It is important to take time to regularly pause and reflect, however when we are busy we sometimes overlook this. Over the last month I lurched from deadline to deadline and forgot to take a step back periodically to assess how I was going. I hadn’t realised that I was becoming rather stressed, focussing on tasks I had not completed rather than what I had achieved. Then I decided to share with you what I have done over the last few weeks and in doing so regained my perspective.
In March I started a course at TAFE, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, which will lead me to become a qualified workplace trainer. I have plenty of experience doing workplace training as part of various jobs over the years but increasingly employers are wanting people to be qualified. It was time to do the course in order to back up the experience.
At the same time I was asked to conduct a workshop for historians for the Professional Historians Association of NSW which is scheduled for 18th May. It is titled Social Media for the Cautious Historian – the Basics. Someone working in public relations asked me to provide them individual coaching to help them learn how to use twitter effectively for their work. I am also now one of the tweeters Professional Historians Association of NSW (@pha_nsw) and look after the content management system for their website.
The workplace training course has been a lot more work than I had expected but it is good because I am designing the sessions I am delivering in real life using approved workplace training procedures and drawing on courses that are delivered by registered training organisations around the country.
I have also been writing more blog posts than usual, but some of them have been on the blogs of other organisations. In the last few weeks I have written about:
- Open Access and Professional Historians on the blog of the Professional Historians Association of NSW (16th April);
- The Dream of a Century: review of an exhibition of the work of Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin, designers of the Australian national capital, Canberra (16th April) – published on this blog;
- Histories of war written by Australian female authors as part of my monthly overview of histories, biographies and memoirs for the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge (23rd April);
- Book reviews, both war histories, ‘Our Schools and the War’, by Rosalie Triolo (reviewed 23/4/2013) and Kitty’s War by Janet Butler (reviewed 25/4/2013) on this blog.
In the midst of this I swam in the National Championships of Masters Swimming Australia at in Sydney 17th – 20th April. The best place I achieved was 13th out of 20 but I had a great time chatting with friends and managed to get my personal best times for 100m and 200m freestyle. I’m getting faster as I get older – how good is that? To top it off I managed to be part of a relay team that won a silver medal for our age group! I was a late inclusion in a team with excellent swimmers.
Next month I will be conducting the workshop on basic social media skills for historians, two training sessions for my TAFE class on designing and developing complex text documents and continuing to deliver the individual continuing coaching sessions on twitter I started this month. Soon I will be visiting New Zealand for a few days and am looking forward to visiting their national museum, Te Papa. Watch out for a review of it on this blog. The war histories I have read have assisted me with my research on World War I and I hope to give that some more attention during the month.
I also plan to attend the Sydney Writers’ Festival towards the end of May. This means that I need to get through more books on my reading pile in the next couple of weeks because I’m sure to find an irresistible book at the Festival!
This post has helped me to feel calmer and at the same time take a step back and look at the big picture. I was becoming fixated on impending deadlines and consequently in danger of losing sight of my longer term goals. Now I can refocus and embark on what should be another productive month.
Wow, that’s lots of work, and swimming. It’s well known that exercise helps your brain work better, so the more you exercise the smarter you get. I think it works that way. Maybe you can tell I don’t exercise much.
But that’s because I’m too busy.
If you talk to me in the middle of a training session you would think I was not too bright. I am incapable of comprehending anything else much while I am training. All my brain effort has to go into fixing the myriad flaws in my technique and there’s not a lot left over!
I find that swimming is not only important for me to maintain fitness but there is an important meditative aspect as well. While swimming, particularly longer distances, I focus on one particular aspect of my stroke each lap such as my body rotation, my pull through etc. I concentrate on doing the perfect turn each end because a lot of time can be saved through this alone. And of course I count the laps. No other thoughts enter my mind when I am swimming. It is very good for relieving stress as all exercise is.
Lisa Hill says
Gosh, that’s an impressive April!
Thanks Lisa. I was rather surprised when I added it all up because I didn’t feel like I was achieving a lot when I was in the midst of this.
Jennifer McLaren says
Busy and very impressive, and a good reminder to your readers about taking a step back to focus on achievements, rather than further deadlines. I’m feeling a bit the same at the moment, only have let exercise slip, which really does not help! I’ve booked myself into the Sydney Writer’s Festival workshop with Ann Curthoys – can’t wait!
Unfortunately the first thing that tends to go during a hectic period seems to be exercise and with our reliance on cars we miss out on incidental exercise which can make such a difference.
Thankyou Jennifer for reminding me, I need to study the Sydney Writers Festival program and work out which events I want to attend.
Howard Perkins says
You have always been an amazing achiever with amazing dedication to whatever the task is at hand. Have a great time in NZ, I love the place. Lots of love Howard
Awww Thank you!