3 Weeks of Commenting: time for a break

Illustration of a scribe writing

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve decided to take a break for a day or so and hit the challenge again in a flurry at the top of next week. Why?  Well with all this commenting on other peoples’ blogs, I’ve actually neglected my own writing. I want to get back in the groove again.

So my recommendation to myself on Day 21 is to take a break, smell the roses, check back over the ideas in the notebook and my del.icio.us stash and map out some tasks for June.

What do you do on a day off?

Relaxing

Ironically perhaps, I thought this was a pretty good question to ask of fellow commenters on the 31 Day Comment Challenge. It’s a day off for me since I’ve done all the tasks so far and we’re roughly half way through the challenge. Where did those days go to?

So when you’re not blogging, what do you do? Do you take a break from time to time … a deliberate break that is, and not one where the dreaded writer’s block stuns you.

I read, I play around with new tools and software, wander through the garden, take photographs, teach, take in a movie, listen to music, a favourite podcast or two … think about the coming months. Always though, always an idea springs out of nowhere for a post or two. These get scribbled into a notebook for later.

What about you?

Worth a 1000 words eh?

Well this was something I hadn’t thought of doing. A good idea is always worth ‘borrowing’ so I pinched the idea from the ever-stimulating Stephen Downes’ OLDaily e-letter this morning. He’s put together his own favourite photos of 2007. I’ve done the same.

They say an image is worth a 1000 words, so here are 35,000 virtual words taken on a Nikon D40, Nokia N95 mobile phone, a Minolta DImage point and shoot, and my new iPhone … and all tidily encapsulated in a Flickr slideshow. It was quite a year! Enjoy.

Time Poor and Life Rich: a juggling act

I’ve had a bit of a wake up call: I’ve become a work addict. Some of my recent blogposts have been turning over the issue of productivity which for me, means optimising the process to accomplish my work-related (day job) tasks with the minimum angst and within the minimum amount of time, and without sacrificing quality or my sanity. And yet I seem to be at it 7 days a week: the more I do, the more flows onto my real and virtual desks. My curiosity and work ethic coupled with the ease and yes, the fun of working at this computer is part of the problem for me. Shiny toys can be drugs too.

Take this weekend, for example … I am resolutely ignoring the pile of examination papers sitting on the kitchen bench. Yes, they have to be marked, but who likes marking, hands up! Results are due Friday, and yes I will get it done. There’s another bulging project folder, but an even more impressive first draft digital document also due Friday. Yes, there’s going to be a gallop to the line … do creative people work best under pressure? Dunno about this furphy. Do I feel guilty about not working on these projects? I shouldn’t, but I do. What’s happened is that I have established a habit of working which has eliminated the time I must have to ‘recreate’ me. Remember when we used to talk about ‘quality time’ with the kids? Having quality time with me is the name of the game now.

Memo to self: In the spirit of   ’50 on 10 off’ (50 mins work and 10 mins off) for a working hour, I will keep Sunday blissfully free, and not feel guilty about it. Today is Sunday! A day of rest once upon a time, and for me now, a day of engagement with my personal life.

It’s time!

Diversionary tactics on a Sunday

A weekend outside that is glorious, and I’m stuck into report writing and continuing the bash together a conference paper, due Wednesday. Not much of this so far. Nothing like a little bit of pressure to bring out the procrastinator in me.

What I have done is to sort photographs into smart albums (in iPhoto) using a batch processing feature of the software … funny, have never done this before. It’s a very quick and easy way to move the pix around into various boxes. That took up a good hour. Then, in to downloading the new version of Skype for the Mac. Synchronised my new Nokia N95 (a beautiful thing) with my calendars and contacts on my desktop and .Mac, and produced an entire schedule of classes for semester 2 in Omni Outliner Pro. It’s beautiful too, but the semester’s end is frighteningly close.

The countdown timer on my desktop shows 35 days till lift-off to London where I’ll spend the break. That meant that I had to check what shows are on during the time I’ll be away. Another 40 minutes of surfing, and what adventures await me in theatre land! A new production of Shaw’s St Joan at the NT, and Spamalot the musical also playing. Bring it on. Meantime, back to the drawing board.