Thursday, 29 December 2011

Reviews and Plans

I finally found time this morning to go through my goals for 2011 and think about what had been achieved (and why) and what hadn’t been achieved (and why). I can’t think properly without writing, so I ended up filling up pages of my ‘thoughts’ notebook (which is where random ideas that are unrelated to writing go – things I need to rant about, contemplations, musings… that sort of thing).
I only really got down to any serious goal-planning in July. Before that, my life was much more haphazard! Some of my goals I reached (some I surpassed) and some I failed utterly miserably at. But, the key for me, was not only to list what had worked and what hadn’t, but to think why.
I won’t bore you with the minutiae, but what became blindingly clear to me as I did my review was that I had done the things I believed in.

“A goal is a dream with legs”

Yes. And the key word in that sentence is dream. I generally had not attained goals that were not part of my dream.

There are many things I could do in my life.
There are far fewer things that I dream of doing.
There are even fewer things that I yearn to do.

One thing that is not limitless though is time. I don’t have the time to do all the things I could do. I may be lucky enough in this life to do all the things I dream of doing. But the chances are, I won’t even get the time to do all the things I yearn to do.

As a consequence I have one resolution (and it’s not even New Year):

If you aren’t yearning to do it, and it isn’t essential for any other reason, don’t do it.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I saw this diagram and thought… um. No. That’s not where I am. But, I now have great hopes that I will be.

I’ve posted before about not being where I want to be in life and in the last post I talked about retraining as a life coach. Well, I have spent the time since then refining my ideas and also working through ‘Be your own coach’ kind of books and I am feeling much more positive about making the change. Terrified, yes. I mean, real, gut-wrenching, what-on-earth-am-I-doing kind of scared. But nonetheless more positive.

“A goal is a dream with legs”

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Spitting the dummy

Well, here I am. About a month ago, I posted that: 

"What’s keeping me here, I realise, are fear and laziness. The fear of branching out into something new (and not doing well at it) which allows my laziness about doing something about my life to survive unhindered.”

And in the last post, I wrote:

“I need a new job. I had not realised how much it was draining out all the bits that make me me. I seem to be left with an organised automaton who sure as heck isn’t paid to think!”

Well, I have taken charge and decided that I will no longer be paralysed by fear and held back by laziness and that I refuse to allow work to suck the life out of me.

So, what caused this momentous kick up the jacksy? I mean… been there… changed nothing, many, many times.

No surprises here… it was my boss, acting like a complete a*se.

I came back from my vacation to a really horrible email from him; I spent two days (out of the three I am in work) in and out of tears and eventually decided, “Hey. This just isn’t working for me any more. Life can be better than this.”

So, what am I going to do??

Well… I looked hard at what I do like about my job (yes – there were some things…!) and drew up a list. What I enjoy and what makes me feel fulfilled, is the one-on-one or small group teaching that I do and the counselling/coaching that I do. If I could do that, but be my own manager – well, that would be where I would want to be.

So, I am investigating becoming a life coach. The aim is to retrain over the next year (hopefully) and then use the days I’m not in work to build up a client base and then hand in my notice.
That’s the plan. The way things have gone at work recently, I may well spit the dummy sooner rather than later and move everything on by six months to a year!

But, the decision to make the change has made me a) sleep at nights; b) made me feel more in control and c) given me a whole new series of goals to pursue.

If you’re stuck in a rut and see no way out – do something. If you make no change, you will still be here in a year, two years, forever.

I’ll keep posting to say how it’s going!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Time and task management for Me

Over the last few days I have been thinking about why I am (usually) the epitome of productivity at work and (usually) not so hot at home and why sometimes I feel like my life is drifting away from me. It struck me that, at work, I generally have few projects or goals that are mine – despite my experience and qualifications, the dictator my boss doesn’t really let me (or anyone else for that matter) get on with things. He doesn’t take advice (however talented or experienced the author of it) and it’s his way or not at all. Consequently, most of the time, I am just chunking my way through a task-list without a huge deal of creativity or control.

I hasten to say, it wasn’t always like this. Previous bosses have recognised and cherished the wealth of experience of their workforce and allowed them to run projects themselves, and have taken onboard suggestions and embraced new ideas. In those halcyon days my home productivity was also a lot better.
What I have realised, is that the stifling of any independent thought or creativity at work has had huge, damaging effects on my productivity and creativity at home. I am looking for a task-list to chunk my way through and of course, unless I create one, there is just a yawning void there.

I went part-time a couple of years ago because the way work was going was suffocating me but I didn’t (and still don’t) know what else to do. The idea was to have space and time to be ‘me’ but then, two years on, I realised that I didn’t know what that person looked like any more.

So, I sat down and thought about what I wanted to achieve in my life.

It has been such a long time since I did this, that I ended up staring at the paper for aeons, trying to work out what to write. All I was wanting to do was to put down some 6-month goals to try and kick-start my productivity and give myself a bit of direction. Only then did I realise that work has been sucking the life out of me to such an extent that I didn’t know how to even start on such a goal-list. What did I want to do with my time? With my life? With my talents? What dreams did I have?

I almost resorted to the sand-timers (another post on these to come!) but eventually, things started flowing and I came up with a mind-map plan of some key areas that I could then start to break down into monthly goals, weekly goals and daily tasks. I know I’m good at working through a daily task-list; I used to be good at long-term goals and planning.

Hell, I need a new job. I had not realised how much it was draining out all the bits that make me me. I seem to be left with an organised automaton who sure as heck isn’t paid to think!

Eventually, yesterday became a very positive day and I spent a happy afternoon creating my goal-list and then setting up my cheery pink baroque filofax with my lists. Because I am quite a visual person, I have also colour-coded it all, so that I can see at a glance how much time I am spending on each key area in a day/week.
I don’t (as yet) have a ‘Someday/Maybe’ list – all my key areas are real and need managing. I found it hard enough to get those down on paper; I think freeing my mind enough to think blue-skies kind of thoughts will take a bit of time.

It’s been eye-opening in some ways. I knew I wasn’t happy at work… I hadn’t realised quite how undermining and detrimental the repressive atmosphere at work had become.