When a quiet week is a busy one; coping via organisation, routine, and breaks

Mon 7 – Sun 13 February 2022

Last week was a quiet one compared to some of the other I have recently blogged about. Though ‘quiet week’ certainly did not mean empty where nothing happening and I was at a loose end. That in itself could be an experience to savour and I can’t remember when it last happened.

So quiet doesn’t mean that it wasn’t busy; indeed, there was plenty of stuff happening as per usual. Yet being both quiet and busy sounds like a confusing contradiction. I think when I refer to quiet, this refers to a state of mind and perception.

Indeed, I would say last week was busy but felt quiet compared to others because I was more at ease with myself. Like I was on top of things instead of them being on top of me. This came about through practical action: dealing with stuff in an organised manner, having routine, and having time when I could switch off from work.

Health and Efficiency

Gym and weight

Unlike the week before (read the blog here), last week’s quiet week saw me having my two non-work days back and getting to my beloved gym on both days. Getting to the gym mid-morning, mid-week means I am normally on my own and I just love being in the gym in such a situation. Also time afterwards for sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi. What is there there not to love? So 8 sessions since I got my new annual membership = down to about £62 per session.

Dumbells in the gym

Despite being a ‘quiet week’, I didn’t do much to try to get my weight down. However, my weigh-in on Saturday suggested it was a week in which I managed to lose a pound – whoop, whoop! See the details here. Perhaps the fact that I wasn’t feeling so burdened and felt in control of things (at least a bit) meant that I wasn’t stress eating – worth consideration.

Mental health

A theme of many of my blogs is the times when I’ve been feeling down. I think my quiet week, that was actually quite busy, had a feature that my mental health was definitely better – cause or effect? As I said, the key factors that meant I had good head space were that I felt in control, things were organised, and had space away from stress. Shows how we think affects massively how we feel. Perhaps a person in the right frame of mind can indeed be happy anywhere.

Tech for Good

My quiet week was busy very much because of things I had to do at work. My co-colleague is on sabbatical now so I am flying solo. A week of keeping plates spinning – swapping my attention to the ones that needed it to avoid them falling. And done WFH as I can’t see the point in going into the office just to do zoom.

Lots of time spent liaising to get stuff sorted for doing an important external workshop next month. Also working with colleagues pushing on with our big social change delivery project. And sorting out a new initiative that will enable us to support more small charities pro-bono. Lots of liaison and writing but all done in a very organised way and I knew when to switch off.

Good call on Gran Can

Me and Dave should have been going on our Gran Can holiday next week. The fact that we cancelled it to focus on stuff at work was clearly for the best. My quiet week would almost certainly not have been quiet if we were both worrying about how to get everything done before we went away. Never mind the worrying we would have been doing whilst on holiday with actual zoom calls during our time away.

The fun thing is that we are now planning the visit for next year when life should be easier.

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

C.S. Lewis

Books and Reading

‘The Kingdoms’ by Natasha Pulley

Completed this much recommended time travel novel. It appealed to me particularly as it was set in an England after the French had won the wars of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. A period I have studied and enjoyed. Wonderful over-laying layers of several time travel adventures and the resulting changes in history.

Not always the easiest novel to follow but wonderfully imaginative and well written. I found it enthralling, wanting to keep on reading to find out what the story was behind the main character. And an unexpected gay element.

I am inspired to find out and read the author’s other books. Surely that is the best sign that can come from any book you have enjoyed.

‘Dr Who Short Trips: Seven Deadly Sins’

Reading Dr Who books are like a form of sedative for me (I was prescribed Valium once – it’s great but completely addictive). These books take away my anxiety, calm me down, make life feel manageable.

Edited by David Bailey (no idea who he is), this collection of 7 short stories by different writers covers each of the sins. Some of the writers are very well known in the ‘Dr Who universe’. And the stories themselves are well written and chunky. A welcome move-on from the previous Christmas Short Trips anthology I read whose writings were mainly short and whimsical.

Cyberman

Family and Friends

Spent time with mum during the week though had to work much of the time I was with her. I know it was a quiet week as I at least managed to find time to get away from the computer, out of the flat, and get some lunch. Was supposed to be with mum at the weekend but my brother wanted to stay over and take her shopping so stayed over with Dave.

Friends

I gave a heads-up in my previous blog that the coming week would be one featuring friends. Meeting with some old friends and also reaching out to others for future meets. Again a difficult question to answer – was I able to meet friends because it was a quiet week or did meeting friends ensure it was a quiet week? Perhaps it’s a virtuous circular situation. Quiet week means I can meet friends and meeting friends keeps it a quiet one.

Colleagues and friends

Jamie

Contacted unexpectedly by my friend who is a part-time playwright. He is back at the office in London so we could meet after I finished the gym on Tuesday and before I went to see mum. It was just like old times though I think we did manage to meet in 2021 at some point – who can place everything that happened int the last 2 years?

Great to talk about his move out of London, the way we are both working hybrid (part in the office, part at home), and plans for the future including holidays.

Cedric and Alan

Complete fun to meet up with these old friends of mine and Dave’s on Thursday after the gym. Went out for a very nice lunch and chatted about life. They are both retired and we had some reminiscences particularly on gay life in London. But also talking about current affairs, spiritual matters, and future plans. We went back to Dave’s after lunch for tea and Cedric brought some doughnuts which were absolutely lovely – fresh and full of jam.

Personal Development

I suppose, in theory, a quiet week should mean I got more personal development done. But perhaps this proves in my mind it was a quiet week but actually it was very busy around me. I say this as on a couple of days I didn’t manage to get my Duolingo lesson done. But no punishment for myself, I still managed to make some progress in Spanish.

Another sign of busyness was that I have had no time to do any of the No Code exercises that get sent to me each day. Didn’t even have time to update my table on Airtable. Oh well, I have picked up greater awareness of the value and potential of No Code. Plus, hopefully, some time in the near future I will go back and explore it in much more detail.

“Beware of monotony, it’s the mother of all the deadly sins.” 

Edith Wharton

Sustainability

Still enjoying just watching the small birds on Dave’s balcony. The way they potter about but with a constant awareness of possible predators around them. The pigeons are often hanging about and it is hilarious watching Dave banging on the window to get rid of them. He’s particularly pissed off when they sit on his plants and crush them.

Saturday I slept without setting the alarm and ended up having a beautiful, restful night of about 9 hours sleep. That was followed by me and Dave doing a check of our favourite charity shops. Dropped off some stuff and it was Dave who went a bit crazy buying a basket, a lampshade, and a wicker shelf unit. I did buy a couple of books which goes against my wider plan of offloading. Though at least it was only two.

The Week Ahead

  • Hopefully another quiet week. It will be busy but I will attempt to stay in control to ensure it meets the definition of quiet. That will be helped by the usual routine of 3 working days, 2 days off, and getting to the gym/sauna twice.
  • And more catch-ups with friends. Lunch in Soho with Phyllis on Tuesday after the gym. Then on Thurs a zoom meeting with my old colleague Sona now based in France.
  • Carry on reading ‘Memorial’ by Bryan Washington. Plus started the next unread book in the series by Patrick O’Brian charting the nineteenth century naval adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin . Old school but fun and reassuring in the same way that Dr Who books are to me.
  • Carry on with my work projects. I really hope we can get our new project up and running giving small charities the benefit of support from some of our graduate / associate consultants.
  • Valentine’s Day on Monday. I’ve already had a card form the donkey Dave adopted for me as my Christmas present…

And Finally…

If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit

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