It is – for once – a beautiful day in Manchester, and I came to work full of the joys of autumn (note: I am not known for loving Monday mornings. my text to John on the subject got the grumpy return ‘it’s Monday. before noon. are you ill?’).
The crisp autumn air, the sunshine – it inspired me to think ‘yeah! this is gonna be a good week! I’m gonna work so hard! I’m gonna kick some serious EAD ass!’ (apparently unexpected sunshine makes me american. and militant. who knew?)
It’s now 13:50, and I have yet to do anything that would seriously count as work. Sure, I’ve read my emails, answered a few queries, checked up on twitter, dabbled at a couple of things, but real, solid work? the kind you can tick off your to-do list with a great feeling of achievement and relief? nope.
So what happened? where did my oomph go? Well, I have a sneaking suspicion that it went on just those things listed in the last paragraph. I have a tendency – as I suspect many people do – to ease myself into the day with the non-threatening, mundane tasks: checking emails; sorting out calendar and to-do list for the week; making tea. And then I have queries to answer – very important, I’m not denying that, but it does all mean that I tend to start my day full of bittiness. I dabble here for twenty minutes; spend half an hour on this; ten minutes on that; and by the time it’s all done I’ve lost my drive. I’ve started my day with the comfort of small, fairly easy tasks, and that’s become my mindset. It’s surprisingly difficult to get stuck into a big, thought-provoking project which needs several hours of your undivided attention after you’ve been flitting.
So maybe I need to re-think how I structure my day (and yes, I know that I am very lucky to be able to choose the structure of my day without manning service points etc). maybe – and this seems like a huge step – maybe start with the big things. Even just an hour or so on a big piece of work could have me truly thinking for the rest of the day. Start with something to challenge me, beyond the ‘skim — delete — skim — delete’ that is my usual morning routine. And then once the challenge has been conquered, when I’ve achieved something substantial, then it’s onto the emails and the dabbling and the dallying. Maybe I’ll even get through them without losing my drive and my focus.
It’s going to take quite a change in mind-set, but I’ll give it a go! So please, people, don’t tweet anything interesting until about 11am from now on, ok? I might not be there to listen.