I’ve been pondering what 2018 was and I’ve decided it was the year of wading through muck. It wasn’t all bad, wading suggests movement ...

I’ve been pondering what 2018 was and I’ve decided it was the year of wading through muck. || wading through the muck has advantages if you know where to look
It wasn’t all bad, wading suggests movement and a destination and those few magnificent moments when after an eternity of yanking at your gumboot and straining against a downward pulling force, the boot and your warmly encased foot comes free to hang momentarily mid-air before being planted tenderly, gingerly on the next unstable, wobbly piece of ground where it will either hold or sink once more. The latter, though marked with a sharp stab of disappointment, is not entirely a loss because you’ve been here before and know what needs doing.

The wading and muck of the past year has not even been the worst kind of wading, or muck. I haven’t been wallowing in the deep troughs of life’s peaks and valleys but rather somewhere on the uphill slope. That’s a good thing, right? The climb up is always hard and means somewhere in my future is a high point and an easy coasting, along a ridge and not steeply, hurtling awkwardly down the other side, one hopes. There have also been lookouts where I’ve been able to stop, catch my breath and take in the view thus far, and that view is one I am pretty pleased with. Basically a good job, the means to live a full and nourishing life, an unexpected realisation I have excellent work-life balance, good health, purpose in my days, a delightfully quirky, sometimes puzzling family and equally quirky, less puzzling, friends.

Now, I am guessing you probably pulled up at life-work balance, Am I right? My tip is to work four days. Simple. Three days felt like an avalanche of failure across every single project and professional relationship. I was constantly apologising for not being available, not being up to speed because I’d missed meetings on the days I wasn’t at work or, worse, apologising for being constantly behind. I was doing terrible work because everything was a rush. I quantified across a working week, I was spending about 15mins on most projects, outside of meetings, each week. Nothing was moving. Nothing was signed off and done. Decisions were poor. The work was poor and I thought I’d made the worst decision of my career when teams were offered redundancies in May and I chose not to take one. 

Add one day to the working week, a day I was doing in my own time anyway, and I am now across my workload, can see clearly what decisions need to be taken and what I can apply a big, fat old, ’no stick’ to, I've mapped out my priorities for the coming three months, goals for the three months beyond that and mapped out my workload for the year. I’m finishing work, I’m meeting deadlines again and colleagues feel they can approach me without having to make a peace offering on the way to my desk, often hands in the air and with a nervous eye on the fastest route away from me. 

Are you wading through muck, or on the climb up with a pretty good view? 
Have you got a top tip for carving out a decent work-life balance? 

Here’s what else I am up to, or reading, this week:

I am heading here with my sister for the weekend 
Seven steps for a better world from perennial do-gooders 
What a pretty textile this unexpected image makes
Do I know someone with a 3D printer 
I was going to do away with them, but I think I'll keep mine

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  1. Enjoy Radelaide Kate! I love this Broadsheet link, so many cool places. I spent a lot of my younger years there but don't get back much these days. It is a beautiful city. Work/life/kids balance is an ongoing juggling act, your thoughts are interesting as always.