I’m a list writer. Each morning when I get to work I write down my three tasks for the day, allocate them a certain amount of time then get cracking. Most weeks this is a really efficient and productive way to work - the only thing it doesn’t deal well with is unexpected tasks.
This week was jam packed with unexpected tasks.
Doctors appointments, urgent jobs from the accountant, writing proposals, council meetings, factory visitors and haircuts all forced their way to the top of my organised agenda pushing lots of the actual work I needed to do right off the list entirely!
I appreciate that some weeks will attract more unexpected tasks than others but too many weeks in a row like this will cause my stress levels to bubble over. Last week I only did 2.6 billable hours due to the school holidays and I had high hopes for this week being super productive but alas it was not to be, or at least not how I’d planned it.
I spoke to a friend yesterday about life’s unpredictability and we both agreed that ‘rolling with the punches’ is a massive understatement. The stress of running businesses, families and even looking after our own physical health can be incredibly overwhelming - even during a relatively calm week. With so many moving parts there is always something that requires extra attention.
I could quite comfortably put this predicament down to a boundary breach - saying ‘yes’ to things I should have said ’no’ too but sometimes life doesn’t give you a choice. When it comes to one's health, you have to take immediate action. When it comes to the kids, you have to take immediate action. In some ways, work is the easiest area to take up the slack because unless you're a brain surgeon, most things can wait a day or two.
The problem with this model of existence is that the work tasks keep growing, your health requires constant maintenance and kids, well kids will forever be at the top of a parents priorities list - just ask my Mum. This is just what life is like.
It's also amazing! If I ever needed a perspective check then the images from the James Webb Space Telescope have done it. In all the chaos of the week Matt asked if I had seen the latest images - of course I hadn’t so I had a quick look and was completely blown away! Like the rest of the internet really but I feel like my first viewing was more poignant than most after the week I’d just had.
The Carina Nebula is a star nursery! Isn’t that incredible! Located roughly 7,660 light years away these ‘Cosmic Cliffs’ are in fact the edge of a ginormous, gaseous cavity filled with baby stars. The radiation from young stars and stellar winds are sculpting this ‘wall’ that is in fact 7 light-years high! I’m mean, shit, that's amazing!
Then there was this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 (note: space names are really underwhelming). This is the deepest and sharpest image of the distant universe to date. What you’re looking at is thousands of galaxies - THOUSANDS. Not stars - WHOLE GALAXIES. The most incredible thing about this image is that it covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the earth. It's like looking through a pinhole as the universe! If there was ever an image required to put one's perspective in check, this would be it.
While the day to day can quickly get on top of us, it is nice to step back every now and then and appreciate what an incredible and unlikely series of events that have led to our existence at all. The fact you are even reading this sentence, right now, at this exact moment is truly miraculous.