Week 39/2022: Minimising overwhelm

Week of 26 September 2022

Minimising overwhelm

Monday was my first day in the office for a very long time. There were a few reasons for me not having gone back before now, some of which involve other people, and it all started to get complicated. But there’s a policy that requires people to be in the office for a certain number of days each week, unless there are exceptional circumstances, which I appear currently not to be in. So back I must go.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of open plan offices. I don’t think they’re conducive to me doing my best work, especially when the work involves thinking, planning, researching and writing, and doesn’t necessarily require a lot of contact with other people. High noise levels and bright lights overstimulate me, I don’t like being around a lot of people, and I’ve found working in these spaces stressful. As a result, I was feeling apprehensive and anxious about being back there and wasn’t looking forward to it.

To make it slightly more bearable, I’ve got an arrangement with my manager to go in for two half days for a few weeks while I get used to being in the office again.

I’m also having to be very careful to keep up my routines of sitting well, and of getting up and moving about frequently, especially while my shoulder is healing, but even after that to make sure it doesn’t get re-injured.

It’s a lot harder in the office to make myself go outside for mental health breaks than it is at home. It’s easy at home. I just have to walk out the door. But in the office, I’ve always resisted doing this because I have to get up and go down several flights of stairs to get out. It’s an extra friction point I don’t have at home that I need to overcome to make sure I keep doing it.

I’ll build that into my habit tracking for next week and in the mean time, try to be as gentle as I can be on myself.

Baby steps, friends, baby steps.

22 for 2022 update

I did exactly what I did with 21 for 2021 this year, which was to pick too many things that were significant projects, some of which had no end point, rather than discrete things I could check off a list.

As a result, things were getting stuck and I decided to ‘park’ six of my things while I worked on some other stuff, namely healing my shoulder and focusing on my writing.

September is over now and it’s time to have another look at those six things. The first thing is to decide whether I need to do them this year and, if I do, whether I can turn them into something I can start, do and finish before the end of the year without over-committing myself.

So, here we go.

Thing 2: See a nutritionist. I know who I want to see. I think it would support the other things I’m working on to improve my health if I did this. I just don’t know if I have time in among all the other appointments I’m juggling with work.

  • Action: Contact the nutritionist and find out how their programs work.

Thing 3: Learn about food waste and make a menu plan that minimises food waste. This is too big and vague.

  • Action: Make a time before I do Friday’s meal planning and shopping list to have a look at the book Use It All and change one thing that I do.

Thing 4: Talk to my GP about a health issue I’m concerned about. I have so many health issues at the moment I don’t think I can handle talking about another one. This can wait for now.

Thing 6: Grow something in the veggie bed I cleared out in 2021. By now, I need to clean it out again.

  • Action: Clean it out, identify one vegetable that I use a lot of and will grow at this time of year and plant that.
  • Timeframe: End of October.

Thing 15: Create a system for managing new information at work. Work has changed and is likely to change and I don’t think I need what I thought I needed at the start of the year. I’m deleting this one.

Thing 16: Complete the 30-day voice course. I’m not sure about this one. I’m going to leave it for now.

22 for 2022 summary

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

What do I want to do next week?

  • Continue the writing bootcamp.
  • Contact the nutritionist
  • Flick through Use It All and find something I can use in my meal planning.
  • See how much work there is to clear out my veggie bed, and find out what I can plant at this time of the year.
A dead agapanthus flower in front of some ivy
I didn’t get our much this week but I made some more dead agapanthus photos on Saturday afternoon

Weekly summary

What was the best thing about this week?

The peregrine falcon eggs on the ledge in Melbourne hatched on Friday morning. The babies are so cute!

What did I learn this week?

When you take a pan out of the oven, it’s not like a pan on the cooktop. The handle will be really fucking hot.

What I’m reading this week

  • The Little Red Writing Book by Mark Tredinnick
  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Habit tracker

  • Went for a walk or ride (Goal = 7): 7
  • Writing Bootcamp (Goal = 7): 7
  • The Little Red Writing Book exercises (Goal = 5): 4
  • Listened to writing podcasts (Goal = 2): 2
  • Controlled breathing (Goal = 7): 7
  • All four physiotherapy exercises (Goal = 7): 7
  • Finish work by 5.30 (Goal = 5): 4
  • Daily gratitude (Goal = 7): 7
  • Shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 6 plus 1 almost
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