The new rules

Time for a blog reboot!

I had a healthy amount of time off work over the summer and as usual it left me feeling reflective. This time I’ve constructively journaled, pondered and set some goals and rules for myself.

Last year was hard for a variety of reasons but I’ve emerged the other side and now want to take this forward positively. I’ve got back to reading other blogs which have been very helpful and also inspiring. Whether anyone reads this isn’t really my goal. It’s just the commitment and part of my journaling process.

So, I need new rules to go forward and I’ve simply come up with two –

1. No discussion of work

It’s not an overly positive place for me at the moment. It already takes up too much of my head space in a negative way and I’m not going to drag it out more than I have to!

2. More of what makes me happy

To balance off work I need to focus on the good, the positive and the things that make me happy.

I’m starting small with modest expectations and seeing where it takes me


Positive steps for the New Year

A week into the New Year and I’m feeling settled and positive ready to tackle a busy year.

We have a number of plans, nothing concrete but I’m waiting on the outcome of a few other things first.

I’ve decided to be more active to help the weight loss but also my sanity. I read about ecotherapy the other day. A very simple concept that being outside, doing something improves your both physical and mental well-being. Something so simple but another thing on that list of good advice that I generally ignore. I’ve made the effort this week and we’ve been out and about when possible. I’m even debating buying a season ticket for the car park so we can be country park regulars.

After all of the recent rain it has been very muddy

And the kids have got their money’s worth out of the wellies they got for Christmas

Samuel has also suddenly got better at walking a distance. Before Christmas he was firmly back in the buggy or asking to be carried after a short distance. This had led to lots of contemplation over whether it was his heart restricting him or Samuel just being awkward. This week has shown that its him. We’ve walked for over an hour at a time with out any moaning or requests to be carried. The test will be walking to school this week but I’m feeling optimistic.

I’m trying to increase the average number of steps I do each day. I’d struggle with getting a set target each day so I think its easier to simply say increase my average daily steps. I’m not feeling too good this weekend with a cough and cold so rather than heading to bed this evening I went for a walk on my own to clear my head. My aim is to do this more often.

After weeks of struggling with my workload I’ve had a catch up with my masters. Its helped my conscience more than anything. I’ve booked lots of study days in my diary and intend treating them as sacred. I book them in my diary and normally its the first thing to get cancelled whenever work gets busy. After long discussions about this with various people I know that my studies are just as important as everything else and I need to consistently give it the time it needs.

Along with this I’m tackling my organisation at work. At times I’m too reliant on a million post-it notes and my overworked brain to keep track of everything. I multi-task in a very dodgy way to the extent that I feel like I have ADHD at times.  I’ve created a new plan of attack starting tomorrow. To do lists in one place, not having my emails open all the time, planning my day and focusing entirely on the most important task of the day first. I’m giving it a weeks trial and will see if it makes any difference.



Focusing on the important things

The week before last was my final fellowship module. As always it was an excellent and inspiring few days away. The overall theme was personal resilience – something that I feel is an issue for me as I tend to get a bit defeatist when things aren’t going smoothly. That said, my outward appearance is probably one of calm and in control whereas in reality in my head I’m sick with worry, know that I am unlikely to sleep that night and visualising the worst case scenario. So yes, I was looking forward to this module.

Jeremy Snape from Sporting Edge came to speak to us and gave a really simple but powerful message on focusing on what is important. A number of things really struck me – focusing on goals and differentiating that from a dream. Making a target practical and tangible on a daily basis is important to increase the chances of success at a later date. All the small daily actions add up and remembering each day will contribute to that end goal. He talked about a ‘to don’t’ list to help avoid distractions and to ensure the things booked in your diary are ones that actively contribute to your long term plan.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my work life balance and the feeling that I’m struggling to manage things well and keep my sanity in the middle of it all. I’ve had a minor work epiphany and made a few changes to put myself (and my happiness) first.  I’ve stopped answering my phone on my day off, I no longer look at work emails in the evening and I am doing my utmost to keep work at work.  I’ve started saying no and been surprised that no-one has been horrified by my reaction. Its encouraged me to say it more often. I had a coaching session yesterday and we discussed this. I’m currently working at setting boundaries for my service and I’m now in the process of setting my own personal boundaries and making it clear to people that I am not an endless resource that can be used constantly.

I’ve joined a gym as part of the plan to look after myself. I’m making sure that I get time on my own and  can use my stress in a constructive way. The steam room is also a bonus. My weight is still an issue and I’m getting disheartened by the lack of progress. I’m hoping that the regular exercise will have an impact soon (if not I will be seeing my GP and demanding my thyroid is checked!)

We’ve also been busy tidying up part of our garden – the plan is for this area to be a child free relaxation zone. I’d like an arbour so I have somewhere to sit out in the evenings. I also have a mild irrational desire for a japanese maple.

So at the moment life isn’t too bad. The only sad thing is that our cat died at the weekend. I had the difficulty of explaining it to the children. I still have to work out how I’m going to explain burying his ashes in the garden. Samuel keeps asking after him, Eloise wants to know why I took him to the vets after he died and I keep thinking I’m seeing him waiting at the back door as usual. Still a little strange and foreign without him.

Happiness Online: March


The theme for this months resolutions is work. I did laugh quite a bit when I found that out.

It also helped that someone sent me this link last week – The happy secret to better work

I really liked it as it was giving a simple message that happiness does make work more productive and essentially its not difficult to achieve.

Focus on one thing

The video talks about ‘cultural ADHD’ where people try to do too many things at once. I easily fall into this category. I struggle to focus on one thing – at the moment I have 8 tabs open on my browser and writing this post will probably take far longer than it should do as I will keep flicking over to facebook, twitter and a forum. I do the same at work and I know it is unproductive. I’ve also read that too many browser tabs increases stress. So, this resolution means I will focus on one thing – starting with my internet browser.

Remember that I am not an endless ‘resource’ for others, I must stock up on ‘reserves’ and not get too drained

I stole this from the 10 Golden Rules for Myself that my mum sent me last week. Very self-explanatory.


I must be fair to myself and remember, at all times especially in the face of criticism, anxiety and difficulties, THAT I AM DOING THE BEST THAT I CAN!!

Another steal from 10 Golden Rules. I need to remember that my best is good enough and nothing in life is perfect. I have a limited amount of time available to me and as long as the important things are sorted and I am doing my best, the rest will get sorted.


I’m useless at delegating, although better than I was. I find it frustrating at times but know why I need to do it – not just for myself but also to help develop others.

Do a daily priority list

I love lists. They calm me down and help me get things sorted out in my head. I often worry that I’ve forgotten something and having a list helps allay that fear. I’ve also found that writing one out in the evening helps me plan the next day and go to bed with a clear head. Simple but it works for me. I’ve been trying various apps and online list things but so far nothing has really clicked. Pen and paper seems to do the trick.


I’m debating doing more resolutions for this month – I could go on. Does that say a lot about my work?!

Happiness Online: February Round up



I’d like to forget February really. It’s been far too busy and the happiness project has fallen down the priority list. I’m not even certain of what my plans were as I write this. I’ve been away from home far more than I’ve been here and it hasn’t really helped.

So, my resolutions were  –

  • Make the most of time together
  • Love myself a bit more
  • The little things matter
  • Do a random act of kindness once a week
  • Stop keeping a mental tally of everything

I feel I didn’t really do any of this. We had a family holiday in the middle of the month so that has got to help with the relationship!

In my defence I’ve found it easier to stick with January’s resolutions and have kept going with those. I’m not sure if this is chance, or they have actually become a habit. Maybe they were easier to fulfil in the first place. I’m not sure. I did write out the January ones and stick them on the cupbaord where the mugs are kept. This means I think about them first thing in the morning when I’m making a cup of coffee (a habit that is the very first thing done each morning without fail). Tonight I will write out February and March’s resolutions and stick them up as well. Hopefully that will bring them to mind more easily in the future.

Small victories

I wrote this post last night in its entirety and then my computer crashed and it disappeared. The autosave version was fairly early on (grr) so I apologise that this re-hashed version doesn’t have my heart and soul put into it.

I’m getting back into the swing of things and starting to feel more positive and in control.

My Mum very helpfully sent me this –

Ten Golden Rules For Myself

The timing was very apt and it has been duly printed out and stuck on my wall. I’ve also reminded myself that I do not want to fall into the ISFJ trap of doing too much and putting myself last.

I had my appraisal yesterday and its left me feeling happy. I’ve achieved my targets for the last year. I’ve combined my goals for the next year with those from my fellowship so I’m not putting more work onto myself.

Eloise is much better and went back to school yesterday meaning I finally got back to work (was very difficult dragging myself out of bed at 6.30am!). I’d planned to have a study day to work on my essay but felt it was important to be in the office and get on top of everything there. So far so good on that one.

I spent the weekend putting up shelves. The are still on the wall (major victory). After we had our bedroom decorated I hadn’t got round to putting the pictures and shelves up so that was sorted this weekend and I’m pleased with the result. Over the weekend I seemed to get into catching up with lots of bitty jobs in the house and I feel like I’m making progress. 40 bags in 40 days is going well and I’m keeping up with the pace even though I’m not putting pressure on myself to get through it all.

So overall things are better and feels more manageable. I still haven’t thought massively about my essay and I’m not entirely sure when that’s going to happen but I’m sure it will (she says with overwhelming optimism).

40 bags in 40 days

At the end of last year I found a Lent related challenge to help with decluttering.

I’m not entirely sure where it originates from, there are many people blogging about it in one form or another. It involves listing and then clearing 40 bags of clutter from your home over the course of Lent.

I don’t usually officially do anything for Lent – just the pancakes at the start and the eggs at the end! So often I put things off thinking I will get round to it one day and then it never happens. I like the fact that this will make me focus on a quick intense challenge to feel like I’m making some headway in clearing the house.

I’ve decided to keep it simple – quick 10-15 minute attacks on each area. I’m just going to be ruthless with a bin bag rather than get involved in any major reorganisation or moving of furniture. Any other major work can be done at a later date once this is finished and I can review what needs to be done next. If I don’t have it completed by Easter then I will not be beating myself up about it. It will just be helpful to have a list printed off and stuck on the wall to be steadily worked through. I’m hoping to be half way through by Easter, or closer to three quarters of the way through.  I’ve got some very busy weeks coming up with work and essays so I’m being realistic and not setting myself a stupid goal that I know I will struggle to complete.


So this is the list….