21 for 2021: week 18

Week 18/2021: week of 4 May 2021

21 for 2021 update

This week in the Change Journal I tried out the Eisenhower Principle chapter, which I am familiar with but don’t think I’ve ever actually used. It’s a way of prioritising things according to their importance and their urgency. I’ve seen it used to organise things in a long term way as well as to prioritise things on a daily basis. (James Clear has a good explanation of it.)

One of the ideas it promotes is to try and focus most of your time working on things that are important but not urgent, so that you work on them before they get to the urgent stage and you start to panic. However, we also know that many things that crop up on a day to day basis might be urgent but they aren’t really that important in the long term. And there a lot of things we might do that aren’t urgent or particularly important, such as excessive social media scrolling, which we (by which I mean I) spend way too much time on when we’d be better using your time on things that are important. 

Chapter 6 lays out an Eisenhower matrix for each day of the week so you can have a go at prioritising your tasks each day according to their importance and urgency.

I had limited success with this as a daily planning exercise and I think it would work better for long-term planning. I see it more as a way of identifying the things I want to be prioritising and the things I would be better off limiting, and then developing my daily to-do list from that and giving it a way of identifying the top priority things (a la the Circle technique). Something like that anyway. Because, for example, I’m not going to put “check twitter” in the not urgent/not important box of a daily list, but it is something that in a long-term big picture view would go in there.

I’m sure that makes no sense. So I’m calling that chapter done. 

I did some work on my resume (thing 18) this week. Due to a recent reorganisation in my team this week, I started a new job this week, which is going to give me some new challenges and, I hope, more of an opportunity to use my strengths and skills. As a result of that, I’m not sure I need to apply for a new job this year, so I’m taking that part of thing 18 off. I’m only going to apply for a new job if something irresistible comes up. I’ve been putting off saying my resume is finished because there are a couple of statements in there that I’m being overly picky about wording and it‘s holding the whole thing up.

I think I just need to do it and be done with it. It’s not like anyone is going to see it right now. 

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable.

This week I cooked with fennel, which is anther vegetable I don’t think I’d cooked with before. The recipe was called Fennel Cacciatore with Free-form Polenta Dumplings (page 72), and it’s Alice’s twist on chicken cacciatore. It’s another simple dish, which involves browning the fennel pieces mixing in some olives and garlic, then cooking with tomatoes for about 45 minutes. Alice says you can add chicken if you like or, as I did, cut up some pork and fennel sausages, cook them and add to the sauce.  

The recipe also calls for what she calls free-form polenta dumplings on top, which I found a little bit dry, and I imagine you could also serve it with a creamy potato mash.

This was another for the “will make again” list.

Regular projects

There are several things on my 21 for 2021 list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. How about ten minutes reading one of the books on that list?
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent a couple of hours on one of these videos on Sunday afternoon.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I went to see my mum on Thursday and talked some more about her school days. 
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. This week, I completed Module 5. I was supposed to attend the live workout on Thursday morning but I managed to mix the time zones up and tune in an hour after the actual start time. That was 3 am, and there was no way I would have got up for that! I only managed to get up at 4 because I woke up then anyway. But I missed it, and went for a very early walk instead.
Ursula enjoying the wet weather this week

21 for 2021 week 18 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 2 (1, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 17, 18)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 7 (6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16)
  • Things not started: 5 (3, 12, 15, 19, 21)

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s the final flashback to my favourite posts from 2011. This one is from 17 December 2011: The unchristmas tree. Coming up to midwinter (okay, that’s a few weeks away . . .), it’s a good one to finish this series with.

I think that means I probably should have finished sorting out my websites to coincide with the 10-year blogiversary (thing 13) but I haven’t. It’s a small matter of getting some words right. (See above comment on my resume.)

What I’m reading this week

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman
  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 1 (er . . . )
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

What do I want to do better next week?

See that number one next to the number of days I did some physical activity in the afternoon . . . ? That.

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