I’ve just returned from a three day stay on Skomer. If you’re not aware, Skomer is an island off the Pembrokeshire coast and it is the home of loads of Puffins. Access to the island is limited but you can stay overnight – perfect for getting extra time to photograph the Puffins.
I was on the island as part of a photography workshop. These are great for meeting up with fellow photographers and learning new stuff. This blog, however, isn’t about the photography.
Staying on Skomer is described as ‘off grid living’. Facilities are basic and you share bedrooms – some with bunk beds. I can’t remember the last time – up until Saturday – that I slept in a bunk bed – what I do know is that I never want to do it again.
Firstly, I’m not built for bunk beds. I’m too tall to fit comfortably on the top bunk – come to think of it, the same applies to the bottom one. I like to sit up in bed and also like my legs to fit comfortably – preferably with nothing at the end of the bed to impede me.
However there’s something else that I’d never realised about bunk beds. They are a living hell of the person above you snores. We’re not talking the occasional snuffling for truffles or heavy breathing. We’re talking full on machine gun meets pneumatic drill meets sounds from the depths of Beelzebub’s backside – all night long – and not in an upbeat Lionel Richie way.
We had been warned about snoring so I was prepared with earplugs from Tesco. You get 10 in a pack for a few quid! This is a massive false economy. These earplugs did nothing – admittedly they had a tough job – but you’d expect an ear plug to block some noise. I can only summise that the plugs are made out of Spongebob material given the amount of noise that permeates through.
Saved By The AirPods
Fortunately I had my AirPods with me – so I managed to stifle the noises from above by listening to audio books. I was introduced to audio books by John Lamerton, a fellow affiliate who’s now doing sterling work mentoring ambitious lifestyle business owners. John also suggested the book that I ended up listening to – The One Thing by Gary Keller.
In truth, the one thing I really wanted to do was sleep and I thought a ‘self help’ book would be the perfect choice to help me to sleep. I’m not a great fan of these kind of books so surely a few chapters of someone telling me ‘how to suck eggs’ would be perfect. I’m sure some self help books are good but having perused a few at various airport bookstands I’ve rarely thought them to be a necessity or capable of saying anything deeply profound. Besides I was all out of party political manifestos in the audio book department!
Better Than Sucking Eggs
Surprisingly The One Thing wasn’t as ‘sucky eggs’ as I’d anticipated. I knew it must be worth a look as John has referenced the book a few times in his Big Idea podcasts and has also recommended it. Even so, my scepticism was won over – and that was due to the book’s content as opposed to sleep deprived delirium.
The basic premise of The One Thing is that we need to focus on small steps – one at a time – to achieve our long term goals. What’s the one thing you can do today, this week, next month etc in order to move forward to your long term goal. Too often we’re juggling multiple things and going nowhere fast whilst having unrealistic dreams of world domination.
Food For Thought
In my view the book is full of common sense ideas. But Keller manages to explain them in a way that makes you think.. and think long and hard about yourself and life in general. Which is a bit of a bugger when you’re trying to fall asleep – and an even bigger one when you weren’t expecting it to go that way.
Despite drifting off every now and then, some elements of The One Thing did resonate louder than the snorer from hell having the heavenly sleep of their lives above me. For example, Keller outlines four areas where productivity is hindered and these include health (tick) and environment (tick). The latter I may blog about another day but first I need to revisit that section in the book as by the time I got to that point the land of nod beckoned – albeit for an hour or so.
I Like Striving In My Car
Another section worth my time revisiting discusses striving. I know I’m always pushing onwards and upwards with one project when perhaps there’s no need to. Sometimes it’s best to enjoy what you have – or enjoy what you did before finding a new goal. In fairness the book didn’t tell me that much that I hadn’t contemplated before – but it did re-enforce a number of thoughts as well as make me stop and think – and that’s a big positive.
The One Thing did provide a much needed distraction from the hellish noises emanating from the top bunk bed – although they could still be heard even at full volume! For the few hours sleep I did get I’m eternally grateful to Gary Keller – without that audio book playing in my ears there could well have been some pillow smothering issues to deal with. As everyone returned from Skomer intact, it’s only fair then to return to Keller’s book another day in order to give it more attention.
However based on my late night interlude with The One Thing I’d suggest it’s worth a look. At the very least it may help you get some sleep – on the other hand it may give you plenty to ponder in the early hours.
Finally, if you’re ever stuck sharing a room with someone that snores then the one thing you need are AirPods or other headphones. Listen to something to take your mind off the various pain inflicting thoughts you’re having and relax with either some tunes or a good book.