This weekend has been a delicious treat. It has involved work. I rarely work at weekends any more, but when I do, it is always doing the parts of the job I love the most. Speaking to people about why I do my job, how it fits with my faith and my life view and how much my small actions – combined with the many small actions of my audience, are tangibly changing the world for the better. These are opportunities for me to lift my gaze above the day to day and give me perspective. Sorely needed after last month.
I am away from home, on the south coast in Torquay. Delightfully, “home” agreed to come with me for the weekend. We are all feeling the length of winter and are tired and stressed.
Time away turns out to be just what we need. Without really deciding to, we have made the very most of hiring an AirB&B for the weekend. I have resisted doing my usual thing of insisting that we all get out and see everything. Instead, we are going with the flow. Which is restful. The dog is struggling with arthritis, so the walks have to be short. The nights are long and cold and we have bowed to Mother Nature and stayed indoors, cosy and companionable when it’s dark. The sunshine has been tremendous and we have had plenty of it – but gently. Everyone was sleep deprived this week, so we’re catching up on that too.
I was feeling overwhelmed because I have not had much planning or yoga time this week. Instead it was a week of having meetings which created more tasks to do and took away the time to do them. After finding time yesterday to plan February I am feeling better. Plus I found half an hour to get on a yoga mat. Spending some time breathing properly undoubtably helped.
Right now it is getting later on a Sunday morning. No one is stirring. I am staying with this flow though and me and the dog are enjoying just being, catching up on a load of blogs I usually read, now writing my own (on my phone) and in a minute that yoga mat will come out again.
I was aiming for an early morning walk on the beach today – the need to see everything and do everything is not quite gone! Instead I shall just be with whatever is actually happening now. The beach will still be there later and the cafe will serve elevenses as well as they do breakfast I am sure.
Today is my last working day of the year. When I next sit at my desk it will be a new year, a new start and I will be a totally new person.
I will be very efficient, there will not be a thousand emails in my inbox, my to do lists will be legible and realistic. I will calmly prepare thoroughly for all meetings and ensure that I have read all the required papers and have done some extra research on all topics to be discussed. I will follow all meetings and events with timely feedback and follow up wherever necessary. I will be available for every colleague whenever they need me, answering every email, phone and skype call as they come in. I will have reflection time every day to develop my work against my plans and priorities. I will reach every deadline with time to spare. I will be happy and calm at all times.
Ah, just writing all of that is making me feel so much better, I am typing and giggling at myself, which does a power of good. My personal need to leave the year in some sort of state of perfection is indeed funny, even if I have not been able to see that in the last couple of days.
Mainly I am looking forward to a holiday and I need to be very self-aware and check this daft feeling that I need to leave my desk today with everything in order for the imaginary perfection to be possible in a fortnight’s time. Especially as it would take me two weeks just to clear that inbox.
Happy last working day of the year to you, whenever it may fall for you.
It’s the start of July. Half the year has gone. I remember my grandmother saying the years fly by when you’re older. She was saying it to teenage me who thought the idea was crazy, obviously it’s not, it’s totally true. This year I am trying to slow time down by reflecting more on it.
The theory is that if you sit back and think about what you’re doing it imprints itself in your memory a bit more, so you feel you have had more time. I am really not sure I have the hang of it yet though.
I tried a sentence a day journaling method, which was a bit hit and miss last month, having been very diligently completed in May. I have also been trying to keep a gratitude list, which is a good way to relive the tiny moments of a day. And ending the day by reviewing the to-do list and crossing things off, abandoning things or moving onto tomorrow’s list work well to keep everything fresh in my mind. I was rubbish at it in June though. This blog has been much more sporadic, and this is a good way to reflect on things I have done and how it felt at that time.
Reflecting on it though, it does feel like June flew by a bit too fast and it all felt a bit more seat of my pants in terms of organising and getting stuff done. If you are waiting for me to do something, please remind me, I am convinced I have forgotten a lot of things.
I had some goals for the last quarter which did not get done at all. But I feel I have been busy enough with other things, so wrong goals I guess.
One thing I do want to do is to track my time, with a view to being able to answer the question “where did that month go?” with some actual detail. Hopefully July will be slower.
I have noted an odd change in behaviour since starting to write a blog. I seem to have stopped writing to do lists. Obviously the two things are not related, but the irony is delicious.
This week my motto is ‘write it down’. Ok, not motto, that should be something more aspirational. ‘Forward with efficiency’ would be the motto. The stenorous voice of the persistent mental reminder is saying ‘write it down’. If it is not on a written to do list, the task is floating around somewhere in my brain and although I rarely forget things, I get most things done eventually, it never feels as efficient.
I use a bullet journal method to move lists to a relevant time frame, and that is a good way for me to keep lists relevant and productive. And having it written gives me the reassurance that I don’t need to use energy on remembering things, I can just get them done.
Not writing anything on the list is something that happens when I get overwhelmed though. It is such a silly reaction to having lots to do. Surely that is exactly when I should reach most for the lists? I have noticed I am even not writing all my appointments in my diary, keeping some in my head. That is almost at the point of craziness I think.
Time is of the essence of course. I need to spend a little bit of time writing things down, possibly as I think them, but possibly in a more rigorous way of spending a few minutes checking what is coming up and that it is all recorded somewhere. And not wasting another moment in pondering why I have stopped doing something so blatantly useful for myself.
Forward with efficiency.
PS Obviously I just made that motto up, but liking it.