#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?

Procrastination – term 4 lethargy – searching for inspiration

image of planet with person approaching and spacecraft close by

You can tell I have more work to do than I can fit in a day when I am avoiding doing it at all costs!  Deadlines loom and I will be working frantically into the night to meet them the evening before when I could really save myself the stress and just do the work now.  But that would make life far too easy, wouldn’t it?  I am in the throes of “term 4 lethargy”; it is a highly infectious disease, caught when in close proximity to students who have had enough or who are panicking about exams and so are busily burying their heads in the sand and pretending it will all go away if they don’t really think about it too much.

This weekend, as well as trying to encourage my own son to revise and develop a study plan, I had planned to finish writing my year 10 Spanish Exam. It is mostly done but I have to put it in for photocopying tomorrow morning and so it really needs to be completed.   But my house is also a complete pigsty, washing is (was)  piled up either to be washed or to be put away, the dishwasher has broken and we had to go and look for a new one,  the garden beckons (the sun was shining today), I have friends who need support (two hour phone calls) and this morning was the edcmchat about The Great Wall of Mars.  Apart from the Yr 10 Exam, everything else got done and now I am blogging about it!

The Twitter chat was energising and, of course, I had to read the short story first – that was yesterday evenings “task”.  All work and no play, makes Jack or Jill a dull boy or girl and it also allows you to look outside the box for a short while and put things in perspective.  These Twitter chats have grown out of the MOOC (repeat of which starts tomorrow – not too late to enroll and I would thoroughly recommend it!)  in which I participated earlier in the year.  A few of us decided to form a group on GoodReads, choose a book to read each month and then chat about it.  I have been very much a bystander, a participant rather than a mover and a shaker ( I haven’t plucked up courage to moderate a chat yet) but have thoroughly enjoyed the chats I have been able to participate in.  Nor have I always found the time to read the books, but this month we had a short story which was great and I was also at home on Sunday morning to join in.

I had forgotten how stimulating it is to just chat about a book, to think about the themes, to share your thoughts with others and to spark new ideas from others’ comments and opinions.  I have created a Storify from the Tweets.  You probably need to read the story to really understand the comments.  Maybe, you’d like to join in?  Next read is “I love you like water” by Angela Slatter.

Now, where was I …..?