Category Archives: study

20 for 2020: week 43

Week of 19 October 2020

My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
Keep tweaking my organising system.

So, how did that go then?
Ask me next week.

On to 20 for 2020
If you read last week’s post, you’ll know I submitted my uni assignment (thing 8) at 11.54 last Sunday night, which was actually 10.54 Queensland time.

My uni is in Queensland . . .

I hadn’t proof read the assignment because I hadn’t left myself enough time, so with the extra hour, I read it through one last time. Maybe two. Maybe . . . I fixed up a couple of formatting glitches, picked up an apostrophe fail and resubmitted it with 15 minutes to spare. So technically, I worked on thing 8 this week.

20201019 The End editThe description of thing 8 is “Successfully complete my uni course and graduate”.

I won’t know if I’ve been successful for a couple of weeks, so I haven’t actually “successfully” completed it. I feel like I can’t cross it off until I know for sure. I mean, I’m confident that I did enough to pass but it’s not my assessment that matters. So, it’s still there, technically undone.

The uni has already told us that the graduation won’t be until next year, which means I can’t actually complete the thing this year. That’s out of my hands but I probably shouldn’t have written it like that.

However, it’s my my list, my rules. I’ve already changed one thing, so I can change this one too. Successfully completing the course equals thing done. The end. Stay tuned.

I didn’t work on any other things this week.

What did I achieve this week?
My regular check in: I stayed up to date with my weekly photojournal and my street corners project.

This is a strange week. We get a regional public holiday for Hobart Show Day on the fourth Thursday of October. The Friday is a student-free day at schools, so a lot of people take that day off too and have a long weekend. This time last year, I spent Show Day (and the following day) at my workplace, working on the second assignment of my uni course, which was due that weekend. It’s funny because one of my colleagues has just started the same course and he was talking about doing this assignment and it brought back memories of that for me. It seems Iike so long ago.

The reason I particularly remember it is that Show Day 2019 was the day I forgot to do a Duolingo lesson because I was so focused on the assignment. Duolingo is an app I’ve been using for maybe five years to reacquaint myself with the languages I learned a long time ago at uni and have fallen sadly out of practice in using.

Up until that day, I’d had a streak of 817 days and I was a little annoyed with myself for breaking it. It’s not a big thing to do. It takes about five minutes to do a lesson and I only need to do one every day to maintain the streak. I know the streak really isn’t that important and it’s the learning that matters, but still, 817 days . . . So this week, I clocked up 365 days, and the milestone reminded me it had been exactly a year.

20201023 365 day streakAnd now, the course is over, and I am free!

It’s taking a little adjustment to get used to this. At the start of the week, I didn’t feel like anything had changed. My head was full of the assignment and, my critical voice was busy trying to tell me all of the things I could have done better and telling me I’d have done a better job if I’d spent more time on it. It said I hadn’t done enough analysis and I hadn’t used enough tools and there was probably a spelling mistake or two in there too. As it’s impossible to change any of that now, I’ve been thanking my critical voice for its suggestions and telling it that it’s really not helpful advice any more and that it can stand down now. (That’s the polite version.)

As the week went on, the thoughts about the assignment started to fade, and the critical voice started to get a bit quieter. Those thoughts started to be replaced by the realisation that I don’t have to do anything. What I do next is entirely up to me. Yes, I have a few neglected tasks I’ve been putting off until I finished the course, but in terms of more big picture stuff, I am totally in control.

And what’s more, I don’t have to make any decisions now. I can just enjoy this time of being free, uncommitted and open to exploring the possibilities. It feels good.

What didn’t go so well?
I’m on holidays this week and half of next week. I don’t need to be organised.

20201023 Port Arthur 158 Morning reading editWhat do I want to do better next week?
Be calm and enjoy my break. Not go back to work on Thursday and get agitated as soon as I walk in the door.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 12 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 1 (8)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (7, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 4 (9, 12, 19, 21)
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 5
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk in the afternoon (Goal = 3 work days): 2 (plus 3)
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 3 work days): 1

20 for 2020: week 15

Week 15: Week of 6 April

My 20 for 2020 list.

I’ve lost count of the number of weeks since we have been in the world of covid-19, where no one is supposed to go out unless they are going to work or school, getting essential supplies or medical treatment, or exercising. People aren’t allowed to gather in groups of more than two unless they are family who live together, shops are closed and streets are a lot more empty than usual. I’ve been in this kind of transition state, where I would prefer to be working from home but haven’t had the technology to do so every day and have needed to keep going to my office two or three days a week. The one day in, one day out has been making me feel quite unsettled, like I’m not really in one place or the other, though I have also been grateful for the change of scenery and the chance to ride my bike on roads that are a lot quieter than normal.

20200406 Centrepoint 1230pm

Centrepoint, Monday 12.30pm

(When I said I wanted to practise riding to work when there were fewer cars around, I didn’t mean I wanted there to be a pandemic that shut the world down and stopped most people going to work. A few rides on weekends and leaving for work earlier would have been quite sufficient, really.)

20200408 Wellington Court

Wellington Court

Anyway, I got the technology update on my laptop that means I can work at home most of the time from now on, so my trips into town for work are going to be a lot less frequent. I think this will help me to feel a bit more settled working from home and to get into more of a routine. Now that I can use my work laptop at home, I’ve set it up on a different desk from my normal computer so I’m hoping that will keep me away from the distractions that my Mac likes to offer up when I’m trying to work.

20200408 Stay home at Easter message from the govenrment

Easter message from the government

I’m also going to start putting into practices some of the things I’ve been learning from Indistractible (thing 13) to try and stay as productive as possible in what is turning out to be a very unusual year.

I got the first set of course material for the next unit of my uni course (thing 8) this week. This is a unit called “Managing Outwards in a Networked Government” and I’m sure they weren’t thinking of remote networks and everyone working from home because of a global pandemic when they came up with that title. It’s going to be interesting to see how this unit goes in the current climate, when the way government does business could change dramatically over the next six months.

I still haven’t sorted out what I want to focus on this month from my monthly review (thing 22) and I’ve been making lists and mind maps and trying to make things link together . . . everything except making a start on anything. I feel like I need to do everything and that I am frittering my days away on make-work rather than actual work. I think I’m falling into the trap of trying to have everything planned out, when I don’t need to. I just need to know the next thing I need to do. And I’m also falling into the trap of feeling like I have to use the extra time I have at home, which isn’t really that much more than normal because I don’t go out much anyway, to do something and learn something and be useful, when what I really need to do is take the opportunity to look after myself, to rest and to not get sick.

At the same time though, there are things I want to be doing and that I can do. My world hasn’t turned so far upside down yet that I can absolve myself of all responsibilities. I have a little time to be doing things I want to do. Striking a balance between being and doing will be important in the coming weeks.

I continued to work on my photo project (thing 1) for 15 minutes every morning. On Friday, which was a public holiday, I decided I wanted to finish it once and for all. I had a few little things to tidy up that I thought would take maybe a couple of hours.


I kept finding little things that weren’t quite right or that I had overlooked. Then I came up with a new idea to include that meant I had to edit some more photos. And then I found that the format of the quotation marks was different in some captions to others . . . By the end of the day, there was only one thing left that was bugging me and I didn’t know how to fix it, so I left it.

20200412 Hinsby Beach 08

Leave it, go out for a walk

I did some more work with it on Saturday but it was late at night by the time I finished. I thought I was ready to have it printed but I decided to have one last look in the morning when I wasn’t as tired and I’m glad I did because there was a huge typo in there! Then when I got to preview the ready-to-print product I decided I didn’t like how some of the pictures looked, so I went back to change them. But I finally said enough was enough and uploaded it and sent it to print.

Done is done. Perfectionism, begone!

I watched a video on how to set up my graphics tablet (thing 17). I imagine that is going to take a bit of getting used to, to use a pen instead of a mouse. One suggestion was to use it exclusively instead of the mouse until you get used to it, which makes sense, but picking it up and putting it down all the time sounds like it would be a bit annoying. But I guess the more I use it, the easier it will be.

20200412 Setting up the tablet

Let’s find out how this works

I also did some work on my dodgy home studio (thing 11), which involve attempting to get wrinkles out of the backdrops, which wasn’t successful. I’ve googled some other ideas to try for that.

20200412 Scoby hotel edit

Sunday kombucha brewing

Bedtime reading (thing 14) seems to have become a thing for me. I didn’t like it before but I seem to have got more used to it now and am quite enjoying it. I guess it’s become part of that evening routine that I’m struggling to develop.

20200412 Light on Eastern Shore 2-Edit-Edit

Sunday afternoon

Summary for the week

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

20 for 2020: week 14

Week of 30 March

My 20 for 2020 list.

Things continue to change in the world at a rapid rate as the covid pandemic wreaks havoc across the world. More and more people from my work are working at home as we are told to stay at home unless we absolutely have to go out for work, to get food or medical supplies or to exercise (alone or with no more than one other person). People are joking that the world of social distancing and staying home is something introverts have been doing for years, and I can relate to that.

20200401 Bus Mall 1001am

Deserted bus mall being cleaned. The construction work is still going on.

Adding a couple more days to my working from home routine is a welcome relief from the noisy open-plan office (which is remarkably not noisy now, because most people aren’t coming in any more). And the weird thing about that is, I have endured the noise for over two years and now it’s so quiet, it’s unnerving because it’s not supposed to be so quiet. And that makes it hard to concentrate. As opposed to weekends when I’ve gone in to study with no one there and been super-productive because on a weekend it’s meant to be like that. It gives me a real sense of unease to be in there at the moment and I’ll be relieved when I don’t need to go in there any more.

20200330 Macquarie & Harrington St 904am 2

Macquarie Street, Monday 30 March 2020, 9.04 am

However, working from home while there are other people there doing the same thing has its own challenges. It seems to make a big difference, just having other people in the house, to how it feels to be there.

20200330 Stay at home

Front page of the Mercury, Monday 30 March 2020

All very small problems compared to the scale of this issue and the chaos, fear and tragedy it’s causing across the world and I’m sure I will find ways to deal with it. I’m grateful that I still have my job and that my workplace is still a safe place to be.

While the schools were still open this week, they asked us to not send our kids if we were able to supervise their learning at home. With at least one parent at home every day, we were in a position to do that. Kramstable has been working on the material set up by his teachers this week, and I’ve been impressed by his ability to make himself a schedule, that includes breaks, and stick to it each day. School holidays will start a week early to give the schools more time to put learning resources online for next term. The school has been great with its communication and I am really impressed with the work everyone is doing to make this as minimally disruptive to the kids as possible. We’re in for an interesting time over the next few months adapting to new ways of learning.

20200331 Frilly pants edit

I can’t ride to work in these pants but they are brilliant house pants

I am trying to hold myself to as much of a routine as I can in this strange world, which means going on my non-negotiable walk every morning at 5.30 (or thereabouts), doing my 15 minutes of creative work, getting dressed, eating breakfast and having movement breaks during the day whether I’m working at home or in the office. I’ve started to add a morning mindfulness activity into the mix to try and keep myself more grounded but I think I might need to work this in a couple of other times during the day.

I’m rolling with my 20 things as best as I can. One of the big ones was completing 30 days alcohol free on Tuesday (thing 5). I did this in March last year for 19 for 2019 and went straight back to drinking almost as soon as I’d finished. I struggled with maintaining drinking in moderate amounts, in not drinking on weeknights, in not drinking late at night . . . and the result was I was feeling really down on myself for not being able to control myself better. I couldn’t understand why I could easily go without a drink for a month but then rarely go one night after that.

This time I did my 30 days in conjunction with the book The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace, which offers you new ways to think about alcohol, why you drink and whether alcohol is really giving you what you want.

20200402 The Alcohol Experiment

The Alcohol Experiment

I was reluctant to try this experiment because I was worried that the result might be I would never want to drink again and (at least I thought) I rather enjoyed drinking. I won’t say too much other than it has completely changed the way I think about alcohol and made me realise that I don’t really want to drink at all right now. Never is a long time, and Annie cautions against committing to never drink again for the rest of your life, so I won’t say I never want to drink again. But right now, especially right now when the temptation might be to drown out the fear and anxiety about what’s happening in the world with alcohol, I don’t want to drink.

The good thing about this book is it asks you to consider what you want to do after the 30 days, not just run you through the 30 days and leave you on your own, which I was when I did my alcohol-free month last year. Being more mindful and informed this year, I think I have a much better chance of not getting back onto that slippery slope that I fell onto last year. For now, I have made the decision not to drink.

20200402 St Davids Park 2

Autumn hasn’t been cancelled

I have been working on my photo project (thing 1) and I’m now into the tidying up stage of it. I’ve been reading before I go to sleep (thing 14), which is not my favourite time to read, but it’s the only time that’s working for me at the moment.

20200401 Walking

Reading about walking

I did a bit more work on my monthly review (thing 22) to try and work out my goals for April. I got a bit lost last week when I did it and am still not sure what I’m tying to do. I feel very unsettled and ungrounded at the moment but I think that’s probably a very common reaction to what’s going on in the world around me, and the fact that the world as I know it is very different to the world I was in this time last month.

20200405 Sunrise Taroona Beach

Walking alone is still allowed

Summary for the week

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

20 for 2020: week 12

Week of 16 March

My 20 for 2020 list.

20200317 Clouds

Dreamy sky

This week has been one of upheaval and uncertainty, and I’m sure everyone else is feeling this too with the daily changes to circumstances resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic. These are strange times, unprecedented in my lifetime, and I have been distracted this week just trying to get my head around what’s happening. (Spoiler: I haven’t got my head around it at all.)

20200318 Closed for business

A sign of things to come

For now, my workplace remains open, and I’ve been dealing with other issues there that came to a head recently and need to be dealt with, regardless of the outside situation. The cumulative result is that I am now working more hours from home as well as putting some other changes in place when I’m at work.

I’ve decide to start riding my bike to work (thing 10) more frequently, which has taken away my bus reading time (thing 14), so I’ve had to be more creative in finding time to read. I must be doing something right because this week I finished reading two books.

My uni assignment (thing 8) is due at the end of next week so I spent a lot of time this week on that. My goal for Saturday was to have a complete draft (aka a final first draft) that I could sit down and refine over Sunday and into next week. Once I’ve finished this assignment, I will be exactly half-way though the course.

20200317 Tuesday morning at the coffee shop

Studying at the coffee shop while I still can

I’ve been working on my photo project (thing 1) every morning after my walk. It’s close to being finished!

I was about to write that I’d stuck some more photo collages in my 2019 photojournal (thing 4) and I only had four left when I decided it was ridiculous to leave four photos for another week. So I got up and stuck them in, and now that thing is done. I’m devoting a bit of time each week to catch up on the previous week’s photos so that I don’t get so far behind again. So far, it’s working.

I had a look at chapter 19 of Indistractable (thing 13), which is about clearing off your computer desktop and getting rid of unnecessary notifications. My desktop on my home computer is already relatively clear. I have one folder on it, which is the project I’m currently working on. At work, however, it’s a different story. A lot of what’s on there is part of the “official” desktop and I can’t get rid of it but there was a heap of documents I’d saved there that were cluttering it up. I tried to delete them but hey kept going back and I had no idea why. I finally made a call to IT to find out what was going on and learned it had to do with my roaming profile, and I needed to delete them from that as well as from the desktop, which I have now done and my desktop is, while not completely clutter-free, a lot clearer.

And I have now completed two weeks alcohol-fee (thing 5).

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 1 (4)
  • Things completed to date: 6 (4, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 5 (1, 5, 8, 13 14)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 4 (3, 7, 11, 22)
  • Things not started: 7 (2, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit this week: 7.
  • Days I scheduled (and did) 50 or 25 minute blocks of time to work on my projects: None. But I did several unscheduled blocks.
  • Days I read on the bus on the way to work (or another time for at least 15 minutes):  7.

20 for 2020: week 5

Week of 27 January

I was on leave this week and fully expected to spend it hanging out with Kramstable, doing some work on my uni course, and working on some of my photo projects.

20200127 Scoby city edit

If you ever wondered what happens to a kombucha scoby when you leave it alone for four months, I found out so you don’t have to. Also, the chickens love it.

I didn’t anticipate that I would be spending a lot of the week dealing with a family issue and that my plans were going to unravel.

The first thing to disappear was my 15 minutes a day working on my photo project (thing 1) as recommended in the creative kickstart course (thing 6). My plan, as I explained in week 2, was to set aside 15 minutes every morning after I return from my (non-negotiable) walk to work on a creative project. The aim was to make this as non-negotiable as walking is, but it hasn’t clicked yet. I guess I’m still in the early stages, and thinking how much of a struggle it was to get back into walking after I stopped for a couple of weeks, and acknowledging the difficulties of the moment, I don’t want to be too hard on myself. I just have to keep trying. This week I did it two days out of seven, which is better than no days out of seven. It’s 30 minutes I wouldn’t have otherwise done.

20200127 UTas Chemistry 11-Edit

Monday morning photowalk

This is the second official week of my second uni unit (thing 8). I sat in on a webinar with the lecturer early in the week to discuss the work we need to do before our first face to face workshop and for our first assignment, which is due on 9 February. I started work on the assignment and am feeling pretty overwhelmed by it all right now. I have a lot more to do and the unexpected events haven’t helped. I have to keep reminding myself that I can only do what I can do, it doesn’t have to be perfect and what is most important is the learning, not the grade I get. (I struggle with this idea. A lot.)

I completed all the remaining photo collages from 2019 (thing 4), so now I have to print them and stick them in the book. I think all up I’ll have about 26 collages to trim and stick. A boring task for when I’m really bored. I also completed the first four weeks of 2020 and have to figure out a way to keep this work up to date so I’m not left with weeks and weeks to do at a time. That might actually mean trying to make it a weekly habit rather than hoping it gets done and ending up weeks behind like I have been. How does that sound for someone who can’t stick to a schedule? This needs some more thinking.

I reviewed the work I’ve done so far on the creative kickstart course. The “just 15 minutes” is the main takeaway I have so far.  I worked through two more days of the material (Days 12 and 13).

Thing 22 (of 20, yeah, I know) was to commit to and do the monthly review in Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year workbook, which is intended as a prompt to remind me to actually keep what I’ve said I’m going to do this year at the front of my mind rather than complete the workbook and forget about it for the rest of the year.

I wasn’t sure what a monthly review would look like, so on Sunday I grabbed the book and went to my local coffee shop to reflect. I made a note of the main events of the month and completed the sections on what I’ve been grateful for that month and what you’ve learned. Following that are some reflection questions that are different each month, so I jotted down some responses and made a list of action steps to take as a result. I flipped through the workbook and had a look at everything I had written and started to feel overwhelmed because there were all these grand ambitions but no real plan to put them into action. Not how I wanted to feel.

20200202 Monthly review at the Picnic Basket edit

Sunday morning

I decided to let that go for now and try to focus my attention on the most important thing at the moment (other than the family issue), my assignment. At the moment it’s the thing on my to-do list that is weighing most heavily on me. I feel like until I can get everything I want to say out of my head (and out of the readings) and onto the page so that I can sit down and start to edit it, I’m going to continue to feel feeling scattered and light headed. I’m recognising a pattern here in every assignment I do, and I’m not sure if there is another way to do this, or accept it’s just the way I do things and to roll with it.

Summary for the week
• Things completed this week: 0
• Things completed to date: 2 (10, 18)
• Things I progressed: 4 (4, 6, 8, 22)
• Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (1, 3, 13, 14, 16)
• Things not started: 11 (2, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21)