It's easy for busy periods to take their toll. It's been that kind of a year for me. Pretty much all year my team has been under-staffed. Initially because someone was out on maternity leave, followed by another team member resigning, then my US counterpart moving on. So it's been a drain on my time, making up for those shortfalls.
It's been a challenge. Not least of all because I find my hours in the office get taken up with fire-fighting, helping to offer support, and training more than they are with doing my own projects. The result of that is an inevitable drop in motivation that comes with that exhaustion that makes it harder to proactively initiate change, be creative, think big. When you're treading water the main objective is to stay afloat, after all.
The thing that suffers the most is always my personal development needs. This blog, way back when I was first doing my PR Diploma back in 2006, started out as a way of keeping on top of CPD - tracking what I was learning. The absence of a regular post on this blog is testament to that fatigue I've experienced this year - I just find it tough to motivate myself to sit down and log in at the end of a long day. I know I'm not alone in this and there are some amazing progammes to initiate discipline and habit formation when it comes to blogging.
So getting listed in the new Guardian Higher Education blog network was a much needed kick up the proverbial. It reminded me that this is something I really do want to cultivate. Particularly if people are going to be visiting it (1100% visitor increase, thanks Guardian team!).
Sitting and thinking about that over the last week reminded me of the old adage about the stretchiness of time, and the ability we all have to fill that time regardless of how little or how much we have to do. For example from January to May I was out four nights a week, taking rehearsals for Wimbledon Light Operatics Society (choreographing their production of Curtains). I had to be there, so I had to be strict with my evenings to fit that in around the rest of my life. Now, without that obligation, I find my evenings have passed by without me getting anything done. Stretchy time? You bet. So, a new commitment Dan and I have now made is to allocate one evening a week to our 'work'. We'll both choose the same evening, and focus it on getting stuck into those projects that we both want to do but just are not making the time for.
Alongside that, I'm going to take my full work/life time sheet back in hand. A few years back I made a list of things I wanted to do regularly: a daily list, a weekly list, a monthly list etc. That was everything from forcing myself to read outside of my comfort zone, to regular exercise, to meeting up with friends. Basically it was the Mithu Lucraft work/life balance sheet. It's time to review that, assess how well I'm doing, and get new habits formed.