🧠 Brain STREAM: 1️⃣5️⃣ Blips and bits

Don't stress about using every moment of time to get things done, but do use them when the rest of your time doesn't go to plan and recognise how much time they add up to.

🧠 Brain STREAM: 1️⃣5️⃣ Blips and bits
Even the smallest puzzle pieces make up the big picture

This week, I experienced what I'm going call blip.

Here in Scotland we had a lovely covering of snow. As idyllic as it may seem, it meant schools were closed for three days and we had no school transport or meals for a fourth. All-in-all it tested my resilience and by Thursday I felt close to being overwhelmed. As I went to bed tired and with a headache that night, I wondered whether my newly found 'health streak' was all just an illusion and this was me dropping bluntly back down to square one.

But as I write this on Saturday morning curled up with a cat on my lap in front of the fire, I feel a sense of accomplishment as I review my week.

On the one hand, it didn't go at all to plan and I had to play teacher more than I got to play student. On the other hand one of the skills of managing projects is understanding that sometimes they need to take on more agile forms.

If I was to treat my wider life as a project in this case (and there's nothing wrong with that), then this week, it's been more about quick wins and short tasks. And whilst the week didn't go to my original schedule, it is my regular planning actions which ensure I have different tasks, or bits of tasks, to do in these sorts of situations. It's the perfect time to do those tasks that 'need doing' but bulk up your to do list because they are low priority.

Whilst I couldn't visit my field site, or do any writing or lab work, I did advance my Latex knowledge, listen to some talks and keep on top of my emails.

It felt really good clearing out those niggly to do items, leaving a clearer plate for the upcoming week. On Friday, rather than stressing I was behind on my January/February plan, I re-wrote it, re-prioritising tasks in the following weeks. If I don't, then I've already set myself up to fail, because I won't get that time back.

Because I record the things I work on in my calendar, it means I keep track of the hours I do. This week, I managed 17 hrs of work which is actually only a few hours short of the 20-22 I aim towards. It's amazing how 15-30 minutes here and there adds up over the week.

My research insight this week is not a suggestion to use up all those 5, 10 and 15 minute time slots 'productively' - that can often just equal stress - but to actually realise just how much time they do add up to over a week. So in those weeks where things don't go to plan and you do some work here and there, you can rest assured you achieved more than you thought.

Quote from Queen Elizabeth II

This week in writing

Ana Pineda is someone I have followed stop-start over the last few years. She is an academic turned writing and mental wellbeing coach. On Friday this week she is holding a 60 minute webinar on 'The Simple 3-part System You Need To Thrive as an Academic'. She also has quite a few nice resources on her website to help you become more mindful about writing. You can find out more and sign up for the webinar on her website: https://www.ifocusandwrite.com

This week in funding

As I start writing this, I've just finished my application for Anne-Laure Le Cunff's experimental grant as part of Ness Labs. She posted on Twitter earlier this month that because it was her birthday, she will be giving away $850 USD to four people who could come up with a cool experiment.

The research remit is very wide, but Anne-Laure notes the things she is "particularly interested in [such as] anything that can help us make the most of the human mind, individually and as a species."  

Cool stuff, right? I bet you could give it a go - imagine where it could take you?

This week in books

I finished 'Hack Your Hormones' by Davinia Taylor this week. This is an interesting book because it walks the fence between hard core science and popular, easy-reading writing styles. It's a book in which the personality of the author comes through clearly in the writing. Although I'm not a huge fan of Davinia's writing style, she has written it for people who aren't necessarily into the science, but want to live a more healthy lifestyle in tune with your hormones. It's aimed much more at women than men, but it's worth a read if, like me, your hormones tend to rule the roost and you would like to do something about it.

This week in publishing

The Journal of Ecology Art Gallery January edition published some of my collage work this week. Including the piece which might be the front cover of my thesis!

Until next week, happy creating, researching and writing.