Friday, December 15, 2006

An off day...

... well, not quite.

M awoke at 7 and brought me a steaming mug of coffee in bed. As he got ready for work, I switched on the radio and groaned as it was still set to Radio 2 from my last listen (to Jonathan Ross on Saturday, two weeks ago). I listened long enough to be surprised by Terry Wogan playing U2 and Razorlight. His irritating drivel, though, eventually forced me to feed my digital Walkman through the stereo speakers. I sipped coffee, read InStyle, Heat and Glamour magazines, and dozed off until 10.30am as The Killers, Gwen Stefani, Interpol and The Rolling Stones played in the background.

The last few weeks at work have been hellishly busy and stressful, with multiple big projects careening into the holiday season without so much as a pause for breath. Each and every one of my clients is rushing to achieve deliverables before the Christmas and New Year slump, which means no let up for me either. Each day I dream of the luxury of even an hour just to focus on a single project and have time to think clearly, deeply and strategically. I'm immersed so much in micro-management, that I'm becoming frustrated at not having the time to step back and view a project as part of the client's bigger picture. I also want to be able to think more about getting new business.

Christmas week is fast approaching, and it's my choice to work through most of it. Between Christmas and New Year, I expect the office will be quiet, the phone will rarely ring, and deadlines won't be looming. This will be my chance to pull back and calmly assess my clients' objectives and expectations; my chance for some strategic thinking; and, of course, the chance to reflect upon my own career goals.

So yesterday, when the office manager said I still had holiday to take, I took it gladly today and hoped no one would ring me from work. When I finally arose from my slumber, I washed, showered and went to my desk and saw the detailed To Do list I had scribbled out last night:
  • Buy presents online
  • Arrange Indian internal flights and hotels
  • Clean the house
  • Do two loads of laundry
  • Confirm our dinner reservation tonight
  • Order repeat prescriptions
  • Put photos in albums
  • Check credit card balance
  • Investigate conversion of Super 8 to DVD
  • Block unsolicited marketing calls by registering at TPS
  • Go grocery shopping for meals this weekend and next week
When I compiled the list last night, I did so enthusiastically, thinking Yippee, a day free to catch up on personal stuff. This morning I was thinking This reminds me of my To Do lists at work, and All I want to do is veg out.

In the same way that I yearn for uninterrupted time during the week to do some deep and clear thinking about my work, so I yearn for an uninterrupted stretch of time in my personal life to not think at all - to empty my mind of white noise and simply to be in the moment with a clear head and a rested body.

So I compromised with myself. I set out to tick off as many things on my To Do list as possible by 2pm and then give it all up to do absolutely nothing. And the compromise actually made me tick off most of it! The rest can wait until the weekend (grocery shopping) and next week (Super 8 to DVD, photos in albums).

So what have I been doing since 2pm? Eating eggs on toast, drinking coffee and green tea, surfing the blogosphere, reading, dreaming, sitting around alot. Quite simply, being blissfully slothful.

In a few hours I will get ready to meet M and treat him to a fancy birthday dinner in town. But for now, just chilling.

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