Forgive me reader, for it is more than three weeks since my last
confession blog and the pressure to produce something is growing, despite a promise to be kind to myself and another pact I made silently – not to bore you with drivalous self-obsessed rantings. Ah, well..
I’ve mulled over various New Year related topics as many articles have burst onto the 2014 cyber-scene with resolutions and other goal getting intentions. I’ve nearly missed this particular boat as school holidays stalled the anticipated ‘fresh start’ – with a truck load of ironing, I seem to have left until the day before term starts – once again. And yet, I marvel at how a switch in calendar still feels like an exciting chance to start a few things anew with the burden of last years disappointments safely stowed away.
Four weeks have passed since I decided to focus a little more on what I achieve rather than what I may have failed to tick off the to-do list.
The first week went well – before school broke up – and time was mine – Free from wordcounts, I did more reading and thinking than writing. Standing back a bit I even had a couple of big ideas.
Whilst exploring experienced writers’ thoughts on writing, I nerdily took in various hints and tips; The wise agree a daily discipline is the only way to not put off the task, but by and large, they allow themselves to choose any book or article-achieving activity be it: writing, editing or researching. There’s something there to suit every mood rather than a strict performance measure which stirs a visceral need in me to rebel!
Whilst routine bores me, being organised means I get more done – so I oscillate between the two – my inner rebel has won too many times and I still need to find a level of organisation that leads to greater satisfaction.
I had another little revelation which may strike a few chords with any of you not ‘working’ for or to anyone else’s schedule. I enjoyed the Christmas break – laughing with friends and family, baking, eating, getting obsessed with the box set of ‘The Killing’ – I never seemed to have a minute spare to write anyway. But, when out of the groove, I notice increasingly; the less I do, the less I do! And worse still, often because I forget to do it. Yesterday it was the hair-dresser..
It dawned on me that I’m possibly now poor at this stuff, simply because its not something I ‘practice’ any more. When I had a ‘proper job’, there was a constant dialogue with colleagues and secretaries about my diary – trying to squeeze in more appointments, moving meetings etc – It probably meant I was reviewing my day and my week every hour – actually reinforcing my memory of the tasks and appointments ahead. Now I look at my diary only if I already remember there’s something in it. (Sadly not the hairdresser.) The psychological study behind prospective memory shows a chicken-and-egg relationship between being organised and remembering to do things
– to remember to do stuff you have to be organised and to be organised, you have to remember to do stuff!
So despite the rebel not wanting too many restrictions, I am resolved to ‘practice’ organising myself – to work in some routines rather than strict goals. I want to do this in a holistic way too, taking into account all of my needs and some of the unspoken, too often unremembered reasons why I have striven to be here – to take time out to enjoy family and friends and to be a good friend to others. The tricky bit will be accepting it may take all year to get a bit better at it.