15. Begin your day with a to-do list
Break up your tasks into smaller sub-tasks to avoid getting overwhelmed for the day. It happens! And you can totally avoid it. Simply write them down one at a time! A fresh notebook page and a cup of coffee are my two favorite ways to start the day!
16. Don’t be afraid to say no
We all know how hard it is to say no. Especially to people or things you love. As much as you’d want to say yes to a gazillion things, there are things you simply have to say a big NO. For you and your sanity.
As someone who loves the work I do, my schedule is full and exhausting but, at the same time, fulfilling. Yet I remind myself I can’t do everything all the time. I have to say no to some opportunities, and it’s okay. I can’t be everywhere all at once, just like I can’t help or be there for everyone, too.
17. Habit trackers can be surprisingly useful
Building daily habits is one my favorite challenges this gap year. Using my habit tracker app, I’ve been able to tick off tasks in my calendar every day. By keeping track of these little tasks, I get motivated to fill up as many bubbles on my habit tracker. Hopefully, I won’t be needing the app someday when these habits come as second nature to me already!
18. You know this already but putting it out here again: stop worrying
Just like any young adult, I’ve dealt with a lot of self-doubt. In my experience, the best way to overcome this is to simply. Stop. Worrying.
It saves you time and focus on the more important things. Instead of getting anxious about everything going wrong, I remind myself of all the things I can still do better.
19. The most fulfilling work is done with ‘your people’
From exercising regularly to traveling to places like Bangkok and Portugal, I have to say one of the best perks of my gap year is being able to see and work with “my people.” It’s those people who believe in the same advocacies as I do, and commit their time and energy to making things happen. Being surrounded by these people make work feel less like work and whole lot like privilege. Now, I find myself with a huge grin on my face.
2019 was a lot to take in, but so are the lessons it taught us from one month to the next. What are your key takeways from the year? Share it with us on our social media channels! If you want to read more articles like this, check out our Generation Zen blog section at Edukasyon.ph now!