Beating Procrastination With Monarch Airlines

11 Aug 2017

If you've read my post about balancing work, volunteering and blogging, then you'll know that I am someone that likes to get stuff done. I like to prioritise my tasks for the day and keep on top of things, otherwise I have a little bit of a meltdown! But in amongst all of this drive and determination to get things done, there are moments of unmotivated-ness and times where I say "I'll do it in a minute." So when Monarch Airlines got in contact with me and asked if I'd like to kick procrastination in the behind, I absolutely said yes!

Monarch are working on a campaign at the moment all about how much time Brits waste by spending their time on social media, Netflix-bingeing or commuting and encouraging them to travel instead. There's so much to see beyond our everyday lives and we ain't gonna see it by watching back-to-back episodes on Netflix! In fact, they've created a calculator where you enter the amount of time you spend on an activity per day and it will tell you where you could've flown to in that time. Out of curiosity, I decided to enter in, roughly, how much time I spend on social media a week and was shocked at the results. I could be sunning it up in Tel Aviv, Paphos or Nice (one of the places on my list of 10 that I'd like to visit) right now!

So how exactly do Monarch Airlines want me to help kick procrastination in the butt? Well, they challenged me to reduce or give up one of the things that I spend the most time on and use that time to do something I always put off for a week. Straight away, I knew that I needed to cut back on my endless scrolling on social media (you never know when the Instagram algorithm might change!) and fill my time with something more stimulating. I thought 'pah, this is gonna be so easy!' but let's find out how I got on.

I started the first day of the week off on a positive note. I was starting work later in the day, so I figured that I might be able to have a little bit of a lie-in, but lo and behold, my body clock woke me up at 6:30am, like it does most mornings. Now usually, I would reach for my phone and catch up on all my notifications/scroll through social media, but today, I picked up Louise Pentland's 'Wilde Like Me.' I pre-ordered this book and had ended up only reading a few chapters because I could never find the time! After about an hour or so, I got up and got ready for work. Once I was home and had tea, I finished off the Durham Distillery cocktail post and cross-stitched before bed. So far, so good!

Again, I was up at about 6:30am and decided to read a bit more of Louise's book, but that was only until I saw my phone light up out of the corner of my eye and I couldn't resist checking the notification. My first slip up! I didn't have much time though, as this was an early and long day at work for me, so off I popped. When I got back home, I decided I wanted to do something 'proper' for tea and made my first ever toad in the hole with sweet potato mash, carrots, broccoli and gravy. Usually, if we do an easy tea that you can just shove in the oven, I'll go through all the social sites whilst waiting for it to be done, so doing a homemade tea kept me focused!
Wednesday was not a good day at all and I started it by picking up my phone instead of the book. I know, I'm a terrible person! I was off work that day, so I must have thought to myself "I've got plenty of time to read, so I don't need to right now." I did some WI work during the day and edited my double chocolate chip cookie post, ready for scheduling, but in between all of that, I was checking Twitter and motivating myself with the odd YouTube video. 3 days in to the challenge and I'm already doing rubbish! I did manage to get through all my work though, and do a bit more of my cross stitch project with a podcast on in the background. I've been making this magical creatures calendar for almost a year now, so this week was the perfect time to make some progress on it.

Thursday was a much better day and that was because we were having Daisy the chihuahua coming to stay with us until the following Monday, so I had something else to fill my time with. I woke at about 7am (woohoo, I will get out of this 6:30am cycle!) and got ready for work, as it was another early start. I had no time for any scrolling, just enough to check through the notifications. As soon as I was finished at work, I had to drive over to my friends house to pick the dog and take her home. I spent some time getting her settled and helping her to get familiar with the way to the yard before I had to pick J up. We took Daisy for a walk in our local park and spent more time on the floor with her, before eating and having an early night.

I got up early out of choice to check on Daisy and take her out for a wee, but that was before flopping back on to the bed and scrolling through Twitter. Oops! I was off again on this day, so I had lots of WI and blog-related work to get on with, but instead of messing about on my phone in between, I decided to take Daisy for walks instead. We went on a total of 4 walks on Friday! Needless to say, we both slept pretty well that night. I also did some baking (which you will see in a future post) with some bits and bobs that I've had sitting in my cupboard for the longest time, but never had the chance to use. I read a little bit before bed, then fell fast asleep!

I was proud of myself on Saturday, as I didn't touch my phone at all in the morning! I woke up and grabbed my book, getting through a good few chapters. I knew I wasn't going to finish it by the end of the week because it's pretty chunky, but I wanted to make some good headway with it. J had an early start for work, so I took Daisy out for a walk after I had dropped him off before walking to work myself. I often prefer walking over driving because I get about 30-40 minutes of headspace and it means that I leave the house earlier, therefore I'm not just sat about, waiting to go. It was a crazy day in the tea room, so I ended up finishing later than expected and power-walking back home to let Daisy out for a wee. J finished work not long after me, so we both took Daisy out for a long walk, then came home for tea and to start watching Gypsy on Netflix.

Phew, final day of the challenge! Both J and I took Daisy for a walk that morning which was really lovely, then I dropped J off at work before coming back home to crack on with WI work. Sunday is my dedicated day to write the site's Monday Makes and the particular one I was writing really made me want to start sewing clothes. I've never been interested in it until then! My mum has an old sewing machine that she wants rid of, so who knows, I may have a new hobby soon! I also started to write this very blog post that you're reading, as well as doing bits of housework and taking Daisy for a little lunchtime stroll. Overall, I had a pretty productive day! We had steak and ale pie for tea with a load of veg, followed by a long walk in the park. I may have also started a new cross-stitching project, despite not finishing my magical creatures calendar yet (but it's going to be a present for my mum and it's only tiny, so I figured it won't matter too much). I had barely touched my phone all day and I was so chuffed with myself!
Despite having a few slip ups and a rubbish Wednesday, I think I did alright. The challenge really opened my eyes to how much time I spend on social media, not including my scheduled tweets. I can get really sucked into just scrolling and 'catching up' for such a long time, and it's probably really unhealthy. I've found that cutting down on how I use it has freed up a fair amount of time that I can fill with things that are much more creative and stimulating. Not only that, but it's also made me feel a lot better about myself. While Instagram is great and fun to look through, seeing all those gorgeous girls in my Explore section isn't ideal for my cake-loving self-esteem, so I've definitely had a confidence boost this week!

Moving on from the challenge, I'd like to keep on reducing the amount of time I spend scrolling and filling my spare moments with more enjoyable things. Like I mentioned in the Sunday part of the diary, I have suddenly taken an interest in sewing and making clothes, so that might be something I take up. I also haven't used my watercolours in a while, which is something that I'd definitely like to pick up again. Doing these sorts of things for myself, like cross-stitching and reading, gives me a sense of calmness and fulfilment. While I know it'll be difficult to cut it out completely, every little helps!

I definitely recommend trying this challenge out for yourself and taking a look at the procrastination calculator for some inspiration on what you could cut down on, and where you could travel to instead of spending time on that particular thing. Thank you to Monarch Airlines for asking me to take part in this - it's been an eye-opening experience!

Whould you like to comment?

  1. Interesting post! It's funny to think about all that procrastinating time in terms of a flight!
    I definitely spend too much time mindlessly scrolling when there's so much more to do...
    Hope you get into the sewing, I started in January and I love making things for myself and the house now :D

    Rachel | Starlight & Stitches

    1. It was definitely eye-opening! My list of places that I could go was so long - it's a bit embarrassing really. I would absolutely love to start sewing! I keep thinking about that cute beach bag you made, so that might have to be the starting point x