Miracle eyesight cure

I am slowing moving back into the word of social media and email … and blogging … after a break which I needed as I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed after a really busy period both at work and at home.  A period which required a lot of email, a lot of texts, and hours and hours of mindless scrolling through Facebook in a futile attempt to switch off my brain.

So a family holiday provided the opportunity to switch off the tech as well as the routine.  I did not leave my phone at home, that would have been inconvenient.  And I did have a lovely time reading blogs on my phone.  I read more books.  I stared into the distance a bit more.  But possibly not as much as I would have done had I not had access to the internet at all.  I still ended up down a few rabbit holes online (should I buy a jumpsuit?).

But most of all I checked email.  I couldn’t get to email, I had logged out, but I checked and checked and checked.  I am addicted to checking email and I had no idea.  I knew I was in gander of checking work email compulsively, so I just don’t have work email on my phone or personal laptop.  I thought I had didged the bullet.  But in week one of the holiday, I cannot tell you how many times I saw this screen as I clicked on the mail icon of my phone.


Even knowing there was no email behind the icon did not stop me from compulsively tapping it.  I have now hidden the icon from its usual clickable place on my homescreen. Let’s see how long I can reduce that compulsion to check.  At least I now know it is a compulsion.

And it is a compulsion that I suspect is the one causing my headaches, neck ache, and my eyesight problems.  I have worn glasses for nearly forty years now.  My eyesight is rubbish and – despite the headline, it still is.  For the past year I have assumed that my glasses are just never going to correct my sight properly now that I am getting older, seeing into the distance has been a struggle, lots of blinking and squinting was happening.  Guess what – that compulsive looking at a small screen was stopping my eyes from focussing on things in the distance.  Several opticians have mentioned to me how bad our phones are for our eyes – not the phones themselves, but that compulsive need to keep staring at them when our eyes are supposed to be taking a break and staring into the distance.

Driving down a familiar route yesterday I was amazed to see landscape that has been slightly fuzzy for ages now.  Miraculous.  And hopefully a motivation to stop that compulsive email checking and just give my eyes a proper break.




Write it down

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.

brown and white track field
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

PS Obviously I just made that motto up, but liking it.




Letting go of the routine

My son has just asked whether I write every day.  I try to, but do not succeed.  After a successful run of posting daily, I was feeling a bit of a failure.  Yesterday, I decided that writing a blog was not a good move, I needed to do some urgent tasks instead. Well they had become urgent, having lurked on a to do list for a while.  I had a nagging feeling that I had failed throughout the day though.

But the offspring’s question this morning was swiftly followed by another: “so how many people read it?”.  He is the generation of media users where if there are no reads or likes, there is no point.  Is this a clue to that nagging feeling of failure, am I getting swept away with that sort of thinking?  I am very grateful indeed if you’re reading this, and more so if you respond to it in some way.  I am posting this into the public for a reason, to have an audience and to feel accountable for making the piece readable.

The main reason for writing though is to have a positive habit every morning which enables me to face a complicated day having exercised my brain with something enjoyable, but still a bit challenging.  Yesterday I knew I had not let myself down, I needed to do the tasks more than my brain needed this.  Yet, I felt that I had broken the habitual nature of the exercise, and maybe I missed the interaction as well.  But, of course missing one day does not destroy a habit, it’s making sure I get back to it that counts.  Hopefully someone will read this today. And life feels a bit smoother having spent some time catching up on domestic stuff.



Going slower is a proper challenge for me.  Going slower for me is waking up and writing a blog.  This is definitely working to make me stop and think a bit more about the day ahead, about how I am feeling and all that sort of good stuff which is definitely making me more deliberate and slower.

It’s not quite switching off though.  I want to pay some attention to that too.  Partly because it is school holidays, so the rhythm of life changes pleasantly.  Having teenagers means that it slows down considerably.  From their point of view there’s a lot of sleeping and watching TV.

I find myself with more reading time in holidays which is great, as that was one of my aims in ‘slower’. I still have a nagging feeling that I ought to be watching TV or films though.  The fact that I do not love either troubles me a bit.  I possibly have to be very honest with myself and say that TV sometimes cares me and I find it too overwhelming.  I can’t watch TV news, I struggle with anything that is too scary, even the current Miss Marple may prove too much for me.    It’s not the same with the books, I enjoyed the Robert Galbraith Cormoran Strikeseries in books, but am haunted by the latest TV adaptation.  I struggle to stay focussed on TV – I find myself on social media or googling randomness at the same time and literally lose the plot of whatever I am watching.  TV documentaries drive me nuts, as do current affairs programmes, I think I process better when not forced to sit on a sofa with someone talking at me.

The total opposite is also true; once I sit down on the sofa to watch TV, I do struggle to get motivated to get up again, so end up mindlessly binge-watching episodes of something (whilst flicking through social media, so not really watching) and then end up feeling very dissatisfied.

As for films – for two years running I had a resolution to watch one film a month – at home or the cinema, it didn’t matter.  I didn’t bother again this year.   Just not going to happen.

Still, I am missing out and I know I am.  I am going to try watching small parts of episodes and not last thing at night.   Hopefully if I limit it to 40 mins, I will not feel it is a huge drag on my time, it should be easy to just watch a TV show and really focus on it for 40 mins and then I can decide to do something different if I need to.

Can’t work out the film thing though.  Suggestions welcome.


A little spot of mine

I have a desk.  This is quite an achievement, it’s not quite completed yet, as in, I am not convinced the desk is in the right place, but I have a desk and I am writing this at that very desk.   One of the family keeps asking me why I want a desk, one is helping to make it happen in any way he can and the third may not have actually noticed yet that I have a desk.

But the questioning interests me.  Why do I want a desk?  I have no real answer.  I have this romantic vision that it is a Virginia Woolf inspired need for a desk, if not a room, of one’s own.  Not sure it is though, as we have discussed having a She Shed in the garden, and frankly, I don’t really want one – I don’t want the hassle of having a whole room to look after and be responsible for.  I don’t really want to have to walk to the end of the garden, I don’t want to be isolated in a shed on my own, I really like my family and like having them around.  I don’t want a whole room of my own.

I do want a desk though, but why?  I own a laptop, so I can use it anywhere.  I am a clear desk sort of person, so would always clear off the desk at the end of a task – or the kitchen table, the sofa, the bed – wherever I end up doing desk-type things. So I don’t need a desk to store things really.

It may be because I have not had a desk to myself since university.  At home, we always shared a computer, until the now luxurious days of having a laptop each.  This is a luxury I still get a huge thrill about, I will never ever not appreciate my own laptop – it is an amazing, beautiful thing.  At work I job-share and have done for about 16 years now, so I have always shared my desk.  I love sharing my work desk though.  Chocolate appears and disappears in the drawers, someone else’s taste in hand cream is always exciting, it’s nice to have a note left on my desk just saying hi. One day there was a bottle of gin in the locked drawer.  The joys of desk-sharing.

Well, this has been the first time the desk has been used properly (it was a splendid stand for the Easter tree over the weekend) and I love it.   Still not sure why though.

The blog is about twice the length as the last few though, so I write more it seems.

This is the first time the photo is actually mine.  A photo-worthy desk.



PS thank you for the well wishes on Monday – all feeling much better now.



A chore tour

One of the upsides of my new working hours is that the inevitable chores that build up in 21st century life all have to be done in shorter time.  And this morning I am thinking this is a good thing.  Like lots of these things, chores just expand to fill time.  Housework and email triage are two other tasks that seem to have that magic property.  Whereas reading seems to stay well within its allotted time.  Unless it is reading rubbish on Facebook, that has very magical time properties.

Back to the chores though.  I have suspected for a while that they tend to grow in size and importance in my head because they make me feel properly busy.  However, the reality of new working hours is that my hours are now controlled by someone else, so fewer are available for the luxury of the chores.  Is there a verb there?  Choring?  Or is that something less salubrious?

This morning I am discovering a new delight in having an hour or so this afternoon when I can indulge in what I call a ‘chore tour’.  Top of the delight list on that tour is a visit to the library.  When I genuinely cannot get there as often, it feels so much more fun to go.  I don’t think I have looked forward to going to the library like this since I was about 10.  And I am very pleased to be getting rid of the bags of clothes that have been waiting for the charity shop for a couple of weeks.  And that parcel that needs to be posted.

Here’s to an hour or so of dashing around ticking things off a list, can’t wait.


Fitting in reading

So, having raised the potential of not listening to the news so much, I am still pondering how to fit in more reading.   Not loads more, just a bit more than the 10 minutes before I fall asleep.  It feels like something important for various reasons.

  1. I like reading and like to think of myself as a reader, but in reality, I do not read very much.
  2. I think some books just need to be read more quickly, they don’t flow well in ten minute a day chunks. A Passage To India would be a good recent example.
  3. I have a list of books read this year and I want it to be long.

One solution is very obvious, but yet something stops me – get rid of social media, I definitely spend too long reading that instead of a book.  “Get rid of” is the problem – I have an all or nothing attitude to it, maybe just reducing social media would do the trick really.

There are some technical solutions.  Using my Kindle means I have a light book and many books with me at all times and it links to the app on my phone, so I can read on that as well.

Listening to audio books has been a revelation for me.  I spent years listening to them in the car, but then realised I can listen to them anywhere since the advent of apps on a phone.  At last, I appreciate Dickens, who is delicious read aloud, but I struggle with reading it from the page myself.

Another technique that seems to work for me is to have a few books on the go at a time.  Sometimes, I may be enjoying a novel, but just not able to get into it at that time.  That happens often when commuting, sometimes I can’t get totally lost in the book, so it needs to be something less enveloping.

Accepting that any reading is good reading feels crucial for me.  I keep reverting back to Donna Leon’s Brunetti series this winter – I just need a light detective novel.  It’s my reading equivalent of watching TV, I suppose.  And it’s still reading.

books-bookstore-book-reading-159711.jpegI shall keep experimenting.