How can I get a good work-life balance?

Mon 6 – Sat 11 April

So back to normal after my fun Easter weekend in Berlin (see previous blog) which meant a week largely dominated by work and tiredness. I work part-time to help deal with some of my health issues (time to rest, exercise, and attend hospital / doctor appointments) plus to give me time to look after and be with people I care about. But I want to do a good job, have a strong sense of duty, and I enjoy some of my work so that it just seems to ooze into my non-work space and overawe other aspects of my life. Basically my work-life balance is not very much in balance. Particularly last week I did not do enough to develop my digital and language skills, both were crowded out by work stuff though I suppose a lot of my current work stuff  is to do with digital.

Busy, busy, busy work
building-572490__180My work days were all day Tuesday and Wednesday followed by half days on Thursday and Friday. Tuesday was an interesting but tiring one with a round trip to Stoke and Birmingham. Through thick fog in the early morning to a meeting about Stoke Wavemaker – part of a wider agenda to get young people involved in digital making; useful general update and report from Nesta here Onto Birmingham (sunny and packed due to the Easter holidays) to visit Recovery Central, the new centre being run by Changes UK to help people recovering from addiction through abstinence-based recovery.

paperclip-168336_1280Wednesday in the office all day as well as Thursday and Friday afternoons. Finishing touches to the new Tech for Good grants fund, briefing key internal colleagues on it, and starting to market it externally. Wednesday afternoon I met up with a good new person doing tech advice to not for profit organisations who had previously worked in a digital creative business. Thursday morning I did a quick meet up with a colleague at Heritage Lottery Fund who are funding some really interesting projects, not just about buildings but also helping communities to record their heritage through things like oral and visual history projects. Friday I had a good meeting with an impressive youth agency looking for advice on how to develop their digital services to the young people. And unfortunately I ended up doing some work on Saturday to keep up to date with other work deadlines.

My midweek sickness comedown
figure-552115__180Indeed, mid-week I came down with a bug that really hit me for six. I think the travel around the West Midlands and generally being worn down caused me to be ill. Tuesday night I felt nauseous and had a bad stomach. I still went into work on Wednesday and Thursday because I felt I had so much to do and to ‘distract’ myself from feeling poorly – ‘the show must go on’. I ate next to nothing on Wednesday during the day and went to bed at 7.45pm sleeping solidly through till 7am the next morning – eleven hours sleep! Still wobbly but felt more or less ok by Friday.

A full-on social week inspite of everything
In terms of social contact this week, I spent the rest of Bank Holiday Monday,  after getting back from Germany, with Dave particularly watching the soaps in the evening. Then alternated nights with mum and Dave during the week but exhaustion and illness meant both saw little of me when I was with them. Wednesday after work I grabbed a coffee with Antonia; we worked together about 20 years ago managing hostels and have only bumped into each other once since then. I didn’t want to cancel and it was lovely to see her, she is such a calm and thoughtful person. And so good to hear she is still happily with her partner after 25 years and now has a daughter. Thursday after a relatively gentle gym session, I had lunch (though I skipped the food part) with Jamie who is also a part-time playwright. Then on Saturday, me and Dave met up with Chris and Sophia for a catch-up drink and to discuss their wedding which me and Dave will be attending later this year.

Health and fitness
bodybuilding-146224__180Back to gym at last on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I really do like going to the gym on consecutive days – it makes me feel like I am properly exercising. Oh to be able to go every day. I took Thursday especially gently but on all three days I did all over work-outs changing the actual exercises each day so that I did a completely different range of exercises over three days. Mario, the gym manager, is leaving so who will replace him? I am always worried by change at my gym as it feels like one of the centres of stability in my life. Need to remember the Buddhist thought that nothing lasts forever and change is inevitable.

Books
carnival-326494__180Last week I concentrated on just one book, ‘Wicked. The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ by Gregory Maguire. Rest assured this is more than just the book of the musical. I did see the musical several years ago and bits are similar but I can’t remember it being like this book which is dark. The book is a prequel to the cutesy film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and, in itself, a wonderful piece of dark fantasy. A novel about racism, fascism, sexual misbehaviour and death. It very much tells us that the film is a perfect example of the victors writing history. The Wizard here is an evil dictator whilst Witch draws on our sympathy and herself is very much a tortured soul.

Finally, on Thursday evening I was supposed to attend the Velvet Book Club and I was really looking forward to this as I have not been able to go in ages. However, I was knackered and not attending this was one of the sacrifices I made for being ill and tired; interesting the sacrifice was something personal rather than something for work. A real shame I did not go because I had read the book for it, ‘Mr Norris Changes Train’ by Christopher Isherwood, and I don’t think I can make May’s meeting. sad-476039__180

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