Week 04: Fragments and Snatches

This week promises to be another busy one, but not nearly as busy as the last two. The problem really isn’t the workload, but the lack of help I’ve had of late. One coworker is out with an injury and another left for greater opportunities elsewhere. There are still members of my team available, but still fewer to carry the same load, so each has a heavier weight.

This week the load is lot lighter in some ways, and a little heavier in others, but none of it is anything we can’t handle. It helps that I have been practicing preparing myself ahead of time for these weighty weeks. I knew my calendar events would grow dense and I would be more tired and less motivated than usual, so I gave myself permission to use my free time to rest or retreat when needed.

These weeks I am reading, writing, and learning in thought fragments and snatches of time rather than by hours or essays, and it’s ok. I’m ok. When there is more time, I can pick up right where I left off.

In the meantime, this week I will

Wake up 15 minutes earlier. I have been struggling to get up with my alarm and find myself cutting corners in the morning to make up time. I’ve been starting my days with frustration and forgetfulness and wasting hours and energy just to get back on track. I need to do better, but to go from what I have been doing to what I should be doing would mean a 45-minute difference, too much to ask from myself before sunrise. So, just 15 extra minutes this week, please?

Read more. I am proud to have finished two books already this year, but with increased mental strain comes a sharp downturn in my discipline. There have been far more episodes watched than chapters read and I’m disappointed in the disparity. I don’t want to stop watching TV. It’s not rotting my brain, only taking too much time. This week I just need to even out the split.

Keep up with my paper journal and logbook. I had one goal this year, and this was it: document what you did and how you felt. Keep track of what you think and how you change. It’s a small thing that I am convinced will, in time, make a vast difference to how I write. As you do it, though, the act can become mundane and feel unimportant at the moment. You throw the notebooks in a bag and forget. This week I will keep them visible during the day and make time during all those episodes in them every night.

Use my weekend mornings to my advantage. I have been lamenting the lack of time during the week and complaining about the endless obligations during the weekend, but I know there is time enough available. To start, I have Saturday and Sunday mornings entirely to myself. If I could get myself up and get my ass in the chair. There is more, but this could be a start—or a return, rather. Wake up a little earlier and take some time for yourself.

Make my health a higher priority. A busy work schedule makes it too easy to push your basic needs aside. You arrive at your desk and set down your water bottle, your breakfast smoothie, your medications and supplements, and your lunch, and never pick them up again until it’s time to return home. This week, eat when you are hungry, drink water when you aren’t thirsty, and take your medications and supplements at the appropriate times.

This week I will not let fear limit me. I try so hard to be brave every day, but I fail in moments when later I think I might have been able to be strong. I want to practice saying yes when fear is the only reason to say no. The hard part is discerning when that is.

For me, fear always arrives in disguise. Fear pretends to be wise, and I feel foolish to ignore it. There are reasons why something is scary and I have no trouble explaining and convincing myself to avoid what I know I need to do. Even when guilt comes nagging, I say, “Wait until you are stronger, better, smarter. Wait, wait, wait.”

This week, when my first instinct is to say no, I will figure out why. When my mind provides the worst case scenario I’ll then ask, “And what if the worst truly went wrong?” For every reply, ask again all the way down until you have found nothing but your fear standing in the way, do it anyway.


Photo by Katie Doherty on Unsplash

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Goals // Week 04

This work week will be a lot like last week, busy, chaotic, and stressful, but it will be shorter week and though I don’t expect to complete every goal or to maintain my focus or enthusiasm through to Friday afternoon but I do expect to do better than last week. As the demands on my time slowly return to normal, I can begin slowly to move my attention and priorities back to personal pursuits and away from work projects. This week will be tough but it will also be better, and that is certainly something to look forward to.

This week I will:

 Write a book review for Ethics by Baruch Spinoza. One goal I had for this year was to write a book review for every book I read. I’ve already finished two books and if I don’t want to fall so far behind that I give up I need to get started this week. Of course they don’t have to be long, or even good, but they do have to get written and posted.

Update: There was simply no time for writing. I’m starting to sound like a broken record and even I am having a hard time believing my excuses. It really was a hard week, and I gave so much of myself up during my day job that there was nothing left in the evening to give to writing. I am going to do better.

 Read 100 pages of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I had hoped to finish half of the book last week but until my work-life schedule becomes a little more balanced, I can’t hope for so much time to myself. I was able to ready 75 pages last week. I think 100 isn’t too much to ask. Bonus: Finish As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Update: I made progress, but I didn’t hit my goal. I did finish As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins and The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue by Anonymous and if you up all the pages (minus the bonus book) I was only 20 short of reading 100 pages of something.

Eat one vegan meal. Before the holidays I was up to two or three meat-free meals a week but since then it has been hard for me to return to my old habits. Eventually I would like to go meatless Monday through Friday but I have to start slow and begin again.

Update: I made some delicious and easy roasted sweet potato and cauliflower tacos (with “chipotle cashew crema!). One vegan meal a week is good, and I’ll do my best to stick to it going forward but eventually I’d like to eat more meatless meals. I’d love recipe recommendations if you have any.

Work out three days this week. I was doing so well a few weeks ago but between my chronic illness and fatigue and the demanding work week I’ve hardly been able to remember to work out let alone get to a point where I can consciously avoid it. This week it is in the calendar with notifications turned on.

Update: Yeah, no, not even a little bit. I worked out zero days and I am beyond disappointed in myself. There really was no excuse. I just didn’t try hard enough.

Spend more time with my headphones in. Regulating my mood is hard when I’m tired or stressed so instead of trying to do it on my own and risking lashing out at coworkers and loved ones I’ll use the power of music instead, the best mood manager. Bonus: Catch up on my favorite podcasts too.

Update: I kept my headphones on hand the whole week and though I didn’t listen to a lot of music it was from lack of want rather than lack of time. There were just too many good podcast episodes I wanted to catch up on to make time for music. The point was to tune out and I definitely do that.

Stay hydrated. Drinking water is important for everyone but since I am taking so many medications and supplements every day I feel it is especially important that I fill and empty my water bottle a few times throughout the day. It will help with the headaches too I’m sure.

Update: I’ve been drinking a lot of Gatorade to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes but there is so much added sugar and artificial flavors I know I have to get off of it but it’s going to take time to get used to water again. I stayed hydrated, I just didn’t drink water.

Get outside and into nature. The extended weather forecast is looking very nice, and I have been missing our old trails terribly. I think it’s time to get my hiking boots out, pack up the dog, and head toward the mountains. I just hope this winter hibernation hasn’t withered my endurance too much.

Update: I had hoped to take advantage of the early Spring-like weather we’d been having but the weekend got away from me and I never ended up making the proper preparations by the time Sunday rolled around. Luckily the forecast for the coming weekend is looking even better and I’ll have another chance at the trails.

Clean up the backyard. Spring is on the way and I have quite a list of home projects to complete before next winter rolls around. The dry and mild weather is a chance to get a jump on some of the projects I know I’m going to want to avoid later. Perhaps a “little at a time starting” strategy is better than “all at once whenever I have the energy and the will power”.

Update: It was nothing but pure and simple forgetfulness on my part. I obviously asked too much of myself last week and didn’t take into consideration at all how much I’ve been struggling just to get through the bare minimum I ask of myself every day.

This week I will not give up. It’s going to be hard but the light at the end of this work week is closer than most Mondays. I only have to get through four days of it and no amount of frustration, fatigue, or failure is going to stop me from putting one foot in front of the other and giving my best to every task I undertake and every person I meet.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 03.

Photo by Byron Johnson on Unsplash