Week 06/2022: Back to work

Week of 7 February 2022

Four large flax strands in front of a morning river scene with blue sky and whispy clouds
A beautiful morning

Back to work

This week it was time to say goodbye to my casual days at home. School went back on Wednesday, I went back to work and it was the first week of my TAFE course (thing 8).

My actions for this week were to

  • Build the jaw stretches into my daily routine
  • Follow up on a potential writers group
  • Work out how to track my work tasks (Todoist or some other way) (thing 13)
  • Make a list of the Mindspot activities I can turn in to habits or regular tasks and find somewhere to slot them into my week (thing 1)

I also wanted to make time to do my weekly reviews at work and at home, and to start to do the daily planning at work that I wrote about last week.

I made a bit of progress on all of these things but haven’t fully completed any of them.

I did my second weekly review at home using the scaled back plan from my “deep work” handbook (thing 12). It was easier than the first time I did it but still feels clunky and awkward. I think it’s something I’ll refine as I go.

One of the ideas that came up in a video I watched for the TAFE course was that learning new things is difficult at the start because you have to forge new links between the neurons in your brain. The video said making these connections across the synapses is like making your way across a deep ravine. When you first do it, there’s no bridge and it’s really hard to get across and takes a long time, but the more you do it and the more solid a bridge you build, the easier it gets until you have a solid bridge that you can just walk across. (The video explains it way more interestingly than I just did.)

I imagine developing a new routine is exactly the same, and I need to keep doing it, refining it as I go, and eventually it will start to feel more natural and won’t take as long.

Part of my weekly review routine is to identify what went well during the week, what didn’t go so well and what I learned, and to feed these into my weekly blog update. I have a template in Evernote with those headings in it so I have somewhere to put this. Fancy!

The table I posted last week, where I identify the main focus areas for the month, break the month up into weeks and allocate tasks under each focus area each week, is helpful because I can see at a glance what I’ve set out for myself to do so, even if I don’t have a day schedule, I can see what I’ve done this week and what’s left to do.

When I get some time where I’m not doing anything, I can pick one of those things that will take about that amount of time and do it, instead of looking around wondering what to do, and ending up scrolling social media and feeling bad for not having done something that I actually want to do. It seems to be working well.

So, back to the weekly review.

What did I learn this week?

One topic we touched on in the TAFE material was the Growth Mindset, which I wrote about some years ago.

As I wrote in that post, I know that I’m very much at the “fixed” end of the mindset spectrum, and I have a number of theories as to why that is. I might tell you about it again one day. . . .

But I was poking around in the assessment section of the course, which I don’t have to do until May, and found out what I actually have to do to pass the course. My first reaction was, “I can’t do that!” and it came directly from my inner critic, whom I call Fran. (If you’ve read Clare Bowditch’s book Your Own Kind of Girl, you’ll know what the rest of Fran’s name is.) She immediately put up the shutters and said, “Nope nope nope, you cannot do this. That is scary and is way beyond you. You’ll never pass this course”.

I was extremely happy with the way I responded to Fran. I said, “You’re right, I can’t do this right now. It’s not something I’ve ever even thought of doing and it sounds really scary. But if I knew how to do it, I wouldn’t be doing this course. The course is going to teach me how to do it. That is, in fact, the point of training. You don’t sign up for a course for something you already know how to do, you go out and do it. I’m going to learn how to do it and in six months time, I will be able to do it. So, off you go, Fran, go and find someone else to discourage. I’m going to sit down and do some work.”

I’m glad I had this conversation with Fran because if I hadn’t, I think I’d be spending the entire semester worrying about the assessment. Just that simple realisation that I’m going to learn how to do this and that learning how to do something I can’t do now is the entire point of doing training has shifted me from fearing it to being excited.

22 for 2022 update

As well as working through the learning for week 1 of the TAFE course, I had a look at the final module of the Mindspot program (thing 1). I have a few activities to follow up from that, and my main job is to work out which ones are things I need to make into regular habits and which ones are things I need to know about and be able to call on when I need them.

I did a bit of work on sorting out the tasks in my Todoist (thing 13) and I haven’t decided whether to keep using it or use a different system. It’s good for keeping track of longer term things but I’m not finding it super useful for day to day tasks, and I’m thinking about using the Tasks function in Evernote for that. I’m currently trialing it to see if it will do what I want it to do and whether I’m prepared to pay for an upgrade to use it.

I worked on a session from the Cosmic Calibration course (thing 22). Some of the conversations about curiosity and linked in my mind with some of the exploratory TAFE work about learning styles, which I found interesting (and also wrote a long rant post about the deficiencies of the industralised, standardised schooling system – go google Sir Ken Robinson. He was fabulous!). I love being able to make connections across different areas of my life like I did here.

I’ve been reading every day (thing 21) and I completed the Content Writing course (thing 18). I have the certificate to prove it!

22 for 2022 summary

  • Things completed this week: 1 (18)
  • Things I worked on this week: 7: (1, 8, 12, 13, 18, 21, 22)
  • Things completed to date: 3 (10, 11, 18)
  • Things in progress: 6 (1, 8, 12, 13, 21, 22)
  • Things not started: 13 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20)

What do I want to do next week?

  1. Sort out Todoist (transfer tasks into Evernote and keep trialling this system)
  2. Mindspot (review week 5, work out what I need to do next, what I need to find a way to do regularly, and what needs to just be in my toolbox in case I need it)
  3. TAFE work (week 2)
  4. Daily plan and review (do these every day at work)
  5. Cosmic Calibration (finish module 2)
A morning glory vine and flower winding around an agapanthus stalk
Part of my agapanthus photo project: agapanthus vs morning glory

Weekly summary

What was the best thing about this week?

Having two more days off work and spending time with Kramstable before he went back to school.

Also speaking to a couple of people for work (I KNOW!), which made me realise that (a) it’s sometimes a lot easier to sort things out by talking to people than going back and forward on email and (b) it is perfectly okay if someone calls you at a moment where your head is in another space to tell them you can’t talk now and arrange a more suitable time to talk.

What I’m reading this week

  • Clapperland by Terry Aulich
  • What Really Happened in Wuhan by Sharri Markson
  • Listen: How to find the words for tender conversations by Kathryn Mannix

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 3): 1
  • Days I did controlled breathing (Goal = 7):7
  • Days I did jaw stretches (Goal = 0): 6
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 3): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 3
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 7
  • Weekly review at work: Yes (the goal is to do it, not to do it perfectly)
  • Weekly review at home: Yes (see above)
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