Thursday, 29 March 2018

Efficiency Central

40 days ago, I decided to take up a challenge and give up laziness for Lent. Although I am not religious, the school I work in is and, as such, I felt that it was only fair I embark on the same grueling scrutiny we place the kids under at this time. 

Back in February, I was behind in just about everything. Having spent most of the time since Christmas in various stages of ill, the mountain of work was piling up whilst the final dregs of my motivation gurgled softly down the drain. I had procrastination down to a fine art and could lecture on the art of distraction. I was the queen of doing naff all and boy was it biting me on the ass.

So, 40 days later...

Surprisingly, I'm actually doing okay. Early in the month, I finally got off my butt and bought a car, something that had been on my to-do list for a good year now. Soon after, I planned, resourced and lead an off-timetable day at school: again, something that had sat in my diary for far too long. I got all but my final two essays done and sent; organised and updated all of my documentation; started finding more time to exercise; completed a personal project and planned some new long-term ones. I was working in efficiency central.

Of course, there were plenty of things that I did not do. I did not blog, I did not complete my work and I did not spend every second of every day devoted to doing nothing. 

But I also learnt a few things that meant I don't feel quite so bad about time spent doing nothing because, in reality, it's never doing "nothing" at all. It's recovering, thinking, relaxing or just enjoying being. Time spent doing nothing is just as important as the time spent doing everything and, just sometimes, we all need that break. If potential productivity is measured in terms of time, I most certainly could have got everything done in these 40 days, and still had time to spare. With no rush, though, what's the point in hurrying through everything? If anything, that's probably how I got poorly in the first place.

There is a stark difference between laziness and productive rest and, although I have spent 40 days attempting to banish the former from my life, I have now taken it upon myself to reintroduce the latter, for the sake of being more efficient in the times where I am working. 

40 days of giving up laziness: atheist though I am, Lent has served me well.  

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Lazy-free days

As a child, I attended more than one Christian school. During my time in these establishments, Lent was, naturally, a big deal. The lead up to Easter was filled with endless prayer, religious ceremony and, of course, 40 days of being interrogated about what we were going to 'give up'.

As an adult-atheist, I had long forgotten about the deprivation necessary at this time of year, until the Christian school I now work at gave me a timely reminder.

Regular readers will know that I am generally opposed to the idea of doing something 'for' an occasion. I am not one for new years' resolutions or anything of the sort. To me, the time for change is every day and one should not need an external event to tell them to do something before they have any motivation to achieve.

However, having been very poorly for a couple of weeks – and found a multitude of other excuses – my motivation and productivity have been through the floor and I am being forced to eat humble pie. When asked what they plan to do for Lent, children always have such grand, wonderful ideas. By contrast, most adults simply shrug and reluctantly agree to give up wine or chocolate. It's underwhelming, uninspiring and, frankly, lazy.

Speaking of which...inspired by the children, I have taken it upon myself to use the excuse to sort my shit out and have decided to give up one, very simply thing:


40 days of binning the any-old excuses, attempting to manage my time and finally, truly get things done. That means finishing this year's degree-work, getting a wiggle on with projects at work, finding the second job I've been talking about for months (and the car to get me there) and, of course, getting my sorry butt back on the blogs.

Non-specific though the commitment is, I am hoping that the abstract nature of my pledge will work in my favour, making it achievable at the most basic of levels first. One can only ever hope for the best and that is what I endeavour to do. Wish me luck!

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas

Whoever you are and wherever you may be, have a truly wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Feeling the love - Countdown to Christmas

Today, I am in sunny Statford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace, with someone very, very special to me and, as if it didn't before, it really is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. 

Between sparkling lights, cobbled streets and an all-year-round Christmas shop, I have flown well and truly into the Christmas spirit and, from here, there is just no going back.

I love Stratford for so many reasons. I love the feeling of walking through the streets and knowing that - though modernity has taken its hold of the town- so much of what I am seeing hasn't changed in a good century. I love the number of sweet little shops, places of art and the many buskers filling the streets. And, more than anything, I love the atmosphere: the feeling that something more important than getting from A to B is happening and everyone is a part of it.

Image sourced from here.

I am well aware that this makes me sound like a pretty strange kind of little weirdo but there is no denying that the place has something about it that continues to draw me back, time after time. 

This time though, the trip is a little more special. Having been with other friends and family before, I know Stratford well and have a story for every other street corner. Taking this person today was like introducing them to important memories and what it has felt like to, at some points, be me. And, of course, in the process, we made new memories that I will most probably widdle myself about for years to come. 

Stratford touches the musician and writer in me, drawing me into the oh-so-slightly upper-class, bohemian environment. Equally, the tiny little town could be anywhere: it's the sharing of memories and the making of new ones that has made me quite so mushy and, of course, well and truly in the Christmas spirit.