Time Flying By

I’ve always (as far as I can remember) had the feeling that time went by too fast — except maybe during some long, unending summer holidays when I was a kid or young teenager. I’ve been thinking about that recently. What makes time seem to go by “too fast” is simply that I’m frustrated that I have accomplished what I thought I would in a given timeframe.

What makes it so difficult to evaluate what can be done in a day? How can I change my way of projecting myself in the future to be more realistic, or even better, pessimistic? Gosh, imagine if the story in my head went like this: “Wow, this was supposed to take all day, and I did it in 3 hours! I have lots of free time to do other stuff in, or relax!”

But that never happens. What happens is: “OK, I’ll be reasonable, and plan to write this blog post and send this e-mail today, even though I feel I should be able to do more in a day.” And at the end of the day, I’ve maybe written the blog post, but I haven’t sent the e-mail — or vice-versa — leaving me with a feeling of failure rather than accomplishment.

Just to make things clear: I’m not concerned about the “project management” aspect of evaluating how much time things take. I know that most of the time, we just can’t evaluate that correctly. What interests me is why we (or at least I) systematically over-evaluate what can be done in a day.

Not Fooling Myself

Some random stuff I’ve understood about the way I function, over the years, and things I need to pay attention to so that I don’t slide down slippery jungle paths.

For some reason, I seem to have this strange belief that if there’s something I need to do that I don’t quite feel like doing, it’ll go away if I ignore it — or I’ll magically feel like doing it later on. Things like doing the washing-up, taxes, but also cooking food, etc. I keep having to remind myself that no, I won’t feel like doing the washing up any more than right now if I go back to what I was doing and wait. One mechanism of procrastination debugged (well, it still pops up, but it’s a known bug).

A lot of my hardships in life come from a tendency to treat everything as a matter of life and death. Sometimes, simply remembering to treat a difficult situation as an “experiment”, to “see what happens” (rather than “succeed at all costs”), is enough to help me wind down and screw my head back on (not literally, but you see what I mean). A slightly more specific version of “take three steps back”, I guess.

Here We Go!

I’m all packed, I have a little less than five hours of sleep left before the alarm rings, and I’ve (gasp!) had dinner.

I’m off to Ireland, Texas, and California for a near-to-four-week trip. My favourite catsitter will be taking care of Bagha during my absence.

I’ll have access to the internet during my travels, of course, but as I’ll be mighty busy with conferences and the like, you can expect me to be even less responsive than usual. Yes, it’s possible.

Morning Rituals

Let me tell you, there is something to be said for taking a shower first thing in the morning to wake up. And using that woozy wake-up time in the bathroom rather than in front of the computer.

Having been freed of the “wake up, shower, get dressed, breakfast, brush teeth” morning ritual since I became self-employed over 18 months ago, I think I’m on the verge of reclaiming that ritual for myself. I’d already noticed a few months back that it made a real difference, and then I slipped out of it again.

As we’re talking of morning rituals, I’ve recently started doing nasal irrigation (basically, letting saline water run in one nostril and out the other to clean the nose) — and my, do I wish I’d discovered this 15 years ago.

Let me explain: I’m allergic to dust-mites, which isn’t a huge deal in itself, apart from the fact I tend to run about with a permanently runny nose and a pack of hankies all year around. I’m also rather fragile in the upper respiratory department, so I get a lot of colds and stuff.

Well, since I started using a neti pot (see demo video), I’ve basically stopped having to carry tissues with me. Like… I went from blowing my nose 10 times a day to zero.

A few tips if you’re tempted, from the two links above and my personal experience — and if you have any kind of nose/sinus problem, I would definitely recommend that you give it a try.

  • use warm-but-not-too-hot water (should feel nice and warm on the hand without being hot)
  • don’t salt too much (my neti pot came with special de-iodized salt, and instructions say one flat teaspoon)
  • don’t blow your nose, specially blocking one nostril, to get the water out — just blow gently through both nostrils and do the exercises at the end of the video (you’d be surprised how much water your nose can hold when you thought it was empty)
  • if it hurts badly, something could be wrong — better check with a doctor
  • if water starts running out of your mouth, don’t panic and keep breathing and just let it happen — your position might be slightly off (no big deal, with some practice you’ll figure it out for yourself)

I had a nasty cold this week and though at times I was so congested things seemed hopeless, I have the impression nasal irrigation really helped me get through it faster, without it getting worse, and with less cold meds than usual. So, it seems it helped with that too.

Some News

So, a little news for those who might care. I had a blood test done recently because I suspected I had anaemia again, and my suspicions were correct. That explains why I feel so exhausted, tired, worn-out, fall ill, and can’t seem to really get back on my feet. As this seems to be a recurring problem, we’re trying to figure out the cause, which is probably digestive.

I’ll spare you the gory details about how they try to figure out if your stomach is too acid and hindering good iron absorption, but I’m not dealing very well with this kind of exam.

Aside from that, things are a bit… complicate/difficult in my person life [insert comments about dealing with inner demons, etc.].

I’m trying to reposition myself on the job market a little, because I have the feeling the market isn’t really ready for some of the stuff I’d really like to be doing. It’s more “refocus” rather than reposition, actually. No drastic change, but trying to see (and state) a bit clearer what I’m offering to my clients. There’s also the company and related projects, but I’m having trouble putting as much energy as I’d like into it right now because of what I just explained above.

So, in short, nothing really serious, but rather rough times. Should be better in a couple of weeks, though.

What Am I Doing Now?

Not much posting or online activity these days, you might have noticed. I’m nursing the nasty cold which has taken over my lungs, throat, nose and brain, and I have about 3 proposals to finish writing up and sending to clients. Then, of course, a whole lot of other things in the GTD pipeline, but I’d rather not think about it, to be honest. “Cross that bridge when you come to it”, that kind of stuff.

Today I feel that my cold has freed enough of my brain for me to get to work. Luckily I don’t have to speak or dictate (my hands are doing good these days, thanks to my magician osteopath) because my throat is still really sore and my ears are ringing. Oh well, a cold, you know.

For those of you who asked about Bagha: he’s doing great! He finished his last series of interferon shots, and the last two times the vet saw him he said he was in really great shape. We just tested him for hyperthyroidism as it’s quite common in older cats and he’s lost a little weight. I need to remember to call back next week to get the results. Bagha will get back at writing in his diary — unfortunately I’ve been a bit busy (being stressed, or travelling) to help him out with the typing (don’t tell him you know, but he can’t really manage the key with those paws of his).

Stuff Done


  • went through my tax papers, found mistakes, called accountant
  • did some finance archaeology (successful!)
  • kitty injection
  • worked for CIAO
  • added a few more things in my calendar
  • bought Lush stuff!
  • filed and printed some web pages for The Book


  • call with prospective client
  • get back on track with FMEL
  • kitty injection
  • maybe shopping & trip to taylor’s
  • osteopath (hands… better earlier than late!)
  • roller-blading

Life is Fun

So, (you can dig all this out from Twitter, but I’m too lazy tonight to do all the linking) I’m quite happy with these last two days.

After a particularly grey and boring day on Thursday, I had an epiphany: I needed to do more fun things. I had been traipsing around town and in museums (not particularly dull, but not particularly exciting) alone all day, and obviously, this was not for me.

So, quick thought. What do I find fun? Well, actually, doing stuff with people. So, I decided to get organised and spend my time with people instead of “visiting Frankfurt because I’m there and I’ve never been there and so I should visit”. However, I have to keep in mind that I’m a little overworked these days (despite being far from making piles of cash right now, that’s what happens when you’re freelance), so this will have to be “non work-related people” or existing friends. But… it worked, and I had two (and a half!) lovely days in Frankfurt after my rather depressing first contact with the publishing world.

Today I also did three things I’m quite happy about (I can’t remember if it’s in the Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun or elsewhere, but I once heard “do one thing a day that scares you”):

– asked a couple of teenagers playing with cellphone ringtones or something to turn it down (twice, because it didn’t work the first time!)
– told a visibly inebriated guy who made a beeline for me at the bus stop with the intention of striking up a conversation to bugger off (he didn’t, so I insisted, got angry, and finally moved with the friend I was talking to)
– bumped into an old friend at the bus stop, and decided to for a coffee one of these next weeks to catch up.

Also, I spent the day offline today (except now and this morning). Will repeat that weekly. I really need a day off each week.