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12 Compelling Reasons To Add Writing To Your Bucket List

12 Compelling Reasons To Add Writing To Your Bucket List

Unless you happen to be a professional writer, writing may seem like an impractical hobby to adopt. After all, who has time to dedicate to a practice that requires such concentration and thought, while juggling everything else in your day? Luckily, it doesn’t take much time to start a writing practice, and even just a few minutes per week can be profoundly therapeutic. You don’t need to get a novel published in order to consider yourself an active writer.

1. Finding clarity in your thought process

Let’s face it – sometimes we don’t know what we actually think or feel. The activities of the day can easily jumble your thoughts, stress you out, and muddle your mental clarity. By giving yourself space and time to write things down, you allow yourself to be honest and let anything out.

2. Making better decisions

We’ve all made pros and cons lists, even if just in our heads. But writing about a difficult decision gives the process of deciding a new, visual dimension. Upon writing about a problem, you may be able to go back and re-read what your wrote to find clarity. When thoughts are laid out on a page, it’s much easier to see your genuine thoughts, as well as problems and realistic possibilities.

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3. Becoming more professional

Nowadays, digital content is the primary vehicle for businesses to market themselves, communicate with their customers, and build a brand. Thus it is slowly becoming a necessity for professionals to know how to write with eloquence. Something as simple as knowing how to write a white paper, a blog post, or a professional email can propel your career to the next level.

4. Releasing negative thoughts and feelings

For years, scientists have be uncovering the emotional benefits of writing. This does not only apply to conventional pen-and-paper writing, but even blogging. According to Harvard researchers, blogging has been shown to be therapeutic. According to Scientific American, “Some hospitals have started hosting patient-authored blogs on their Web sites as clinicians begin to recognize the therapeutic value.”

5. Stimulating your creative juices

When neuroscientists observed participants brains while they wrote, they found striking similarities between the writers and the typical activity of someone playing a sport. While the physical act of copying words did not stimulate creative centers of the brain, the act of both thinking and writing did.

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6. Finding relief from physical illness

Believe it or not or not, a study by New Zealand researchers showed that patients who wrote after biopsies had wounds heal faster than those that didn’t write. Furthermore, asthma patients who wrote were found to have fewer attacks, and AIDS patients were found to have higher T cell counts. Amazingly, this reveals the possibility that writing can not only benefit your mental health, but physical health as well.

7. Disconnecting from technology

Grabbing a pen and paper is the perfect way to disconnect from technology throughout your day. It’s an activity that still stimulates and occupies your mind – but it’s not overstimulating like most things we find on the internet, our phones, and tv.

8. There’s a writing style for everyone

The common conception of a writer is basically an author – someone who meticulously slaves over their novel while working to get published. For many, this may sound daunting and tedious. However, not every writer is the stereotypical, Edgar Allan Poe-esque creative genius. Some writers are critics, writing reviews for food, movies, or music. Others may write grants for organizations, while technical writers create instructional documents.

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9. Improving memory

By writing with a pen and paper, those who are studying are able to retain more information than if they were simply reading. The act of writing information down activates the brain’s Reticular Activating System, leading to stronger memory retention.

10. Develop a greater ability to express yourself

Writing gets you into the habit of using language in a more particular way. It helps you to avoid being vague (e.g. She is doing good), and delve into the deeper aspects of what you are experiencing (e.g. Her performance has improved considerably). This will help others understand you better.

11. You don’t need to be an expert

Many people consider themselves poor writers, while others feel they just don’t enjoy the practice. But much of this discouragement comes from self judgement. Your writing doesn’t have to be free of error – it doesn’t even need to be good. The benefits come from simply getting into the habit. The more you write, the more skilled and fluid you’ll become with words and ideas.

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12. Slow down

It’s difficult to rush through a writing session. If you’re always on the go and feeling overstimulated, writing will force you to become more grounded.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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