colin's blog

Posted Wed 30 May 2018

Struggles

I find fairly frequently that my preferred habits go in cycles. That means that inevitably I am either high or low in energy and outlook, and it taints my relationships and has a tendency to lead to going either higher or lower.

This is all to be expected. You cannot possibly live perfectly even keeled all the time. But I think the goal I have for the application of philosophy to my life is to smooth those out as best I can. How to measure my effectiveness is a whole other kettle of fish.

The last few weeks at work I've gotten myself into a low point, through a very common mechanism. I got behind on some work, didn't use my time effectively at the beginning, and then wound up having to complete by a relatively arbitrary deadline. I get it. Businesses need work to be completed, there are goals we're supposed to hit, and product expectations. And yet, I was doing what I often do and beating myself up mentally about not being able to get it done.

I wish I could say that I finally figured out how to get it done reasonably and met the goals set out for me with time to spare. Instead, I ended up spending one very long night sprinting towards the finish line with it. I paid for that lost night of sleep with a lack of productivity for a few days afterward. But I got it done and I'm ready to move on.

What I did do differently this time, was in all the days leading up to that crunch day, I didn't let the lack of work or productivity tear me down. For the most part, I kept my personal expectations reasonable and got to bed at mostly reasonable times. I continued to read, write and run, the things that keep me sane. And I did not pretend the work was done and set myself up for failure.

The progress I made here was less about finally cracking the code about not getting myself stuck behind the 8-ball. Because I did that. But I did not sweat and worry while I was back there. Perhaps the next step is acknowledging that when I have a big piece of new work to build out, I'm going to have to use some late night focus time to get it done, and do that early in the project so all the little bugfixes can be done at the usual time.

Category: Thoughts
Tags: philosophy living stoicism