How to actually stick to something (and why it's okay if you don't)

Is it shiny object syndrome or your true calling? Here's why it doesn't really matter

If you are lucky enough to be working from home throughout the sh*tshow that is 2020, then you’ve probably had plenty of time to sit and think about your work, your purpose and your life in general — I know I have.

We’ve got more time on our hands than ever, and now we’re staring down the barrel of a Winter season under at Tiered semi-lockdown system. As a result, most of us are turning to new hobbies and creative pursuits to pass time and add a little purpose to our days.

Sitting still is hard

I already work from home, and never before have I had so much time to sit and think about I truly want from life and what makes me happy. Doing nothing is difficult, so it’s easy to look outside for fulfillment.

That’s probably why everyone started baking sourdough in the Spring (see Craig’s prize loaf below), or why Warhammer has posted record profits for this year as so many people return to their favourite childhood activity to wile away the time.

Been learning how to bake. I grew up unable to cook at all and have never had confidence in it but bread is an absolute delight.
Started with yeasted olive breads and now on to sourdough. Absolutely loving it. So satisfying. Plus it means I get to eat loads of bread, which is never a bad thing. #baking #sourdough #breadmaking
April 23, 2020

Even in a professional capacity, I've been considering new creative outputs.

I started this newsletter back in March with six subscribers and I have sent it every week without fail. Now over 200 people receive my weekly ramblings on a Wednesday morning!

Even when writing is like getting blood from a stone, I still endeavour to send something. If I skip a week, nothing bad will happen yet I can’t bring myself to take a break. That probably says more about me than the newsletter, to be honest.

So, what does all of the above mean for us as a society and, more importantly, what does it mean for those of us who are just trying to eat, sleep, live and work all in the same building?

Shiny things are okay

I’ve been wanting to write about Shiny Object Syndrome for a while, but I’ve hesitated as I wasn’t sure what angle to take. I always want to steer clear of a holier-than-thou approach to content, so I was concerned that I’d harp on about why it’s vital to stick to stuff and not flit about from one shiny to another, when that’s not really how I feel.

How to stick to stuff

Honestly, sticking to something is really hard. Whether that’s a conscious decision to leave your phone downstairs at night time to waking up ‘early’ every day, we all subject ourselves to expectations that we find pretty much impossible to stick to in the long term. And then, as a result, we make ourselves feel bad for not meeting our ridiculously high standards in the first place (or is it just me?)

In some ways, I am great at sticking to stuff. This newsletter, for example, or my pledge to read 50 books in 2020 (follow me on Goodreads). I am also terrible at sticking to stuff, like how I can’t bring myself to delete Facebook (or even uninstall it), or how I have somehow become addicted to caffeine this year after 10+ years of not-so-much as drinking a Coke on a night out.

There aren’t two types of people: the ones who can stick to things and the ones who can’t. Everyone just has a finite amount of energy and we all choose to channel it into different things.

A weekly newsletter might seem like a wholly daunting task that you might never achieve, while someone else might feel comfortable writing to their subscribers 2+ times a week. You might find yourself at your desk every day at 8am sharp, or you might just feel that anything before midday is a struggle.

The reality is that we are all different and, therefore, we cannot (and should not) attach morality to certain activity — especially during a global pandemic. And with that in mind, you must remember that whatever you used to love, might not be that easy anymore.

So, if you’re wondering whether to invest in that next great hobby or creative pursuit, and you’re concerned that it might be a case of Shiny Object Syndrome then I say… who cares? Shiny or otherwise, we all start somewhere.


📚 I am reading a lot and nearing my target for 2020, mostly epic fantasy and science fiction as that’s all my brain can cope with at the moment — anything as far away from reality as possible!

🏃‍♀️ Hey, ya gal is still running! I run a few times a week now and I am slowly getting faster (lol). I have never really liked exercise but I can honestly say I quite enjoy a 5k accompanied by a podcast. It helps the break up the day when working from home!

And that’s all from me this week, see you all next week for more inane ramblings about work, mental health and the bits in between.

If you liked this email, then please share it on Twitter and @ContentByTheSea and/or send to your closest attention-deprived friend for a little comfort during these unprecedented times.


Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:

14 October: Meet the bosses who shaped me

6 October: Running a business when you're sensitive AF

30 September - Let them eat lockdown layer cake 🍰

23 September - Poetry in Notion: How one tool revolutionised my work ✨

16 September - A sceptic’s guide to self development

9 September - A quick one from Bonny Scotland

2 September - I’m here 🙋‍♀️

26 August - What I learned from my most profitable months as a freelancer 💰

19 August - Don’t optimise your life, just live it 🏃‍♀️💨

12 August: The 💩 parts of freelancing that nobody ever talks about