Relaxing at the End of My Degree

I’m drinking a latte in a café at the Hidden Gardens. I am not doing any Open University work today, despite a looming assignment deadline and the final exam in a few weeks. I was at Crossfit this morning, I’m here this afternoon, and I’m going to a Passover demonstration tonight. This might seem like a strange approach for someone who is determined to succeed in their degree…

I can achieve a surprising amount in a short space of time, if it has my full attention – far more so than in a full day of distracted effort. I can do two or three hours of academic work (of the focused kind) before my concentration and productivity sharply decline. Sometimes I will push on for longer, filling the later hours with less strenuous tasks. And then I’m done.

I have heard people say, ‘Don’t manage your time; manage your energy.’ This advice has been incredibly helpful to me. I’ve stopped beating myself up when I can’t Continue reading

Just Shut Up


I’m writing this in bed at 4.15 on Friday afternoon. I was supposed to be writing my assignment for most of the day. Things are not going to plan.

I got up early, quickly started working, took regular breaks, and made progress – I was half way through the word count. But it was barely lunchtime when exhaustion hit.

For all my obsessive organisation and ‘motivational talk’, I have huge issues with working. I used to struggle to get anything done at all, partly because of health problems and low stamina, but mainly because of laziness and fear of failure!

As much as I have learnt to focus on the positive ways forward, it’s times like these when I find myself remembering those negative traits. I start to fight them head on which, in my experience, only gives them a stronger hold. And yet I’ve fallen head first into doing just that. Continue reading

How to Procrastinate

It’s taken me a while to write this post, but at least that’s in keeping with the topic! Today I got on with it straight away, so I hope I’m not beginning to lose the fine art of Procrastination. They said they’d make a degree in the subject before too long. We’re still waiting…

For many people procrastination is a naturally-acquired skill, but if you feel at risk of starting a pressing task then these are some quick and easy remedies. Here are my top tips: Continue reading

Being Kind to Yourself

I’ve had an unusually hectic couple of weeks juggling scout music camp preparation, academic work, and commitments with family and friends. I’m out of routine and behind on a few things, and I tend to beat myself up about that. People often give the, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself,’ advice, but it’s easier said than done!

As I went into the New Year I decided to be gentler with myself and not take on more than I could handle. It was hard to do that with the busyness of last week. I didn’t have a free evening or weekend. I didn’t do any reading. I barely wrote anything. I didn’t manage to do a blog post. I was emotional and tearful.

Now I’m tired and trying to remember what ‘normal life’ is like, and how to get back to it. Instead of letting it worry me I’m doing my best to accept it and keep calm. I have to remember what I do if a friend is stressed, busy, and struggling to keep on top of everything. I try to be understanding, gentle, and feed them coffee and chocolate at regular intervals! Yet somehow it’s harder to give yourself that kind of consideration. Continue reading

January Anxiety

January is tough. I always tell myself that the start of the year will be good and it never quite happens.

I love Christmas. I love staying at home with my family and spending time off together. Turning the corner into January I can see the entire year stretching out in front, and that intimidates me. I plan some of the things I’m going to do, I get my work things organised, and brace myself for getting back to normal. Continue reading

Planning My Rest

I had a day off on Saturday.

It’s rare that I don’t have something I need to do, or something I specifically want to achieve – a writing agenda, a reading agenda, an exercise agenda, or maybe an idea for band. As a result, if I don’t plan myself some time off then it’s never going to happen.

As we moved into the New Year I was thinking that I rarely give myself time to breathe. I thought about everything I do and wondered if I’d feel better if I stopped doing some of it. The autumn term wasn’t particularly stressful, but it meant that I had time to fill with other projects, including finishing a first draft of my book. I ended up as busy as ever. It was satisfying, but at the same time I found I couldn’t wait for a couple of weeks off at Christmas. Continue reading