3 life hacks I abide by

It’s only January and I’m feeling incredibly stretched. I’m obviously signing up myself for too many things, but I can’t help it if they are all things I love doing. Last Sunday after church, I had this quiet time of self-reflection where I pondered about how I’ve made things work for myself thus far. I thought to write it down as a reminder for myself. Some have been lifelong habits I’ve followed, others came along as I evolved as a person.

#1 Deliberate action to cut distraction

It’s natural to get distracted by things - it could be that extra 30 mins of TV, that innocuous 5-minute-turned-1-hour of doom scrolling on the Internet, lying in bed for “a bit more”, chatting with friends at inappropriate time. I’ve realised that the *one* thing I do for myself is that I try my very very very best to cut these away when it comes to being present. What do I mean by that? Since I was in university, I’d be sitting in the front few rows during lecture because I know sitting at the back is a recipe for disaster - I’d be dozing off or using my phone or just doing very unproductive things - which would have been a total waste of my time attending class at all. Same goes for my attendance in church, if I’m there, I choose to sit in front so that I’m more present and immersed. Sure, classes, sermons, lectures can get boring but this is the very least I can do for myself. If not, just don’t go at all lah right? Oh, I uninstalled  FB app from my phone awhile back. It hasn’t been intellectually or creatively stimulating for me, hence.

#2 Priorities

I’ve so many things on my plate now. I get up at 7am, wash up and get straight to working on my computer (whether writing a new module guideline, editing images and videos, preparing for lectures etc), and then it’s class from 10 - 1, or 10 - 5pm. Some days I go to the East to shoot the Geylang players at training/games. Get back home 10pm, work on images for a bit, and sleep hopefully by 11pm. On days I don’t have classes, or have a bit of time, I make sure to clock in my runs (which is now 4x a week) and climbs, and then it’s at my computer working. Easy? No. But for what it’s worth, I’m enjoying the process. I like making good work! Who doesn’t? 

This is at the expense of a lot of things though. I don’t have time and energy to socialise, especially if I want to clock 7-8 hours of sleep. I want to be disciplined about this because otherwise my body can’t work the way I need it to. There are days when all I want to do is edit the content I’ve created because it’s most fun when you see the ‘fruits of your labour’. It’s short term gratification. The more tedious job of preparing for class or writing/reading academic stuff is easier to push back on, but I need to focus. I’ve my goals and if I don’t be smart about it, they’ll just remain lofty dreams in my head. With only 24 hours a day, priorities need to be made.

This is also what I tell some of my students - your role in school is that of a full time student. Some of you have to engage in part time work to make ends meet and that’s understandable. BUT when it comes to a point where you don’t even attend class, submit sh*t work, or have late/no submissions all the time - maybe it is time to reconsider your priorities. Are you doing yourself any justice studying poorly and working poorly at the same time? 

Same goes for those who are full time athletes. If you can’t get simple things like nutrition and sleep right, then you’re forever shortchanging yourself. Ask yourself - what are your priorities?

#3 Don’t let it just be a “what if”

When it comes to making decisions, for the most part I’ve been quite daring. Armed only with a Sociology degree and no prior experience in photography, I trusted myself and dived deep into the world of visual arts. What’s the worst that could happen? I’d have wasted a few years of my life, but it’s not that I wouldn’t have learned anything. At least it wouldn’t be a “what if” in my head. 

When I decided to try sports photography in 2022, I obviously had doubts and fears. My lucky break came in May when I was appointed to shoot for the Asean University Games in Thailand. I had never shot any sports, other than 2 months of football and the occasional climbing, prior to this stint. Archery, swimming, badminton, basketball etc, were all new to me. What if I screwed up and came back with bad images? What if this, what if that. I’ve my moments too. At the end of the day, I made it work. Am I talented? No. I’ve got some brains, but sure as hell, I work hard for it. If it’s important to you, you’ll find ways to make it happen. But if you never try, you’ll never know. So if you’re reading this today and have a “what if” in your head, I urge you to just go for it.

I hope this little piece brings you all some love and light :)

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