This morning I’m back at my desk after having a few weeks away from the office. It's lovely sitting here in this organised space that I’ve carefully set up for maximum productivity. I like my Friday morning routine. I get up early and go for a run, then head into work to have a bowl of my favourite cereal and a cup of Melbourne Breakfast tea whilst I ponder what to write. 

I’ve missed this time while we’ve been on holiday. This moment of calm and thoughtfulness. Writing my blog on holiday is squeezed in between beach visits and BBQs on my shitty old laptop that the kids normally use to watch netflix or binge or whatever they're into these days. It's sticky and slow, kind of like my brain without a schedule.

As crazy as it sounds I miss our regular routine. We’re a pretty well oiled machine during the working week and removing the timetable can completely throw things into disarray. Without a plan I always feel like we end up wasting half the day by deciding what to do. The late start leads to a late finish and the kids are never in bed until after 9, which is my bedtime. 

We’re back to work this week so the new ‘school holiday and working’ routine has been put into play with marginal success. I’ve given myself 2 hours every morning to get my work done which is the amount of time the kids will watch telly at work before they want something. It’s actually pretty productive and I’m keeping things ticking along - my main problem is switching between work and parenting.

This is not a new problem by any means but since this new routine doesn’t allow for me to get more than the required amount of work completed, I find it really hard to switch off along with the computer. I have so many things that ping - my phone, watch, iPad that it’s really easy to get sucked back into the ‘working’ vortex without meaning to. 

The problem with ‘not working but still working’ is that it's never productive work - maybe I’ll join in an email conversation about a current project butI’m not ‘working’ so you can’t really act on the task therefore it just becomes something to stress about. If I didn’t check the email until I was ready to work then I wouldn’t have known about the task until I was ready to take action.

After work yesterday it felt like I checked my email 100 times. It was so bad that I actually had to remove my apple watch and turn my phone off because it was so distracting. I wasn’t even expecting anything major but the need to stay in the loop was consuming me. All of the sudden the technology that normally helps synchronise my life was making me grumpy and stressed. It’s still the same watch and phone I’ve always had, but yesterday they were evil. 

In my little technology melt down/break I read some more of ‘Reason Not to Worry’ by Brigid Delaney and as if the universe needed me to read it, this passage from Seneca appeared:

“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”

Live immediately. What an incredibly powerful thing to consider. Live immediately. As someone who was just having an internal battle with their apple watch 15 minutes earlier I felt this incredible realisation wash over me.

It doesn’t fucken matter. It doesn’t matter that I’m not reachable 24/7 - I’m the goddamn designer for goodness sake, and I say that with the most respect for my profession but we’re not on-call brain surgeons. I also have a bunch of really lovely clients who don’t expect me to reply straight away, knowing that the kids are still on holiday. I’d let this happen. 

This was week one of the ‘school holiday and working’ routine and I didn’t do a particularly good job of it. Next week I plan on turning off all the pings as soon as I walk out of the office, just until I’ve mastered my control again - which to be honest probably won’t start until both kids are back at school, which is only 3 weeks away. 

Yet again, the 2000 year old advice for the Stoics has saved the day. I’m sure I’ll stop banging on about Stoicism soon but I’ve found their wisdom has been perfectly timed to help navigate my school holiday conundrums. I’m going to finish with the Seneca quote again because I really think it's worth reading twice. 

“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”

Video of the week
68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice
Podcast of the week
The Cryptid Factor: 81 The Artificial Xmas issue
Font of the week
Unique: Font of the week by Rajesh Rajput

Please sign up for my weekly newsletter. No spam, just a weekly summary about what's been on my mind.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Read more...

Bulletin Board #238
Bulletin Board #237
Bulletin Board #236
Bulletin Board #235

let's connect

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.