Archives for posts with tag: time

ImageSitting staring at a blank screen (which in my head I still think of as a blank sheet of paper – old school!) has become a bit of a regular event during the last 30 days! I spoke in an earlier post about the importance of determination to complete a challenge such as the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’ve had to dig deep into my determination reserves… but I’ve finally made it – day 30 is finally upon us!

Setting time aside every day (I never did quite manage to get ahead of myself enough to write more than one post a day and schedule them to post in advance, as some of my fellow participants have done) to write a blog post, sometimes with the kernel of an idea already in my head and sometimes with that perpetual blank screen and blinking cursor staring back at me, has been quite a challenge.

But I have managed to do it and it has been a real reinforcement of that old adage about being able to achieve anything if you put your mind to it. I mean, I know that there are many, much bigger challenges in life than writing a few hundred words and sending them out into the ether every day. But it’s a small example of deciding to make a change and following through on that decision, without allowing the everyday issues, priorities and distractions to get in the way of achieving your goal.

It’s been tough at times to stay on course during a very busy period, but it has been very rewarding to make the time every day, not just to write and post my own blog, but also to read a variety of other blogs on a wide range of subjects and make connections with lots of fantastic bloggers, all of whom have been really generous with their thoughts, comments, tips and advice.

I have definitely got the taste for blogging more regularly than I was before undertaking the challenge, and I intend to keep it up, though daily blogging is something that I’ll keep in reserve for future challenges of this sort, I think!

And overall, I’m feeling a sense of satisfaction for having made it to the end of a challenge I set myself. So well done to all my fellow Ultimate Blog Challenge participants, thank you for making it so enjoyable, and I look forward to staying in contact with you.

ImageFor the last couple of weeks, I’ve been commuting by train (and sometimes bus) to and from work for the first time in years. I know that, for some people, it’s a pain in the posterior and something that they would rather do without.

For me, however, I actually find it quite a useful chunk of time in the day, especially thanks to the wonders of modern technology. For example, most days I’ve been able to get my blog at least started, if not finished, on my smartphone before I’ve arrived home. When I’ve had bits of reading to do, or even research via our good friend Google, I’ve been able to do that on the way home, meaning that my time upon closing the front door behind me is entirely my own, with no need for any further extracurricular activities to be undertaken.

It’s a bit like a work decompression chamber, I suppose, where you come away from the working day slowly so that you don’t get the (metaphorical!) bends and get closure on everything you needed to complete that day but didn’t quite manage before leaving.

I also tend to use the evening trips home to do some non-work based chores and activities, like catching up on personal emails and replying to people who you’ve been meaning to get back to but haven’t quite got round to it! Or perhaps checking out plans or travel arrangements for that weekend’s fun, or even checking my online banking and doing a bit of shopping! With the advent of smartphones, provided you have signal and battery, you can power through large swathes of your to do list whilst sitting comfortably (or standing precariously!) on the train.

Similarly, on the way into work, I often use it to prepare for the day ahead – last minute reading, getting thoughts together for how you will handle the anticipated plans for the day, and even grabbing breakfast! Just a cuppa and perhaps a cereal bar of some sort though – nothing smelly or messy… me trying to eat a bowl of cereal on a moving train would not a clean and tidy person make!

If I have no “chores” (work- or home-based) on the agenda for the day, it’s a great place to unwind and do some reading. Sometimes with an actual real life book made of paper and everything! As long as you don’t mind sharing with the person sitting next to you, of course. Very important not to be reading something too embarrassing!

So what about you? Is commuting a hated burden or a joyful decompression chamber? What do you get up to on your commute?

ImageYou know how some days things start off fairly slowly as you think to yourself that you’ve got plenty of time to get everything you need to do finished? So you take your time over the first few tasks, taking the rare opportunity to really consider the best way to approach each activity, mulling it over in your head, perhaps typing and trashing a few abortive email attempts while you wait for the ideal approach and order to present itself to you.

Slowly, but hopefully surely, things start to resolve themselves and make it clear to you what order they need to be tackled in, and the best way to do so. And you realise that actually there’s a bit more to it than you first realised this morning. So you speed up a bit, getting on a roll now as each completed task starts to signpost automatically to the next, and you see your route to the end of the day mapped out for you, and you start to think “ok, I’ll just about get all this done, just as long as I keep cracking along at this pace”.

And then, something comes up. A request from your manager for something you hadn’t quite intended to do today, an unanticipated meeting, an agreement you thought you had made with somebody turned out to not have been understood quite the same way by them… or perhaps all of the above!

So you re-evaluate, re-prioritise, and speed up still further, working furiously on numerous tasks at the same time now. Glancing up at the clock with increasing trepidation at the impending end of the working day because, of course, this always happens on a day when you have a deadline by which you must leave the office, and never on a day when you are flexible about your clocking off time!

So you are now thinking to yourself “why didn’t I go just that bit faster this morning? I’d have it all finished by now!”, but I think you should give yourself a break. I find that some of that slower, thinking time is absolutely crucial to the process. It might not feel like you’re at your most productive, but if you hadn’t given yourself that space at the outset, you might not have hit upon the realisation of the best approach and order to the seemingly random group of tasks you embarked upon first thing. You might have been working hammer and tongs on them all day, without necessarily spotting the interdependencies between them and the best path to forge through them – missing vital information and causing duplication of effort.

So I say don’t be afraid to allow yourself to work at a calmer pace at times, giving yourself the time and brain space to consider the bigger picture. It might just work out more efficient in the long run.

So anyway, you know those days? I had one of them today. Phew!