People have millions of theories as to how to get rid of boredom, stop bad habits, not overeat, even to live a happy, joyful life! But do all of them really work?
Absolutely not. The main problem is that most of them are just simply too big. For example, happiness. Some say just to focus on the happiness of others. But is it really, truly realistic to always be kind to everyone you meet and have perfect manners? Eventually, focusing solely on others will only wreck yourself in the long run.
What about something like being on your phone too much? The internet raves about phone-detoxes, going days at a time where you don’t use it at all unless you physically have to. I’ve tried this, but honestly? What happens when you need to Google something or have nothing to do? Most of the reason I got on my phone in the first place was out of pure boredom.
The problem with trying to live a happy, healthy life is that people think too big. And I too have thought that way. Doesn’t it seem like being happy or forming good habits requires some grand turning point? An extreme diet, a sudden midnight revelation about kindness, working out around the clock? This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Whether it be a painting your work on, or sketching out your dream home, sometimes the key to happiness isn’t in a grand act. Sometimes the key to happiness and health is a simple project.
My Recent Projects
The main reason I decided to write this article was because I wanted to share the joy I got from some of my recent projects and encourage others to do the same. There is a startling difference in my productivity and general happiness when I have a project versus when I don’t.
For example, just recently I received a canvas, paints, and brushes as a gift. I was a little hesitant to start it, the blank canvas threatening me. It already had buildings outlined, but it was my job to paint them in and choose all the colors, removing and adding buildings at will. At the start, I was certain that this would be just another one of my failed art projects like I’d had in school. Needless to say, I was stunned at how it came out.
This is a picture of the finished project. Each day I would come home from school and work on it in whatever free time I had between homework and other activities, carefully etching each detail and watching as it came to life before my eyes.
The next thing was something my brother and I did together. Just one day when we got home from school, we decided to draw out an extremely detailed sketch of our idea of what to put in the spare room. We spent at least an hour painstakingly measuring out each item to add to the room, each wall and vent, meticulously drawing it on the paper so that every foot in real life was exactly one inch on paper.
Yet, we had fun! Listening to music all the way, we strung out the measuring tape and detailed the length and width of each of the bins, calculating everything down to the inch. It took less that two hours, but just that quick, simple project brought a lot of joy and, along with it, a warm prideful feeling of accomplishment at the finished product.
Lo and behold, with help from the rest of the family, we ended up moving everything up to that room to the point that the bare, desolate room that had housed only a lamp and a small table was now a fun, organized entertainment and study room complete with a TV, desk, and bungee chairs.
Although we switched most items around and modified the design, the sweet warmth of pride bursts in my heart everytime I show someone the design knowing that such a simple, quick project had turned out so well and changed the house dynamic for the better.
After I realized I liked designing and sketching out that room, I began drawing out designs for new houses and have recently been drawing models and exploring architecture and interior design.
So now that you’ve heard some of my experiences with quick projects I’ve done lately, let me explain how I think they could change your life for the better.
Benefits: Could a simple project help you have a happier, healthier life?
Break your phone addiction
You get home from school or work, and immediately your hand goes to your phone almost unconsciously, your body making the decision without any thought. This is just the natural reaction. As you watch a video or scroll through social media, minutes tick by fast, flying away with each stroke of your finger on the screen.
Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour on your phone. Looking up at the clock in a daze, you notice the time. Crap! Panic surges through your veins. Homework is piling up, or housework needs done, you have to finish that assignment by tomorrow! You realize that you’ve just wasted an hour of your time that you could have used to do any number of things, even if you don’t have anything pressing to do.
So how can a project help take away that natural urge to pick up the phone, to drown in the digital world and have the minutes tick away until the panic and guilt set in? For me, having a project around, like my painting, has helped me stay off my phone a lot. My screen time has decreased dramatically!
The main reason is that most of the time, the root of a phone addiction or wasting time on your phone is that you simply have nothing better to do. It starts with one day where you get home with nothing to do, and of course, your phone is the natural solution to that boredom. But over time, what started as a harmless time-killer can morph into an addiction.
A month later, you come home with piles of work to do, a mountain of chores. But your body is so used to immediately picking up the phone, so it does just that. You watch the hours wash away as you delve deeper and deeper into the digital ocean of content, swimming through an endless sea of distractions. Sooner or later, you forget the mounds of work and papers that sit in stacks…
But what if when you first got home that one day, you had an unfinished painting at the table, with brushes and vibrant paints at the ready? You go to that instead, leaving the phone behind except to play some background music as you work.
A month later, you get home and have those mounds of work. You could go finish the project, paint the rest of the houses… but it doesn’t distract you nearly as much as the phone. Sitting down at the table, you sift carefully through the stacks, the pen scratching away at the papers one by one until each and every one is done. Then, once the work is done, you pick up the brushes and get to work.
Having another fun task to do will wash away the urge to reach for your phone, and will ultimately end up reducing the amount of time you do spend on it by hours. That is just one way that having a fun project can make you happier and more productive!
Less absent minded eating
Just like phone addictions, unhealthy eating habits can often stem from boredom. In my experience, when I get home and have nothing to do, I either go for one of these two things: my phone or the pantry. Or both.
Chomping away mindlessly at your snacks, you barely stop to taste the food. You aren’t eating because you’re hungry. It’s because it gives you something to do. This is called absent minded eating. Just like with the phones, having something to do the instant you get home can stop these habits from developing by eliminating the root of the problem: boredom.
Coming home, instead of going to the pantry to rummage up some food, you direct your attention to a project… a painting, sketching out a room, rearranging furniture. Without even knowing it, you just avoided a huge binge session and possibly thousands of extra calories.
For more ways to stop your mindless eating, check out a previous article, https://lifeandlemons.net/2019/01/26/how-to-eliminate-absentminded-eating/
Discover new passions
Lately, I’ve rekindled my love for architecture and interior design after my brother and I started… you guessed it, a simple project. As I mentioned before, there was a spare room in the house that we wanted to turn into our own entertainment/study room, just a fun, cool hangout.
We had so much fun just measuring everything out and sketching out all the plans in detail, and while we were doing that, something just sparked. I always used to say that I wanted to be one of two things: and architect or an author. Now with my blog, I sort of let my love of architecture and interior design fade into the background, lingering on the edges of my thoughts and clinging on as I focused my attention on writing. But that project reignited the spark, and now lately I’ve been sketching out new, intricate house designs.
This has certainly brought an element of happiness to my life and eliminated boredom. You never know if a simple project like rearranging furniture or filling an empty room will help you discover a new passion… or rekindle an old one.
Breaking your phone addiction, less absent minded eating, and possibly discovering your passion? Big lifestyle changes and greater happiness don’t always have to come from a big change. Whether it’s painting, redecorating a room, rearranging furniture, or even starting a blog, the key to achieving greater happiness and health truly could lie in the occasional small project.