Sunday, March 28, 2021

Life Lately - Dealing with my unending workload

A view of London City from Victoria Park

The past few weeks were kind of weird. Despite working longer hours and with more intensity than at any previous time, I kept feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. So I did the usual things – I prioritized even more ruthlessly, I identified things ‘not to do’, I meditated more, and I worked even more hours.

None of this worked. My stress levels increased and I inched closer to burnout. At some point on Wednesday, I thought to myself that I couldn’t continue like that, so I tore myself away from the computer and went on a long walk to attempt a reset.

I started by quantifying things. Because I’ve been logging my daily hours for years, I know I am working about 10 more hours per week than I would be doing if I was going into the office. How could I feel like I was falling behind while working what was effectively six days a week? What did I need to do differently?

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Life Lately - My hack for better weekends, Trust in God

I cover two unrelated topics in this post. The first is on my approach to having better weekends. The second, inspired by recent conversations with new graduates, is about one of my favorite songs and how it helped me through an anxiety-inducing transition from university into work.


I had a really crap weekend just over a year ago. It was a complete wreck of a weekend. I slept too much, ate too much, discussed charged topics endlessly, watched TV for what felt like an entire age, and was completely drained of all emotional energy when Sunday evening rolled around. It took all my 'home training' to not call in sick on Monday, and as I sat in the train to work – tired and drained before the week had even started – I realized I had to do better in future.

I thought about it for a little bit and decided to list the things I found energizing and then fill my weekends with those things. Starting that week, I began making what I now call 'my weekend to-do list'. There’s nothing fancy on the list and it includes most of the usual suspects – call x, take a long walk, read y, check on b, see a movie, and so on. Making the list during the week helps me look forward to the weekend, and ensures I have a 'balanced weekend' mostly consisting of things that energize me. It also helps fend off the “where did the weekend go?” question.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Cheat Day - Mother's Day, The Order of Time

Happy Mother's Day, Mrs. Ko

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who are reading this. Thank you for all that you do. I know this day can spark a variety of emotions depending on what’s going on in our lives, so I wanted to share this link to Nifemi’s post describing the joy and pain of Mother’s Day. If you’re hurting today, for whatever reason, I wish you peace and comfort.

I’ve been trying for a few hours, but I now have to admit I’m unable to do any serious writing in my current frame of mind. Therefore, I thought I’d instead share one of my favorite passages from Carlo Rovelli’s The Order of Time.

"We are not a collection of independent processes in successive moments. Every moment of our existence is linked by a peculiar triple thread to our past – the most recent and the most distant – by memory. Our present swarms with traces of our past. We are histories of ourselves. Narratives. I am not this momentary mass of flesh reclined on the sofa typing the letter ‘a’ on my laptop; I am my thoughts full of the traces of the phrases that I am writing; I am my mother’s caresses, and the serene kindness with which my father calmly guided me; I am my adolescent travels; I am what my reading has deposited in layers in my mind; I am my loves, my moments of despair, my friendships, what I’ve written, what I’ve heard; the faces engraved on my memory. I am, above all, the one who a minute ago made a cup of tea for himself. The one who a moment ago typed the word ‘memory’ into his computer. The one who just composed the sentence that I am now completing. If all this disappeared, would I still exist? I am this long, ongoing novel. My life consists of it." - Carlo Rovelli

Have a fab week, and see you next week.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Life Lately: "I can increase your happiness"

When I took this picture of Zajecarski, Serbia, I did not know I would be fast-walking (running) away from a dog on this street within the hour.

I don’t want a huge pimple on my nose; I don’t have one. In fact, given how much trouble I had with pimples as a teenager, it’s fair to expect my children to get a free pass. I don’t want to lie in bed unable to sleep because of the cacophony of generators; I don’t have to - for now. I am afraid of all dogs and don’t want to live in a house that has one; I don’t.

When we think about the things that make us happy, the things we are grateful for, we tend to focus on the things we want and have. Good memories of departed family members. Family and friends that are still here. Our jobs or businesses. Holidays – past and future. Money in the bank. PlayStation consoles.

We don’t often think about the things we don’t want and don’t have, things that contribute to our happiness by their continued absence in our lives. I haven’t made a list, but I strongly suspect the list of things I don’t want and don’t have is longer than the list of things I want and have.