Saturday, 29 September 2012

I had set aside today for writing, even though I knew that I could be doing something much better. Last night I was cursing my sensible nature and wished I'd driven off into the blue (well, not the blue because I know exactly where I would have been driving to...). Anyway. When there is work to be done, you can only procrastinate for so long.

I also aimed to have a lie in this morning but, at 8am I had a text from a good friend asking if I wanted to go for a coffee. Within an hour, we were in Truro having a cuppa and a granola bar (bad but not so bad...right?). Then it was off to the food festival and then a very expensive trip to Lush (my friend, being a guy, was a good sport for humouring me while I tried various gorgeous smelling products).

So that was the morning writing. Oops. Procrastination at it's best.

But now to the serious stuff. I have to write. My article will not, unfortunately, write itself. I have all the notes written up. All the thoughts and plan typed out. But it's that common problem again, I look at the blank screen and I feel the panic rising in my chest.

'I can do this', I tell myself as I try to write the first paragraph, but there is another voice that says I can't.

I hate the words 'I can't'. They should be banned from my vocabulary.

Writing is very much about self belief. A block is when you start to doubt yourself. Doubting yourself becomes habituated into your whole writing experience. It's crap.

Anyway, I am well aware that I am using this blog as a procrastination tool at this moment in time. So, off I go to write. Wish me luck...?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

I am still very much missing the weekend and wish that I could be catapulted right back to Friday so that I could experience everything again. However, the craziness of the week has ensured that time has raced on by and, before I have even blinked, it is nearly Friday again.

There was a brief moment, just the briefest, that I had a touch of the woe-is-me's yesterday. I was tired. I have started an evening course at college which is technical and a lot to absorb. Work has been...well, work. Plus I had a ghost visit me from the past (don't they know that things should remain in the past?!). Ten minutes, I sat there and thought: wtf! Then, I got myself up, had a cup of tea and decided to double the effort into the things that actually matter.

The first week of my self-challenge has gone by fairly successfully. Ok, so I only did one hour of kung fu tonight because I was not feeling quite up to it, but I will have run 14 miles by Sunday (16 if I have enough time to do 6miles tomorrow).

I think my biggest problem so far is saying no to things I want to do, like hanging out with my mates even though I have some strict deadlines this week. (I'll make it up to them next week!!), and no to spending hours searching for new songs on Youtube (I failed on Tuesday but I did get a lot of music on my walkman ;-) ).

Staying focused is not as easy as I thought. Procrastination and distractions are the wolves waiting at the door.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Where has the summer gone? The swallows: how did I miss them leaving? (Have they left? I don't recall seeing one for a couple of weeks now).

I look out of the window at work and see blackberries instead of pretty pink flowers, and blackbirds perched on branches that are losing their leaves. Autumn is here. It would have been nice to have seen a proper summer before the seasons started to change.

There are two times of the year when I start to get itchy feet: always in the Spring when I feel like I need to be doing something - anything - other than what I am doing. The other time is roughly now, when there are only about 100 days left of the year and I haven't actually done the things I had planned to. What, for example, happened to the trip to Sicily (especially after I so diligently bought the very latest Rough Guide book), or the book that I was hoping to have had under a publisher's wings by now, or...well, you get the idea.

The problem with procrastination is that you spend so much time planning and dreaming, and not enough time doing. I don't want to end another year underachieving, or have unfulfilled dreams. I want to be successful. To have achieved something I value.

Frustrated with the time I have so far wasted over the last year, I have decided to put a stop to it. I have written a list of the things I want to achieve and I have come up with a fools guide for myself to get them done. The first step is learning to say no.

Today is day one of my given time scale (there are actually, including today, 99 days until my birthday) and the word "no" has not come easily. I gave away the last of my giant bag of chocolate today (this, the day after I stuffed my gob with Kinder eggs, making myself feel sick...knowing that today was coming). So now I just have to say no thanks to sweets and chocolate for the next 3 months. I am also saying no to time wasting activities, like Facebook, at lunchtime. I figure that saying no is like a method to better channel your energy to positive things. That way, the things I say yes to will mean more.

Finally, I think that I need to make myself accountable for achieving my goals. This should help me fulfil them, but to whom am I accountable to? Myself? That's not very good, I'm too soft. I wouldn't be able to discipline myself (what would I do? Ground myself?!). So, do I splash the details around so when I fail succeed, I can tell people?

Hmm. This probably needs more thought. However, time moves on. Today is day one and I am not going to fall on the first hurdle because I'm too busy looking at the details of the running track.

p.s. I am rubbish at thinking of post titles. Any handy tips would be amazing. Thanks!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Two years ago, I started working for the charity I now work for. Two years feels like a lifetime of change. Anything that could have changed has changed. All the highs and lows have come and gone, and I feel like a whirlwind has lifted me up and transported me to another life.

When I first started working here, it was all about the charity. That's all I cared about. I did not have a glamorous job, nor a highly paid one, but it didn't matter. I was working for this charity who directly help people. I was a passionate supporter; a devoted worker.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot what I was working towards. I started focusing only on my job and forging a career path. I had forgotten what I was supporting, and how my work helped in the long run.

People often say how cool it must be to work where I do, even though their eyes glaze over with boredom when I mention that I'm an IT geek by profession. For them, though, it is the charity aspect that matters. I have become so used to this that I stopped paying attention. Yesterday, though, someone asked me if it was good for the soul knowing that what I do directly helps people. It made me really think.

How often do we consider how our work, or whatever it is that we do in life, affects others?

There is an old phrase: Do Good, Feel Good. It's simple: help others or do a good deed and it will make you feel positive. There is even research to show that doing nice things can improve health. My job is in IT but I help support an organisation that does fantastic work. But I'm not sure that's enough.

I once read about people who do a random act of kindness every day. They make it a challenge: How can I help someone today? It could be anything, like giving someone your part used parking ticket, or even something as simple as a smile to someone who looks sad (this, so I discovered today, can get you into an interesting situation...). I have tried to incorporate this into my life every now and then, but I think it's time to restart it.

It's not just what we do in life that matters, but why we do it and how we go about it.

Monday, 17 September 2012

It was a long weekend. The best weekend. I miss it. I miss her...

But now it is back to normal life. I am thankful, for once, that I have a lot on my plate (responsibilities at work this week are set to have me racing around fire-fighting on my own while I hold the fort; I start a new course at college tomorrow and I have my usual commitments). With so much to do, time will surely go faster. It has to, right?

I would like Friday to come around again quickly. Please.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

I wonder how long it takes to stop doing what you should and to start doing what you want.

I'm thinking this as I tackle another day in the corporate environment (OK, as corporate environments go, it is pretty relaxed).

Here's to dreaming of different things.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Procrastination and stuff

I can't tell you how much effort it took to take out my laptop this morning and actually start writing. For two hours I have been using some great diversion tactics, like looking at bikes. Well, actually just for this bike:
This bike is in my dreams. Always. It is also just out of my reach, financially.

I blame the guys at work for this diversion. They were asking me how my cycling was going and I discussed how off roading was going well but to start seriously considering the long cycle to work, I would need a road bike. They tried to convince me that forking out the £800 for this beauty on my credit card is a good thing because it is like an investment (bikes don't lose their value much). They don't know, of course, that I am still paying off my credit card debt that my ex left me and the car loan my ex wife left me (I know, I used to have "idiot" written across my forehead. I'm learning).

After much googling, I found the bike on sale for £599. Amazing. I then spent too long justifying the purchase. True, if I cycled to work every day it would save me a staggering £1400 a year. Cost against savings, it would be an investment. BUT it would mean a heavy commitment from me. 25 miles a day, every day, in rain, snow, wind. Would I be too tired for Kung Fu on Thursdays? Or my IT course on Tuesdays. Or...

I didn't buy the bike. But I WANT the bike. I want doesn't mean I should, right? Being an adult is not much fun when you try to be sensible.

So, this morning I rediscovered that I am still a contender for the world's worst procrastinator (or would that be best procrastinator?!) title: I even procrastinate with the things I am using to procrastinate. Sigh.

And all this when I was supposed to be writing.

Saturday, 8 September 2012


Time flies.
I've been too busy.
I've been stressed out.
I've got writer's block.
Um...I forgot...

These are just a few of the excuses I manage to find not to write a blog or, in fact, do any writing whatsoever. I even use them not to do adult stuff that is easily avoidable (except for dusting, my dust allergy has been getting worse lately, so I can't get out of that one! NB. How ironic: I hate dusting - I mean, I really really don't like doing it - but I am allergic to the stuff. I am allergic to dust mite poop. Nice).

When I got my Smart Phone, it gave me instantaneous access to blogger...and also instantaneous distractions. Oops.

It comes down to motivation.

I am motivated enough to go running, or walking, and most definitely for kung fu (which I'm doing two hours a week now) but writing... that involves sitting still for more than ten minutes.I can sit still for longer than ten minutes if I'm watching a film. I can sit still for longer than ten minutes if I am catching up with friends. But writing...!

A few weeks ago, I decided to give myself a friendly kick up the arse. (No easy feat, I can tell you). I managed to get myself a commission to write an article for a magazine. Great! Fantastic, even. But, now the interview has been done, here comes the hard bit: I have to write. In fact, I have to sit still long enough to write. This will be an interesting challenge.