On leaving my job, four years ago, I had 2 main objectives. One was to venture into different worlds. The other was to try and correct some personality defects that have lived with me for rather a long time.
In pursuit of objective 1, here are some of the things I have done so far:
- Become a dog mummy for the very first time, having never had any pets
- Found a part time job in the health and social care sector, which is very different to the legal world I once inhabited
- Improved my IT skills. Setting up my blog was a major achievement for me
- Ventured into social media which I previously shunned, partly due to ignorance
- Become a blogger
- Taken on a house refurbishment project with my partner in which we have done most of the work ourselves
- Signed up to do volunteer work for a mental health charity
None of this is earth shattering, but I’m quite pleased with how it’s going so far. I have lots more I still want to do. This brings me on to objective number 2.
My personality defects are many and varied, but one of the first ones I wanted to tackle was the way in which I deal with Jobs To Be Done.
In my professional life, I was reasonably good at making lists, prioritising tasks and meeting deadlines. I was able to get through jobs, fairly methodically and in good time. On the home front, however, it’s a different story and I feel that I’m always chasing my tail and getting nowhere, to use a doggie metaphor.
Having left a job in which I had to record everything I did in 6 minute units, I am loathe to regiment myself in that way again. So I don’t make actual “To Do” lists, though I do carry around a list of jobs for the day, in my head. The trouble is, I allow myself, daily, even hourly, to be diverted from the jobs for the day. I will find something that I think I must do before anything else, so my daily “head” list gets totally mashed up. Then guess what? Yep, I think you can see what’s coming. I get to the end of the day and find I haven’t done half the jobs I intended to. I then feel (i) dissatisfied with self and (ii) a bit stressed that my “To Do” list is almost as long as when I started the day. Often I get that overwhelmed feeling that there are more pressing jobs for me to do than I will ever have time to complete.
I then repeat the whole process the next day, as well reminding myself that I now only work part-time, I don’t have children and so what the hell am I doing with all my time? To add to my shame, I now realise that women with children and jobs and pets seem to do a lot more than me and write a daily blog. How does that even happen?
Last Monday, I started all over again with my “head” list. I decided to put less on it, in the hope that I would complete the list. There were quite a lot of boring domestic jobs on there. Surprise, surprise, I did not get to the large pile of ironing that was beginning to form a tower-like structure in my spare bedroom. Much worse than that, I did not phone the family friend, who needs support, and who I have been meaning to call for weeks. A pretty poor showing, I think you’d agree.
So this week, I have been thinking about the problem and also the blog I will write about it. The hour or so I spend walking the dog each day, is a good time for this and I think I may have had a bit of a light bulb moment this week. I think the problem may lie in my attitude to Jobs To Be Done. In particular, I think I attribute too much importance to minor league jobs e.g the ironing and other domestic chores. Of course, these jobs must be done and I should trust myself to get them done in a reasonable time. Some jobs, and it’s not really a job, but a pleasure, are much more important e.g phoning the family friend. As I write this, I realise it’s not rocket science and anyone reading this might wonder what is wrong with my head. In my state of enlightenment, I would respond to that, that it’s sometimes the simple stuff that is the hardest to get right.
Something else that has dawned on me, as I hoof along with the hound, is that there comes a time in life when you have to accept who you are and stop beating yourself up about who you’re not. After 57 years on this planet, I think I need to ease up on that metaphorical rolling pin that I keep hitting myself on the head with when I think I have failed myself. I wish I could have said, to my 26 year old self, that life doesn’t come along in bite size chunks and I can’t always control the chaos, hard as I try. It’s important to realise what’s important and to deal with that. The rest gets done when it gets done. Easier said than done, but I’m going to try and focus on working on my attitude rather than on my Jobs To Be Done.
I wonder if anyone else struggles with this sort of stuff and how they deal with it? How on earth do the women with children/jobs/blogs/pets and more, deal with it all? You have my total admiration, though I think I will have to stop comparing, as that exercise always leads me to the metaphorical rolling pin. Another lesson learned perhaps?
As I write, it occurs to me that I’ve found dog and blog therapy. Love it! That sounds like a topic for another blog……………