Two years gone. Yikes!

July is actually a great time for me to take stock. Not only is it the anniversary of my career break but it conveniently marks the middle of the calendar year. And it’s been a funny year so far. So many unexpected things came up which meant I didn’t get as much accomplished as I’d hoped. In fact I’ve made so little progress with my goals and resolutions, I’ve forgotten what they were.

Little things around the house have been completed but not really in a purposeful way. Often I suddenly get the urge to organise something and I do it. And I guess there’s nothing dreadfully wrong with this method since it does get things done, but there’s always the risk I’m doing procrastinating projects.

I’ve been reflecting on why I’m struggling with motivation during my career break whereas at work I was incredibly efficient and productive. I know being at work is different from being home all day but the basic core of productivity shouldn’t change that much. I’ve identified the main issues –

First I work much better when I have a deadline. I will always meet an externally set deadline. I don’t always meet self-set deadlines but if I announce them to work colleagues, making myself accountable, then I usually meet them. I need to set myself some deadlines for my home projects and find a way to be held accountable. I did think posting on social media would help with accountability, but not so much.

The second issue is I’m basically lazy. My work was cerebral in nature so even if the final product was a presentation or paper most of the work was completed in my head prior to writing. My home organisation projects require some physical exertion and even a minimal amount of effort can stop me in my tracks. To counter my inherent laziness I may need to introduce either a stick or a carrot.

I did the #OneBookJuly2015 challenge on YouTube which tries to get planning back to basics.

I’m planning to do an update video this week but suffice to say, I’m definitely not a one planner person. I’m currently reading and listening to David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I’ve been thinking I need to set up some kind of project notebook but I haven’t decided exactly what I need from it. Sometimes I feel it’s so grandiose using the term ‘project’ for the kind of things I need to do but as a method of thinking about the collection of all actions which have more than one step it really fits the bill.

I’m pretty sure one of my words for this year was ‘Creativity’ and this is the one area I have definitely let slip. I haven’t even done any writing or thought about writing for months. I’m more ‘right-brained’ than I thought so I’m going to make creative projects a priority for the rest of the year. Probably. It seems like a general goal reset is necessary so who knows what the outcome of my navel-gazing will be.

I did have one major achievement recently. I completed a 5K Race For Life. Since I hadn’t done any exercise until about 3 weeks before my race (see earlier comment about being lazy) there was some doubt about whether I would finish the course at all but I managed to part jog/part walk the 5K in 40 minutes. Yay me. The other benefit is I realised I quite enjoy running so now I’m doing the NHS Choices Couchto5K programme to get me running for 30 minutes.

And finally, and most importantly, my family. My son is now 14 and we seem to be navigating the teenage years quite safely so far. I really believe my time at home has helped cement our relationship. He’s visibly happier and now willingly takes part in family activities; he even instigated a shopping trip for clothes. He has a very dry sarcastic sense of humour – a true mini-me despite being 6 inches taller. My 10 year old daughter on the other hand already seems to have developed the tantrums and teenager’s sense of fairness. However she’s still very much a mummy’s girl and as she gets older she is developing many of the same interests as me.

I may a feel unproductive and a little bit useless, and I may be making no progress on my goals, but because my family was the reason I took a career break, overall I can’t view the past year as anything but a success.