rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The first week of school holidays; a big to-do list to get done at both home and work before Helsinki; in particular a big code push early on Tuesday morning.  I had a whole carefully worked-out schedule of when Tony and I would be at work and on leave and working from home and doing childcare runs.

Early on Monday morning, I woke up very suddenly and proceeded to have a very thorough stomach upset for much of the day.  My boss is the best boss, for taking over and sorting out my Tuesday work for me.  I had to reorganise the cleaner, and my routine bone marrow appointment due today (because taking a potential stomach bug into a ward of cancer patients is distinctly antisocial) and completely redo the who-is-home-when plan for the week.

But I was at least able to work today, and (fingers-crossed) I'll be back in the office tomorrow.

The most exciting thing this week has at least gone to plan so far.  My dad made a flying visit today to collect Nicholas for a long weekend at WOMAD. His first time away from home without a parent in tow; not his first time away from both parents though, and it should be a lot of fun for them both.  I look forward to hearing all about it on Monday.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I realised yesterday that it was the last of Nicholas's swimming lessons for the term and we hadn't been given a re-enrolment form at any point.  On further checking, we've completely missed his re-enrolment window, and the class he was in is completely full now.   These lessons are always oversubscribed, and the idea is that once you're in the system you get priority to stay in and progress up the classes, but that doesn't help if no-one (me) checks when the deadlines are. 

So I think by default I have to make a note to check for enrolment day at the end of next term, in hopes of getting him back into classes in the autumn term.  That seems ages away.  I suppose I can also look at the holiday "crash courses": four or five daily 30 minute lessons on weekday mornings.  Great for learning but a bit of a logistical challenge for us.

Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/677882.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I think my physical fitness is still gradually improving - my cycle and walking commutes are getting a little smoother and faster and less tiring each week, and it's perfectly reasonable to cycle to hospital and then to work.  What I'm finding though is that exercise, work, childcare, study and housework are all drawing from the same pool of energy and that seems to have stopped growing.  "Pushing through", like I did to get the essay in a few weeks back, is like going overdrawn and then having to rest even more to replenish the shortfall.  I'm still going splat at least once or twice a week.

I seriously considered requesting a formal short-term reduction in work hours, to the point of working out how much it would reduce my take-home pay.[1]  That turned out to be quite a lot.[2]  I'm pretty certain we could cut back enough to cover the gap, but that in itself becomes more work and stress, so it's not as helpful an idea as I first thought.

Instead, at least for now, Tony is going to take on rather more than half of the housework, including taking back the weekday evening meals which I've been doing since the start of the year. The pressure to get the children fed as soon as possible after 6pm seems to have eased up, so eating later (which has happened a few times recently when I've been too tired to cook) seems to be fine.  I think we'll still try to keep weekend menu planning / shopping list generation going though.

I am going to use the time Tony is giving me to rest more, and to study more consistently, which will in turn make me happier and less stressed.  I would rather reduce our income than give up studying; one of the things I learned from being ill was that learning matters a lot to me.


[1] It took me a while to find a calculator that could reproduce my current payslip with the various deductions I have going out.

[2] Woe woe, the diamond shoes of my high income are pinching, I know.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
1. (done) Invitations to N's 3rd birthday "party".  Actually just a weekend gathering for drinks in a child-friendly pub that has a bouncy castle when the weather is good.  I realised this morning that I didn't need to carefully design and print out a set of invitations, when I have a large cache of stationery.  Handwriting the details onto 5 postcards (of children's book-covers!) and addressing 5 brightly-coloured envelopes took less time than designing an invitation to print off would have done.
Read more... )
7. everything else on my todo list
Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/587987.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I had three piles of paper on my desk, things accumulating mostly for me to Do Something with or file.   These piles were approximately 30cm, 20cm and 10cm deep.  Somewhere in these piles I knew there was a piece of paper I needed to find in order to complete my tax return.  I'd already cost myself £100 by not finding the piece of paper before 31st January, and I was rapidly approaching the point where it was going to cost me £10 a day not to find it.

A while ago I read [livejournal.com profile] siderea 's post about filing, and realised her system was not far from what I was trying to do, and that getting things filed was the most useful thing I could do, and so I starting doing short bursts of filing the stacks, nibbles at the elephant, and managed to get rid of the smallest pile, quite a lot of which was no longer relevant and could be filed in the recycling bin.  But then I kept finding more interesting things to do than nibbling the paperwork elephant, and so progress stalled.

On Saturday afternoon I made myself start tidying up the filing again.  And for whatever reason, I found myself getting into the flow of it, and going back to it after interruptions for food and child-bedtimes, and just Not Stopping.   At about 2am, most of the way down the last and biggest stack of paper, I found the vital piece of paper.  And because it was already very late for me, and my sleep was already messed up, I decided to put it on one side and finish the filing job.  And then I was still awake when that was done so I finished and submitted the tax return.  Then I went to bed, leaving one full filing cabinet, one much-emptier desk, and one giant drift of paper on the floor destined for the recycling.

The oldest bits of paper in the piles were from August 2012, i.e. one month after Nico was born.  So that's how long I've not been keeping up with the paperwork (there were odd runs where I had clearly kept-current for a few months but not caught up the backlog.)  It is such a weight off my mind to not have the teetering piles of doom looking at me any more.   The desk is by no means empty or even tidy, but what's left is things like photo albums and bundles of letters from my grandmothers and Charles's schoolwork from two years ago and so on, not financial paperwork.

It worked, but I can't say I recommend the binge-eating approach.  I was exhausted all of Sunday, got very little done and only got dressed because [livejournal.com profile] nassus was arriving.   Today when another Thing arrived in the post, I made a point of reading it and then filing it straight into the relevant folder in the filing cabinet, not onto the newly-clear space on the desk.  Long may this last.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last weekend when I was migrainey, I spent a bit of time thinking and ordering stuff to improve our hallway and kitchen.  The stuff arrived during the week, and I spent much of yesterday sorting it out and installing it, variously assisted by children and spouse.

In probably tedious detail if you aren't me )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
+ back to work after 2 days sick
- lengthy meeting in room with flickering projector triggered a new headache
+ free lunch
- colleagues with assorted troubles taking them away from the office
+ played with new free project-management app
+ which resulted in dumping a lot of stuff I was perseverating over into external memory
+ got a few of those "little non-urgent but useful" tasks done
- missed book club due to headache
+ tony being supportive and children being (mostly) lovely
rmc28: (wonderfrown)

Our last* non-family lodger left last night. Charles woke up asking about when we could start moving him and Nico into the room, so I checked on the state of it (just fine, no surprises there, thanks to lovely lodger) and we've made a start.

10 things done )

* at least for the foreseeable future, never say never and all that. Meanwhile, if anyone in Cambridge wants short-term, well-behaved, pleasant, pay-the-rent-on-time lodgers, I can recommend the steady stream of interns on 3-month placements with Microsoft Research, and put you in touch with the people there who compile lists of possible hosts.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
A to-do list helps me organise my thoughts about things I should get done, and work out what should take priority.

A ta-da list tells me what I've actually done.  Mostly it helps remind me that I have not actually lazed all day doing nothing (er, unless I have).  I find adding an item to a ta-da list has a similarly pleasing effect to crossing something off a to-do list without the nagging reminder of the rest of the list.   I find it especially useful when tired or stressed or otherwise more in need of reminding that I am actually achieving things.

I've copied an idea from [personal profile] ceb  and made a community-of-one [community profile] rmcf_tada to post my things-done lists daily, to keep from cluttering up this blog.  (A community because then I don't have to switch accounts, which means I'm more likely to post daily, which means it will be more useful to me.)  I don't expect it to be of wide interest, but subscribers are welcome, and will give me an extra incentive to keep posting.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I'm now officially into the second trimester. My body hasn't read the book, but hopefully the first-trimester symptoms will bog off soon.

A little planning switch has flipped in my head, because the chances of miscarriage are now much lower and so I am "allowed" to start making real moves to prepare for the new arrival.
Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I made the seasonal donations today, because on the 24th I was at my mother's without my laptop. I could have done it on the phone, but decided to wait.

The grand totals were:
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative : £4.25
Practical Action: £5.75
Education For Choice: £3.50

I thought those amounts were a bit small for online donations so doubled them to £8.50, £11.50, £7.00.

(I then spent a bit of time seeing if any of JustGiving, Virgin Money Giving or MyDonate would let me set up a single page which gave donors a choice of charities to donate to - a sort of charity donations wishlist I could set up for birthdays/future Christmasses. But no: one page per charity. Also everything is set up around "an event" such as a race or a single special occasion with a deadline, not ongoing things like a wishlist.)

I've also managed to parcel up the gifts we should have posted before Christmas, but did not manage to get to the post office. Tomorrow I hope (before we head to London to see [personal profile] tla and family).
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I'm trying to work through the "I Shoulds" in my life, one of which is I Should read all the interesting blogs and twitterers that I've found, every day. I feel I've tilted too far towards consumption, with little-to-no time for reflection, analysis or creation of my own. My free time is finite, and my goals are not achieved if I spend all of it reading, no matter how worthy or witty the topic, or beloved the writer.

There's a good article on poverty and willpower I read last week. I'm only time-poor but this advice is universal:

"next time you find yourself full of self-discipline, don't spend it trying to behave virtuously; spend it, instead, altering your environment to reduce your future dependence on willpower."

So this afternoon I've been filled with energy and self-discipline, caught up on a weeks' worth of DW and LJ, and I've started to cull too. I hate defriending, that knowledge that I'm triggering a chirpy little message saying rmc28 doesn't love you any more (a post about how time-poor I am doesn't make it any better does it?). I can be more ruthless about Twitter, because it only tells you when someone starts to follow you, and Reader doesn't tell its RSS feeds anything.

Google+ is being ignored until I have more grip.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I'm back to work tomorrow after a week's leave (mostly spent in Wiltshire/Gloucestershire, the tail end in Cambridge) and one of the things that I've been thinking about is my (in)ability to get to work regularly for 8am without external constraint.

When I had to get to childcare by 5pm, I was entirely able to get to work for 8am most days. When I have a release day and have to do code-pushes at 7am, I am entirely able to do so. But on 'normal' days, I find myself doing stuff at home right up until I really really must go to be in at 9am .

I am generally a morning person: long experience tells me that I get noticeably more done at work between 8am & 9am than I do between 4pm & 5pm. It's better for me and it's also better for work if I get in early and knuckle down. It would leave me more time for a walk at lunchtime, or an early departure and some "me" time before nursery finishes. But consistently this year I haven't, and it's probably because there's no immediate external feedback if I don't. The payoff comes later in the day, and primarily to me.

I'm going to try something radical as I go back to work this week: acting as if being in by 8am mattered to someone other than me. Right down to going to bed on time and having clothes ready to put on when I get up. Just for a week, to see if it works.

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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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