Sunday, 23 February 2020

Turn the year off and on again?

A month ago I wrote a post about time vanishing and it suddenly being the end of the month. I decided I was going to do things differently and looked forward to the rest of 2020. How has that worked out?

Well, I find myself writing the same post but this time a week BEFORE the end of the month. I'm not sure this is real progress but since I don't have a lot to write about again, perhaps it's time to unpick this differently. Am I solving the right problem?

My question here is: why don't I have anything to write about? Last month I focused on prioritisation to lessen my cognitive load. That was actually quite successful. Beyond what I wrote, I have addressed some real sources of worry and anxiety and reset some relationships (mostly at work) which have helped clear my head. I'm feeling less anxious than a month ago, which is a real blessing, and I intend to continue this for the next month. This has and will continue to help.

However that still leaves me approaching the end of the month on the back foot with nothing to write about. My posts are normally about something I've been turning over in my mind, some interesting challenge or something I've experienced or learned during the month and often I've got them mostly written in my head before I sit down to write anything. So while I'm feeling better, and while I've done a few more things this month, I still haven't cleared enough headspace to be able to think ahead and around anything. Given my job is strategic in nature, this is ... suboptimal.

One thing I have learnt over the years is that "clearing headspace" doesn't necessarily mean "doing less". Anxiety seems to be like a gas - it will expand to fill the available space. For me, that often means that rather than doing less and less until I feel better (which has a habit of triggering mild depression, especially when I can't actually clear enough - yay thanks brain) I instead need to use something positive as a focus to drive out the worry.

Lent is coming (already?!) and that is a time to change habits - either by giving up things, or adding something positive. In unrelated news, while I've been writing this I've also been doing some light development work and really enjoying it. Hmm. I seem to remember that working through a neatly atomised project with clearly defined goals has helped me in the past...