#28daysofwriting Days 23 – 27: Gone in a flash!

So, this week has been a  blur.  How is it that some weeks we spend just chasing our tails for them always to be elusively beyond reach?  Each evening I sat down to work promising myself that I would find 28 minutes to write.  My reward when I finished the tasks I had to do for the next day.  I have a habit of looking at the clock in the corner of my computer screen and things usually go like this:  I see that it is only 8.30pm.  “Yes!”, I think, “I will get to bed before midnight, Plenty of time to write, once I have finished creating this resource, working on this policy, updating this website.”  And then I glance again and find to my disappointment that it is already 11.30 and I still haven’t finished.  I don’t think I am a slow worker, in fact, I know I am not.  But I am not very good at focussing on one thing at once.  I get sidetracked, and I know that the internet, social media and emails, don’t help me stay on task.  Not to mention books, television and researching where we can do our next training walk or planning holidays.

These are some strategies I have tried to avoid distractions;

  • Working in a room alone, no noise, no TV
  • Closing all tabs except the thing I am working on so I can’t click on them accidentally
  • Putting my phone in another room or switching it off so I don’t hear notifications and I am not tempted to pick it up and look at it
  • Having a post it note on my screen with the task I am supposed to be doing written on it to remind me that that is what I should be focussing on.

They don’t work.  Well, they do for a short time but then I get bored of being alone,  my mind starts to wander and I open Twitter to see what is happening in the world,  Or I get up to stretch my legs, load the washing, take a washing off the line, fold it, put it away, make a cup of tea, load the dishwasher, unload it, clean the kitchen, the bathroom… Not all of these things at once ore even on the same evening, of course but you get the idea of how my work is interrupted.   And then I notice my phone, pick it up, see the notifications, look at them and spend half an hour following links from tweets and FB comments.

But then, I wonder if I am in the right frame of mind to work?  Is the evening after a busy day at school the most effective time to work?   I can’t focus fully on work when I know there are so many other things that are competing for my time and attention and which I really want and need to do.  Some of my distractions are the realities and necessities of daily life, of motherhood, of family life.  I am torn between my family and my work and my play.  I wouldn’t be without any of them.  But I sometimes wonder how I can get the balance right.  Work deadlines, the demands of my students, their parents and school, seem to shout louder than my family.  And what ends up giving is my family, my home and me.   Not work.

Somehow, I have to get better at this whole work-life balance thing.  Not sure how.  Maybe I need to try to do less, better?

#28daysofwriting Day 4 Counting Down

sand timerSo, I am a day behind already!  I desperately wanted to write yesterday but I ran out of time; at 11.48pm my husband came through as I was writing up the Hockey Club minutes after planning lessons, responding to emails from students and colleagues and checking in on Facebook.

I thought I was doing OK when I looked at the clock at 10pm but then all of a sudden it was nearly midnight.  Where does time go to?

Like sand through a timer it seems to go quite slowly at first and then, “Whoosh!” it is gone, all too soon.   Holidays are like that too, aren’t they?  The first weeks of the summer holidays stretch out in front of you.  Delicious days of waking when you want to, relaxing breakfasts and lazy days catching up on reading that you just don’t have time to do in term time.  Days at the beach, leisurely catch ups and coffees with friends, evening barbecues and drinks in the garden enjoying the coolness of the evening as the sun goes down.  And then, before you know it, you are half way through and the count down just gets faster. The days slip away and there is a hint of panic as you realise that you actually haven’t done any of the things you said all term that you’d so in the holidays!  Sort out the photos, tidy the garage, organise someone to clean the roof, hang the pictures you got last Christmas, write letters and send cards to friends who don’t have internet, plan some lessons!

This summer I went to Costa Rica and Nicaragua with a group of students.  We spent Christmas in the rainforest and New Year on the beach with the local community with whom we were working.  It was interesting to note how the girls coped with the time we spent there.  Four weeks for them seemed interminable, especially those who were homesick. Odd, because they had spent eighteen months of preparation excitedly counting down to their adventure.  As soon as we arrived they spent four weeks counting down to going home!  It is not  that they didn’t enjoy themselves and throw themselves into the experience and make the most of it, because they did. But, as they explained to me, they just missed their families and were looking forward to seeing them again!  I didn’t get it!  But then it wasn’t the first time away from home for me.  Time went far too fast and there just wasn’t enough time to do and see everything I wanted.

Three days this week I have walked 15km training for the Oxfam Trailwalker.  (probably why I haven’t any time!) Time is strange then too.  In contrast to holidays, the first half of the walk seems to go by very fast but the second half seems to go on for ever!  My legs are weary and my feet hurt.  Every step is painful. If you let yourself think about it.  Fortunately we are four “50-something” women and we know how to talk!  We keep each other going and time passes more quickly.

And now my 28 minutes are up.  Strangely the Pink Floyd song “Time” from the album “Dark Side of the Moon” is playing as I finish!  A song about how time slips by fast without us really noticing before it is too late.  I just looked at the Wikipedia info about it and it suggests there that Roger Walters realised when he was 28 that he was no longer preparing for life, he was in the middle of it!  Not sure of the veracity of that but it seems apt given that I am writing for 28 minutes for 28 days.

Image: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8088/8541529818_13a97735fb_h.jpg