Teenagers. Horrible things aren’t they? Walking around with their youth, long hair and rock music. Ok, maybe I’m being a bit over dramatic but teenagers are annoying but not for the reason you would think. Teenagers get so much done in a day it makes me want to vomit. Don’t believe me? I tried a month-long experiment to see if I could fit everything that a teenager does into my adult day. The end results shocked me….
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The idea of this experiment started a while ago when I was reminiscing about my glory days as a teenage badass. Despite being a complete turd from the ages of birth and….actually, I am still a little turd. But somewhere in time, I changed. The whirlwind of energy that used to drive me forward was lost. No longer am I smashing grades, working part time, and maintaining a PG13 relationship with my boyfriend. Now I have problems remembering where I put stuff and there are nights when I get into bed and realise I have achieved nothing during the day, despite not sitting on my ass. Even as I type this, I have only just remembered the conversation I had with Ryan earlier about my to-do list (and that I have done none of it). So, in a bid to reclaim my youth (and actually get some work done) I decided to be a teenager again. YOLO!!
Seriously Lindsay, you are a 30-year-old mother of 2 kids with a business to run. Have you finally lost your marbles?
Quite possibly but hear me out first before you send me off to the funny farm. Probably the most productive time in your life was when you were a teenager. You had 6 hours of school where you covered maybe 6-8 different subjects a day. You had friendships and people you hung with. You might have had a part time job. Maybe you had a boyfriend or girlfriend. And maybe you had a couple of after school activities. You see? You probably done more than you thought in the day.
How I started…
As an adult I have found myself drawn to learning new skills but I just don’t have the time. But, if I tried to model my day like a school day, could I still do my job and learn stuff? Maybe. I took a copy of my daughters school timetable and tried to work out how I could model my day around it.
I don’t have 6 hours a day to be messing around “learning” for no reason. But I still wanted to fit as much in as possible. So I decided to break the “lessons” into 30-minute segments at the most, except for PE but I’ll get to that.
Geography is pretty much the world that we live in. I decided the best way to learn it watching 30-minute shows about volcanoes and the like. If the programme was an hour long, I paused it after 30 minutes and then came back to it the next day. I had a couple of books about rocks and gems, so I dusted those off and gave them a read for my geography lesson. Yeah, I was pretty bored by geography so I will be looking at a way to spice it up for me.
How to make it work for you- Taking some time to read about nature or try and identify trees and plants in your area. Or, read about another country. Geography is bacisally a mixture of Earth studies, socilogy, and science. But if you really want to do a proper lesson then try some of this book from Amazon to give you some more ideas on what to study >>> GCSE Geography AQA A Revision Guide
English (or native language class)
I loved English lessons. Mainly because I got to read. But that is one of my problems these days, I don’t know when to put the book down. For my English lesson I decided to take a different approach. Instead of 30-minutes reading, I would read one chapter of a book per day. And so that I didn’t mess about picking books, I started at one side of my bookcase and plan to work my way across. The first book in my bookcase was Stephen King’s Misery. Fans of the book will probably pee themselves laughing at this point. They already know what happened. The first chapter in Misery is 4 lines long. I had forgotten this so on the first day of my experiment I was feeling a little bit stupid. But as the month went on, I slowly worked my way through it and I’m now….I’m not even halfway through…..But I did get an app for my phone called Word of the day. Because there is no teacher standing over us, we forget that there are plenty of other new words out there.
How to make it work for you- Pick a book, any book that is a novel. Now read one chapter a day. You can do it on the bus, the train, or a quick read at lunch time. Reading a chapter a day is not that hard, in fact it’s too easy. But remember, you are reading to help expand your mind a little, you don’t need to rush through a book to write an essay on it. Take your time and enjoy it.
Careers or Employability
Ah! The class that we all should have paid attention in! I decided to use this lesson to try and improve my business. My business is writing but that is only a tiny part of the business. So, I started learning about marketing, PR, and analytics.
How to make it work for you- If you actually like your job or company then you could use this 30 minutes a day to learn how to be better at it or climb the corporate ladder. If you don’t like your job then use this time to find a new one.
Physical Education (PE)
This is the lesson that I have made an exception to. Rather than doing 30-minutes or an hour of exercise a day, I done one hour a week. Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? But it worked. Instead of busting my ass everyday I took a 20-minute walk around the block and then went swimming once a week for an hour. If you think about it that was all we really done at school. Quick walk to and from home and one hour of PE class.
How to make it work for you- I choose swimming because I’m terrible at it and the point of the lesson is to learn. You could take a class once a week in any sport. Not only are you learning and keeping fit, it’s a great way to meet new people. If you have the time, you could join a couple of classes for some variety.
I wasn’t sure what this was but my daughter told me it was about self-improvement. I decided that I was improving myself enough as it was so instead I used this for stress relief and mindfulness. 30-minutes before bed I would meditate, colour in a picture, or knit. Stress is one of the biggest factors that affects our sleep. Teenagers don’t seem to have that problem (or I didn’t) so I decided to try some different methods to help ease my stress and get a decent night sleep.
How to make it work for you- If like me you haven’t picked up knitting needles since school, then knitting for stress relief might not be for you. If you can get the knack for knitting again, then it is a great way to relax. If you can’t, then don’t worry, there are plenty of adult colouring books on Amazon to help you switch off, like this one >>>Adult Coloring Book Stress Relieving Patterns: Natural Stress Relief and Balance Coloring Designs for Adults: Volume 1 (Adult Colouring Books, Adult … Flowers, Adult Colouring Book for Ladies)
Let’s be honest with ourselves here, we live in a computer age but don’t know much about the damn things. I decided that I would try to learn some new skills on the computer to help make my life easier. If you don’t already know, I use a Google Chromebook for all of my work and you can read about the many ways that I hate here. But do I hate it because it sucks or because I am stupid and can’t work it properly? It’s probably a bit of both so my IT lesson has been to learn some different things about the Chromebook.
How to make it work for you- You probably have a laptop or computer that you aren’t getting the most out of, so why not try to learn a bit more about the system that you are using. Or you could kick things up a bit and try and learn code.
Maths is one of those subjects that you either love or hate. I hate maths. English is my strong subject. But we all need to be able to count otherwise we will never be able to balance our bank accounts and be forever in our overdrafts. I took this time to have a look over the finances every day. Yep, every day I checked my bank account and worked on budgets for my house. After a couple of weeks I noticed that my money was lasting a bit better. I wasn’t earning anymore but had more in my pocket. Bills were paid on time and I knew exactly what the ebb and flow of money was in my house.
How to make this work for you- This is a tough one because no-one really likes to think about money. But this is one of those things that gurus and money experts tell you to do. Ever since the recession hit we have been told to keep an eye on what we are spending. Take a bit of time out of your day to look at your accounts, balance your books, and make sure that you are staying within your budget.
Home Economics (HE)
When I am not up to my elbows in writing, I am up to my eyeballs in housework. I’ll be honest, I don’t have time to spend cleaning the house from top to bottom every day. I tried to do housework for 30 minutes a day but that was barely enough time to load the dishwasher and make the beds. So I changed it around a bit. For 1 hour, before I start my working day, I clean. Quick dust, quick hoover, make the beds, load the dishwasher, and run the mop over the floor. Or whatever I can fit into an hour. Rather than naming this HE, I decided to call this “chores”. My HE lesson for the day was cooking dinner. That might not sound like much but I tried to shake things up a bit and tried to make something new every day. I got myself a copy of Deliciously Ella: Awesome ingredients, incredible food that you and your body will love and have made a few different dishes from it. This is a vegan cookbook, and my husband is a butcher, steak was placed on the side of every meal. But still, it was fun to try some different things at dinner time.
How to make it work for you- This lesson really depends on how well you can cook and if you have time. Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast and Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals are two great books with quick recipes for you to try. If you have more time or are a better cook than me, then why not try your hand at a big bake once a week to really challenge yourself. But the main purpose of the lesson is to try something new in the kitchen so don’t be afraid to experiment.
This was another one of my favorite subjects in school so I was looking forward to diving back in and expanding my knowledge. I really wanted to push myself so I signed up to an online learning course with edX. There are hundreds of online course on this website that you can take for free. And it’s not just some silly little thing that means nothing, you can study neuroscience with Havard University (yes, that Havard) and get a qualification out of it. I take 30-minutes out of my day to sit and watch some videos and interactive quizzes. Will I learn everything about the brain? No idea but it is fun.
How to make it work for you- Depending on your love of science and what area you want to look at, there are so many different things that you can do. Science is a massive area of study so don’t worry if you don’t know where to start. Try out some of the different science channels on YouTube like AsapSCIENCE or BackyardScience to help you dip your toe into the big science pond.
Technology and Design
This was a bit of a tricky one for me to try and do. I remember this class making stuff from wood and electrics. Rather than make pointless stuff I decided to use this 30-minutes in the day to fix something in the house. I’ll be honest, my house is a complete dump. And as hard as I try I can never seem to get it to look like a normal grown-up house. This is not the same as chores, those every day tasks that we need to do. This is fixing stuff.
How to make it work for you- Everyone has those silly wee jobs around the house that seem to get pushed to the side. Having half an hour in the day to deal with them makes them seem a bit easier. Take a bit of time to work out what needs done, like changing that bulb or putting that picture up.
This has been one of my favorite lessons. When I was a teenager I tried to learn how to play the guitar but my dad, who can play, used to crack up at me. But now I live with my husband I can play whenever I want. I still can’t play but I am enjoying learning. The best thing about learning an instrument now is the vast amount of resources that are available. I chose an app on my phone called Yousician which can hear you play and give feedback. The app is free to download and offers a “free lesson” every 12 hours. You can upgrade to a full account for £14.99 a month and that will give you unlimited practice time. As tempting as it was to have unlimited access to the app I decided against it, I would probably end up sitting all day playing the guitar and get nothing else done.
How to make it work for you- When you were a kid did you want to play an instrument but your parents said “no”? Well now is your time to do it. It doesn’t matter if you think that you are too old to learn, this is for your enjoyment and you will get the hang of it. A lot of instruments you can pick up really cheap in second-hand shops or online. And don’t be embarrassed about starting out, no-one is going to know how bad you are. And after a few weeks of daily practice you will really notice your skills growing. Before you know it, you will be that guy that quips about playing the guitar/drums/violin in polite company.
Believe it or not, I used to be fluent in French but after nearly a decade of not speaking the language I am as rusty as an old gate. One of the first things I done was order L’Etranger (Folio) which was the first French novel I read. To help me get back on track and brush up my skills I downloaded an app. Duolingo is a cracking little app that gives feedback on your speech and tests your French spelling. Even if you don’t fancy learning French, it has a host of other languages for you to try.
How to make it work for you- The best way to learn a language is to surround yourself with it. Audible has had great reviews on Amazon for helping people to learn a new language. Simply download a story in the language of your choice and you can listen to it in the car or the bus.
This is one that I had trouble with, not because I hate history but history is my job when I’m not here. I spend around 8 hours a day dealing with history….
How to make it work for you- The easiest thing to do would be to pick up a history book or watch the History Channel. Or rather than spend 30 minutes every day looking at history stuff, once a week head out to a museum or local heritage site and soak up the knowledge. Or why not try and trace your family tree? You would be surprised what skeletons are in your granny’s closet.
Another thing I used to be good at. When I was 17 years old I started selling my art work to local galleries but stopped only a year later, mainly because my boyfriend at the time thought it was stupid but he was probably just jealous. Anyway, these skills were pretty rusty as well. I started out by just using a pencil and trying to copy dvd cases. I’ve got about 6 seasons of Family Guy so I had plenty of material to start me off. Hopefully I’ll get my skills back again and you might just see my work in art galleries around the world….hey, I can dream!
How to make this work for you- You don’t need fancy equipment for art, start with a pen and paper if you need to. And draw everything! Doesn’t matter if you think it looks pants, every artist has a different style, just like a finger print.
Ok, so that was all the lessons, but what happened after a month?
Something very surprising, that’s what. Although I hadn’t mastered any skills, I was getting the hang of them. After a couple of weeks of making myself doing them I discovered that I was starting to enjoy them. Having variety in my day made it easier to cope with all of the grown-up crap that we have to deal with. And I wasn’t as stressed. A lot of the things that adults deal with are just mountains made out of molehills. This is probably why teenagers piss us all off. We used to be as free as them in our minds. But teenagers have so much to do in a day it is impossible for them to get bogged down with the silly crap that adults do. It’s not that they lack empathy for others, they just don’t have time for bullshit. And as adults, neither should we. Ask yourself this, how many times have you stressed yourself out with something that is really small? Too many times probably. Would teenage you stress about it? No. They would probably give it the finger, deal with it, and move on to something else. As adults, we should be the same. Maybe not flipping the finger at problems but the principle is the same. By forcing myself not to be lazy, when I did have free time, I was bored, not stressed.
The one thing that I took away from this was the fact that I was lazy because I was stressed. Forcing myself to do other things and occupy my mind with good stuff made dealing with adult problems so much easier. I’m not saying that this plan of mine will work for everyone but it could be worth a try.
If you do try this out, let us know, we would love to hear how you get on and what new skills you are learning.