Back in the Swing

I know, I know, it’s been a while. I haven’t written in over a month. It’s time to get back in the swing…..of achieving the (seemingly) impossible.

This is just a short post, but as always it has a purpose – an attempt to re-establish a habit of writing regularly. I tell of not only the challenge I’ve faced in keeping up my habit, but also what I’ve been up to over the last month. This piece of writing may only be a bit of ‘blah’, but I feel writing it is integral to ‘getting back in the swing’ of things. It’s a little self-indulgent but necessary. I’ve enjoyed blogging – sharing my thoughts, ideas and reflections, so it’s an activity I wish to continue with.

Physically and emotionally, I’ve been recovering from burnout. Yep, the first six months of the year were massive. My enthusiasm, motivation and sheer determination kept me going until I physically could do no more. Some might say it was irresponsible of me to expect so much and allow myself to get to a stage of burnout. I can respect and will accept that viewpoint. What I’ll say is that I was just testing my limits, the limits of my motivation, my time, my effectiveness. Whichever the case, the experience has helped me gain a perspective of what can be reasonably expected of someone and their time, particularly me, as an individual.

While I have incredible commitment to my profession, contributing to it and establishing my place within it, this year it’s been at the expense of my outside interests. Honestly, I’m not proud of this. There are a lot of things I’d love to do, like rock climbing, playing beach volleyball, and generally being the active, adventurous person I am.

Motivation. I’m at a low point here. I think my motivation has suffered the most. Exhaustion and prolonged tiredness hasn’t helped either. I’ll tell you though, low motivation is becoming so frustrating, one of these days I’m going to burst with renewed motivation and nothing will stop me!

This new semester in my course is an opportunity for a fresh start. A few weeks ago I decided to take back control. How I did this was identifying all my current projects and their deliverables over the course of the semester. I’ve mapped these out in a spreadsheet I keep on my desk. I’ve also ‘got real’ about the time I have available for my study and other commitments. A weekly schedule has been the answer. I created a Google calendar and now have it on my Mac, iPhone and Outlook calendar at work. I’ve made my partner aware of my schedule so he can respect the time I’ve set aside for my study. I’m a visual person, so I need to have both my calendar and project planner in view and feel the satisfaction from ticking off deliverables as they’re achieved. Another small tip, I keep a small notebook next to my schedule to record the time I don’t spend on projects. My four hours of “study time” on Saturdays will be taken up by projects which do not get the time I planned for them and those tasks which have priority.

There’s no escaping the fact I cannot do everything. I need to accept that fact. I cannot be everything to everyone, as much as I may like to be. The key will be to prioritise, so I can feel okay about those things I won’t get round to doing.

I think half the battle is getting organised. I highly recommend the book ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen. Once a system is set up, being organised becomes almost effortless. Organisation, planning, a little perspective, reasonable expectations and prioritising goes a long way to achieving the (seemingly) impossible. I may have learnt my lesson the hard way. 100% or nothing, is just the way I am. Won’t stop me from finding a way to be 100% effective though.


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