Category Archives: spring

20 for 2020: week 32

Week of 3 August

My 20 for 2020 list.

20200803 Hinsby Beach 10

Why is that photographer coming back from the beach with a giant lens? Ohhhh! There’s a giant pink full moon out there! Why didn’t I bring my camera out?

We got the reading material for our final unit of the uni course (thing 8) on Monday. I spent a couple of hours organising the material and making a study plan so I know what I need to do over the next 11 weeks. I’m trying to be more organised with this unit so that I can get more out of it than I did the last one.

 

I have three weeks to work through the first three modules (there are six) before our face to face workshop. I thought that working through a topic in each module a day (most of them have five topics) would be a good pace. That would mean I’d need to set aside roughly an hour a day to work on it.

That sounded fine in theory, but finding that hour wasn’t as easy as I thought. I found myself drifting through my days without a plan and finishing the day without having done any of the work, so by Saturday morning, when I wanted to have completed the first module, I’d done exactly no readings.

It’s amazing how easy it is to not do the work when there is no real consequence of not doing it. I found with the assignment in the last unit, I could focus on that all day because I had to do it, there was a hard deadline, and there were major consequences of not doing it (i.e. failing the unit). Whereas with the course reading material, it’s all self-directed and you are responsible for doing it: there’s no one to check up on you, nothing to hand in and no mark at the end.

Clearly, if I want to get something out of this unit, this isn’t the way to do it, so I made it a priority on the weekend to complete the first module and to schedule regular time each day to work on the material. This fits in nicely with the work I am doing to better organise my workload at work and to try and prevent my role of being that annoying person in the branch who manages all the coordination requests (I mean, being my branch’s coordination superhero) leaking over into the rest of my day and affecting my ability to focus on the projects I’m supposed to be doing.

That’s a whole other story and perhaps I’ll write a post about it one day, once I get it worked out.

The other thing I need to do for uni is to decide on a workplace project and get started on planning that so I can hand in my draft project plan next week. This project will decide my final mark so there is a real consequence of not doing that. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about since the start of the course back in September 2019 but now it’s time to take my thoughts and put them into something that I’m actually doing to do. I have ten weeks to plan it, do it and report on it. No pressure, then.

20200803 Cherry blossom 1

Spring started to spring . . .

I didn’t hear back from the sewing machine people (thing 2), so I’m not sure where that’s at.

I had a conversation with one of my workmates this week, which turned into a conversation about our art (she’s a proper artist who has actually had shows). I was telling her about my Photoshop work (thing 7) and a vague idea for a project I want to do but how I feel a bit overwhelmed about getting stuck into it because it’s all so new and there is so much to learn. She said the same thing to me as I’ve heard and read so many times that it should be ingrained into my mind and something that I just do. That is, it doesn’t matter what you do, just do something. Make a commitment to do just one thing every day. She said for her it might be something as small as making a decision on the thickness of a hem. And she said that sometimes just doing one thing will lead you to do something else and something else and, before you know it, you might have completed a piece. Which is great. Or it might not, which is fine too because you’ll still be one step further than you were before you did it.

That’s the point of my 15 minutes a day creative habit. Just like my uni work, I need to schedule this and then actually do it. I know I can’t commit to doing huge chunks of the Photoshop course during the next ten weeks. I’ve already agreed with myself that I can’t possibly take on two huge study projects at the same time and that the Photoshop work is going to take a back seat for now. But 15 minutes a day, I can do that if for no other reason to reinforce to myself that I am creative and that I make art. Even if it’s bad art. To quote photographer David duChemin, everyone starts ugly. But without the ugly start, you’re never going to make anything beautiful.

I went back over my monthly review and picked up on the things I didn’t quite get through when I did it last week. In particular, I wanted to set some goals for August:

  • Complete all of the readings for Unit 4.
  • Decide on a workplace project and submit the proposal.
  • Commit to 15 minutes a day to creating something.
  • Finish two chapters of a book I’m working through.
20200804 Davey & Murray St 503pm-1

. . . and winter hit back

I also decided to ask myself three questions at the end of each week:

What did I do well or what did I achieve this week?
I can’t think of anything.

I need to pay attention to small wins and accomplishments to remind myself of the good things I did. And knowing I’m going to be writing about it each week is going to inspire me to think of at least one thing I did well . . . it’s going to look like I’m pretty down on myself if I only write about what didn’t go well!

Actually, now I think of it, I did do something well. I overcame my fear of speaking in meetings and contributed to a national meeting of about 40 people, most of whom I’ve never had anything do with, on a subject I am not very familiar with.

What didn’t go so well?
I’m still struggling with going to bed on time and getting up with the alarm instead of lying about in bed for half an hour or more. My Fitbit sleep scores are mid-80s. I want this to improve.

What do I want to do better next week?
Start packing up at 10.15. Set a reminder for this.

Schedule time to create something every day and actually do it.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 11 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (8, 22)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (2, 7, 11, 13, 17)
  • Things not started: 4 (9, 12, 19, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 3
  • Days I read a book: 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches: 0
  • Days I was in bed by 10.30: 6

Challenge 5: Fix what bugs you

This challenge has its origin in several places.

I’ve been reading Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, in which he talks of the circle of concern (which is everything we care about) and the circle of influence (which is everything we have control over or influence on). He recommends undertaking a 30-day proactivity challenge, where you work only in your circle of influence, on things you have control over, rather than getting caught up on things that concern you but which you can’t do anything about.

Along the same lines, a recent email challenge over at Hey Kendra was to go for 24 hours without complaining. Kendra says that while complaining has some rewards, (because it feels good to vent and can help us bond with other people who have the same complaints), it has downsides if you do it a lot. For example, you look like someone who isn’t in control of their life; people can get sick of you if you complain a lot and you can attract other complainers into your life. Kendra puts it like this: “we have perfected the art of fine whining”.

This is something I’d already started to focus on, because I started thinking that, unless other people have the same issue as I have, they really aren’t interested in the little things I complain about.

I committed to not complaining for 24 hours for Kendra’s challenge, and didn’t even last half a day! Some things (that are totally outside my circle of influence) really push my buttons. But on reflection, they aren’t worth the energy it takes to complain about them.

Kendra says the challenge is to focus on solutions – and if you have nothing positive to say, say nothing. And this leads us to the final piece of the puzzle that is Challenge 5 in my year of #steppingonthecracks.

This came from a recent podcast from Asian Efficiency, with Paul Akers from which I got the big takeaway “fix what bugs you”. This could possibly be the best advice I’ve heard all year.

Putting all of this together, my next 30 day challenge is: If there’s something that’s pissing me off to first ask myself if there’s anything I can do about it. If not – let it go.

If yes – fix it. It probably takes as much energy to fix a niggling little problem as it does to whinge about it, and the difference is that fixing it means it’s no longer a problem, whereas whinging about it has used the same energy and the problem still exists.

If it’s not something I can fix straight away (the two-minute rule might be useful here – if it can be done in under two minutes, do it right away, don’t leave it), at least make an action plan to get onto fixing it.

Example: Last week I was in the kitchen and the bin liner had come away from the sides of the bin and was making it difficult to put stuff in the bin. You know, when you dump something heavy in the bin first up and it pulls the whole thing down.

Other person, looking at the bin: “That bin liner isn’t very useful like that”.

Me: *Pulls out the bin and straightens up the bin liner.* *Gives self gold star for fixing instead of pointing it out and doing nothing.*

This is the kind of stuff I’m talking about.

I’ll have to be very careful on Twitter, since that’s where most of my complaints are aired. If you catch me complaining in the next 30 days without having a plan to fix the issue, feel free to call me out on it! #fixwhatbugsyou

My goal will be to find at least one thing each day that I might have complained about and fixed instead.

And in case I felt inclined to complain about the weather, a reminder that spring is coming:

20160812 Pretty at St David's Park

 

12 of 12 September 2015

A boring Saturday at home. The first day of my “let’s try getting up earlier and doing some things I have to do in the morning instead of lazing around and then having to rush out the door at swimming time because I couldn’t be bothered having breakfast and getting dressed until 10 minutes before we had to leave, and having all the things not done at the end of the day.”

20150912-02 Early morningThat seemed to go well.

1 of 12 – It’s been a cold winter. Really cold. Just lately there have been signs it’s coming to an end, but we all know that this is just a teaser before we’re plunged back into freezing temperatures. But for the next couple of days, it’s going to be really nice. Forecast top today: 20 degrees, actual top: 22 degrees. Quite a contrast with where we’ll be in two weeks.

1 of 12

1 of 12

2 of 12 – Juniordwarf volunteered to make us coffee this morning. He used to do it all the time a couple of years ago but fell out of the habit. Unfortunately the coffee machine goes through temperamental phases, which makes coffee very hit and miss. Today was one of those days.

2 of 12

2 of 12

3 of 12 – One of the things Juniordwarf does is help make breakfast when we have eggs. Now that the chooks are laying again, we’ve got a good supply. Fresh eggs, sautéed kale and my favourite bread from Pigeon Whole. Nice way to start the day. And yes, I do have my breakfast on Juniordwarf’s “Bunnykins” plate.

3 of 12

3 of 12

4 of 12 – I had to prune back this boronia (I think) bush because it was in the way of me being able to see where the chooks are. By “prune” I means chopping off anything in my line of vision. Note to self: clean kitchen window.

4 of 12

4 of 12

5 of 12 –Swimming lesson day.

5 of 12

5 of 12

Remember a couple of months ago when I didn’t have anything to take photos of so I went for a walk around town. (It was actually May) Here are some updates.

6 of 12 – Not so much an update as something totally new. This building has been a couple of restaurants since we’ve been here, but has been empty for several years. Looks like it will be back in use again soon.

6 of 12

6 of 12

7 of 12 – Lees Corner. The old site of Banjo’s, the lolly shop and Sintonic, which burnt down in 2012, and has sat unused since. They are now making it into a small park until the owners decide what to do with it. The work started in May. Apparently it was supposed to be finished by the end of May.

7 of 12

7 of 12

8 of 12 – Happy springtime!

8 of 12

8 of 12

9 of 12 – Old cottage, meet new hardware store. Bad luck if you want any light. In May this was the site of lots of puddles and diggers. It used to be the site of old fruit packing sheds.

9 of 12

9 of 12

10 of 12 – Anyone want to buy an old supermarket?

10 of 12

10 of 12

11 of 12 – This is the latest addition to the Willow Court site – new gates in front of the old Barracks. (I know. It’s been there several months. There are conflicting opinions on the suitability of this style for a historic site.)

11 of 12

11 of 12

12 of 12 – We are very lucky to be able to have Two Metre Tall Beer-fed Beef delivered to our front door.

12 of 12

12 of 12

P365 – Day 237 – I did not speak too soon

I did not speak too soon . . . I did not speak too soon . . .
So OK, after a glorious morning, at lunchtime the weather decided it was winter time again, the temperature dropped by several degrees, the wind started blowing (up to 109 km per hour according to my handy weather app), the clouds and rain moved in . . . we had gale warnings and road weather alerts, and someone at work mentioned the words ‘highland snow’.
What a perfect opportunity to have another go at photographing a tree in a puddle, after my dismal effort last time.
This one worked a lot better.
And as for the weather, well it was a typical Tassie ‘four seasons in one day’ day. Well two seasons, at least.

P365 – Day 236 – spring has sprung

Last week one of my workmates was saying how lovely it was that spring was finally here: the weather was warming up, the spring bulbs were in bloom and it was still light at 5 pm.
Another colleague insisted that it wasn’t spring yet; that there was still two weeks of winter left.
Nonsense, replied colleague 1. The weather decides when it’s spring. Not the calendar.
I fall into that camp too.
If it feels like spring, looks like spring, behaves like spring, then it’s spring. Who cares what the calendar says?
One of the things I love about spring in Hobart is the circles of daffodils and/or jonquils that are planted at the base of some of the trees in St David’s Park. I don’t know how long they’ve been there, but I think they look wonderful. 
I have no doubt that we’ll be shocked by at least one more cold snap (at least!) before the weather really warms up, but for now it’s just beautiful, and begs to be taken advantage of. I wonder if my boss would be open to the idea of having our staff meetings in the park . . .
Further proof that it’s spring is that today we got back home much later than normal, and I went outside to get something that I needed to get dry off the clothesline. I’d hung the washing out last night knowing it wouldn’t be dry when we got home today, because as soon as the sun goes down and the cold sets in, the washing starts to get damp again. Except it hadn’t. It was all totally dry.
It’s an evening you might almost describe as ‘warm’, with clear skies and a great view of the stars.
A beautiful night.

A beautiful spring night.

P365 – Day 227 – it’s getting ligher

This morning, as I left the house at 6.30, I noticed it wasn’t pitch black like it has been over the past few months.
The faint glimmer of light made it ever so slightly more pleasant to be heading off to work so early.
Fast forward to this evening when I was leaving work, and it was still light.
Spring is coming, and the signs are getting more obvious every day.

P365 – Day 223 – spring is nearly here!

It’s still pretty wintery, but the days are slowly getting longer, it’s not quite as cold in the mornings and there are signs of life starting to emerge.

No doubt we’re in for one or two more cold snaps before we say goodbye to winter (and then, of course, our customary freeze in December), but at least now we can see there’s light at the end of the tunnel.