Sun 12 – Sat 18 April
Another rollercoaster of a week. Loads of pressure at work but I dealt with it and learnt about my own abilities. You are probably asking ‘why the strange blog title?’ Well next week I am off to Sitges for a few days. I booked this little holiday months ago and, looking forward, I thought it would be a quiet time at work. Well got that one wrong and ideally I would be around in the office at the moment. But what is done is done and I am going to take my break. The drawstring in my old speedos went so I had to buy some new ones so I am able to lay on the beach and become a bronze god (or perhaps a brown goddess).
Channelling my frustration constructively
Unsurprisingly most of my busy work week has been centred again on launching the Tech for Good grants programme – amazing how doing new and creative things can be hard work. And, a lot of the personal learning has also been connected to this. Monday was a non-work day but I checked and found out the new grant programme was not up as planned. This led to me working on my afternoon off to get things moving again. I was really frustrated but I controlled this though making it clear to people I was really annoyed about the delays. There is nothing wrong with getting angry some time if you can channel that constructively – it’s certainly not professional to explode but it is also not good just to swallow that anger.
What I am learning from my difficulties
Delighted to say that the programme launched the next day, Tuesday Tech for Good (please publicise). I do have a general feeling of being overwhelmed with the whole thing in terms of the tight schedule from now onwards for everything to work. But I am learning important lessons. First, it is vital to keep talking to key people – face to face/personal contact can make problems so much easier to resolve and you can get your enthusiasm and belief over to them. Second, though being annoyed can be channeled usefully, you do have to forget it at some point and just move on. Finally, I realise that I need to constantly tell myself I can cope with everything and then deal with everything that needs to be done in a very organised way and with a thorough methodology as I am good at. I did actually have recurrence of insomnia I occasionally suffer. My mind was whirring thinking about the new programme and I talked myself through as I laid awake in bed with the belief that I can deal with everything and anything. There is an interesting theory that the basis of depression is the feeling of not being in control.
Big thinking time
Work-wise, I do have some bigger thinking going on particularly whether the time is coming soon to move on from my current job? I have some great achievements tucked into my belt and I love some of the projects I am managing. But there are some other key things I want to do in my life. I worry about getting to a point where I am looking back, wondering where the time went and regretting what I had not done. As Oscar Wilde said ‘No-one ever has laid on their deathbed and said ‘I wish I had spent more time at work.’ In my ideal world I would go to the gym everyday, be really proficient in digital, and speak several languages fluently.
I am also wondering if part-time jobs are actually doable and if I should just work full-time. I am so rarely able just to stick to paid hours but perhaps that is just the modern way of working. Next week’s mini-break in the sun will be a good time for me to take some time out to have think about where I am heading.
Make hay whilst the sun shines
Another big reason why I am thinking like this, apart from just the pressure of work, is linked to my old friend James D. His cancer is back again and he is returning to treatment. I found out about this on Monday and that gave me a downer. It’s made me realise the need to appreciate life as much as possible because the time can pass so quickly. And on Tuesday night I met with an old friend David for dinner. Our conversation (in the unusually frenetic local Indian restaurant) centred on our mutual friend Peter whose health has rapidly deteriorated and he is now in a dementia home, probably for the rest of his life.
Lessons from the rest of last week
A week of generally nice weather especially on Tuesday and Wednesday though unfortunately these were work days and I was spending the week at mum’s (because I will be away and won’t see her for a while) but with my shorts at Dave’s so I had to wear long trousers.
Apart from the good weather, there were some really lovely bits of last week. The previous Sunday I went with Dave to the car boot sale at Pimlico which was wonderfully busy although ultimately I only bought some t-shirts (£1 each) and books (10p each).
And then on Monday, my non-work day, I had thought of lots of things I could do such as going to the cinema but I simply decided to treat myself to an easy day after several busy weeks at work. I did pop into Gays the Word to buy some secondhand books then went to spend the rest of the day with mum though that actually meant being on the computer sorting out the launch of T4G.
Tuesday I had to go on a visit to Winchester (somewhere I have never been before and quite la-di-da) for a new project assessment on Fixers – an interesting way to capture the views of young people and then try to change things. And on Wednesday I was in office after cancelling some meetings and spending time pushing out publicity about the new grants programme. I have a concern we will get too few applications to make all my hard work worthwhile though there would be learning to be taken from that.
James and Dan – inspirational tech people
A couple of meetings last week with two very cool and inspirational people. Tuesday afternoon I had a catch up meeting with James B who is a digital expert and makes a living out of it. He is full of great ideas and energy though there is sometimes a culture clash with him thinking as an independent operator and me being linked into the systems of a large organisation. And then on Thursday morning I had a catch up with Dan from Nominet Trust who has a really good outlook on the importance of social tech and its advancement; me and Dan are working together on Stoke Wavemaker – a new digital exploration centre for young people.
Exercise and health
Sunday I did my jog-run with decent results, it is improving each time and I am now keeping a separate page of the results on this site. My PT Sara last Monday and that completed five consecutive days of exercise – nice one. I managed the gym on Thursday and Saturday. However I was hit by a cold from Tuesday onwards with lots of catarrh (I was getting through a handkerchief per day). Sweaty, sniffy nights meant I was waking up dehydrated and headachey. I had planned to get to the gym Thurs, Fri and Sat but skipped Fri because I felt too rough. Fri was spent relatively peacefully, pottering in morning then working from home in the afternoon. Weighed myself on Tuesday morning and I was 13-6 – good and bad. Then on Saturday to emphasise I am getting old, I had an eye test – new glasses needed.
My main book last week was an old one by the prodigious and eclectic novelist Susan Hill. ‘Strange Meeting’ was written in 1973 and is about two officers in the trenches during the Great War – their friendship (were they lovers?) and the sheer waste of life. Looks like a novella but is actually surprisingly dense. I then had a complete shift and moved over to a (children’s?) book of entertaining Doctor Who stories ‘Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories’. And last week if was fun to find Colm Toibin’s latest book ‘Nora Webster’ in a charity shop for a £1 plus I sent some books off to Amazon to get credit to buy more – sustainability in action.