Remember to celebrate your achievements

Remember to make time to celebrate your achievementsThis post was originally published in issue #10 of my The Important Work Letter. The letter is sent out fortnightly (or thereabouts!) and you can sign up here.

This is the tenth issue of The Important Work Letter, which means for around twenty weeks I’ve regularly written a short essay, made some drawings, and by and large recorded a podcast for this microMag.

Something to celebrate!

Now, I’m tempted to say that all that might not sound much of an achievement. Indeed, a few years ago I might have said just that, but today I recognise what an accomplishment this is. Something worthy of celebration!

If you want to stay sustainably creative and get your Important Work done, then it’s very important to recognise and celebrate what you achieve. Celebrating helps us to pause and really see what we’ve used our time and energy for and, done regularly, acts as a wonderful incentive to keep moving on with out Important Work. Do you remember the joy of receiving a gold star at school? Didn’t it make you swell with pride at what you’d done and give you a boost to work harder? Celebrations, large and small, are the gold stars of the grown-up classroom of life.

Learn to recognise ALL you achieve

If you’re going to add regular celebration to your working life then the first step is to learn to recognise ALL you have achieved. Here are a few suggestions for ways of keeping track what you’re achieved:

  1. Keep a notebook by your bed and at the end of everyday jot down everything you’re done that day. It’s so easy to forget the little achievements and we can often tell ourselves we’ve done “nothing” with our time. The opposite is almost always true!
  2. If you write to-do lists, keep them. For a while when I thought I was achieving very little I kept the short to-do lists (usually only with one or two things I wanted to get done with my limited energy each day on them) and stuck them to my studio wall when they were completed. In a couple of months I’d filled the wall and had a very visual representations of everything I’d done!
  3. Arrange a regular meeting with some friends or colleagues where everyone shares what they’ve achieved since your last meeting. Meeting like this both offer opportunities to celebrate what we’ve done and act as a focus for keeping us on track so we have something to report to the group (remember though, it’s little achievements done regularly that build up into a body of work, we don’t need to have “big” achievements to report).

Once we start to recognise what we’ve achieved we can start to celebrate! Begin to create some celebratory rituals for yourself. Celebrations don’t need to be grand (though once in a while it is good to organise a large celebration to honour a major achievement). They can be as simple as a cup of your favourite tea when you’ve finished working on your Twenty Minutes a Day project for the day. Make a list of ways you like to celebrate and start to include them in your working life.

Here are a few of the ways I like to celebrate:

  1. A cup of tea (made in a pot!)
  2. Meeting a friend for coffee and cake at my Favourite Cafe
  3. Sharing a box of chocolates with some friends
  4. Baking a celebratory cake and inviting people to come and eat it with me
  5. Watching a favourite TV programme or renting a film
  6. Treating myself to a book I want to read
  7. Having a day away
  8. Going out for a meal
  9. Chocolate!

I’m sure you can think of lots of ways you like to celebrate. It doesn’t matter how you celebrate, just that you do something that feels special to you. What achievement can you celebrate this week?