2019/20 – Doing Less – Plans

In the comments on the post about doing less, Gordon said

For your ‘busy’ do you get anxious when the calendar is empty, do you just like having ‘a plan’? Would it work if you planned an afternoon of deliberately doing nothing? (the challenge being to stick to it?)

It’s a bit more – and less – complicated than that.

I don’t need a full plan of “I’ll do [x], then [y], then [z]” for either a day or a weekend.  In general I’m happy with an outline idea, even if it’s just “I’ll go to London” or whatever.

However, I do like having at least that idea. A blank space in the calendar is an oddity, and it does leave me feeling uncomfortable.

The other side of it is that my time off is precious to me, my weekends are important. I make sure that I do all my domestic stuff during the week, I refuse to spend half of those important two days doing cleaning, laundry, shopping and so on. They’re my own days, and if I do nothing with them, I feel they’ve been wasted.

So long as I do *something* with them, I’m OK. And even ‘just’ spending a day at the cinema catching up on films counts as “doing something”, so my criteria are quite low on that basis.

It’s that balance I need to find, somewhere between going out – day trips and time away, seeing friends, that kind of thing – and just doing enough to appease my work ethic. I also probably should find a way to be able to class days of doing nothing as also somehow counting as doing something.

It’s not an easy balance to find, and I’m not quite sure how I’ll get it right, but I think it’s time to at least try…


CostCluster

Have you ever noticed, there are some times where things all just decide to cost money all at once? And it’s usual at the most inconvenient times…

The last ten days have been a pretty good example of that. Since last Wednesday…

  • The car had a front tyre blow out , so has needed a replacement tyre.
  • The clutch on the car also started playing up, so has needed to be replaced.
    Admittedly, it wasn’t yet completely stuffed, but you could feel it was well on the way, and I’d rather not be stuffed by that over the Festering Season
  • In the kitchen, the steamer I use most days died (tripping the circuit breaker along the way) and needed replacing
  • And one of my smoke alarms also started doing the beep-of-battery-death. And of course it’s a non-replaceable battery (not my choice, but that of my landlord) so that’ll need replacing

On top of that, all the usual stuff for the Festering Season and so on, and it means it’s been an expensive month…


2019/20 – Do Less

With my plans for 2019-2020, the first key thing (although it’s not really something quantifiable) is to do less.

The last two years have been particularly hyper, with very few days/times where I’ve not been working, or travelling, or doing stuff.  I don’t resent it – most of it has been my choice, after all – but it needs to slow down a bit.

I don’t yet quite know how I’m going to do it – some of the problem is my own mindset and work ethic, where I feel I’ve wasted a day if I’ve not done things. In particular, my weekends are precious and important to me, and I don’t like seeing them disappear without something to show for it.

But I also know that I need to not be quite so hyper, to take some down time and space. There’s a balance in there somewhere, and I hope to be able to find it.

I suspect that what will happen is that this will work alongside “be a better friend” and “be better to myself”, and that it’ll involve still travelling to see friends, but also doing so for things that work for me.


2019/20 – What’re the plans?

Having thought about it way more than originally expected, my plans for the coming year are actually pretty basic. It can all be summed up as :

  • Do a bit less
  • Write a bit more (both here and elsewhere)
  • Be a better friend – see friends more, that kind of thing
  • Be better to myself – do some different stuff just for me.
  • Consider a new location

So that’s the basic plan and points. I’ll aim to explain them out in a bit more detail over a couple of further posts – which might seem like I’m padding things out, but it’s more about wanting some time and space to figure it out, rather than just brain-dumping right now.


2018/19 – What Happened?

So, I had some plans for the last twelve months, and it’s time for an update.  It won’t make for hugely positive reading…

The list from the post a year ago is as follows.

  1. Keep on working on losing weight.
    This one is a long-term thing, and one I’ve written about before. For me, it’s a struggle – I’ve worked with a number of resources this year so far, and feel better-informed than I was, but there’s still a long way to go. If nothing else, this year so far has eliminated a lot of options and bullshit.
    RESULT : Absolutely sod-all difference. Which is both positive (I’ve not gained any) and negative (for fuck’s sake, nor have I lost any)
  2. Keep on improving fitness/health
    Linked to losing weight, I’ve had more success with this one over the last 12 months, but there’s still stuff to do and improve.
    RESULT : Fitness and strength have continued to improve, with very few visual clues/hints that it’s happened.
  3. Continue doing the stuff I enjoy
    Various bits here – but basically, do stuff I want to.  Not as a “fear of missing out” (“FOMO”) thing, but just as in “I really want to see/do [x]” and doing so.  (This is, of course, in direct contrast to ‘doing less’ in the list below, so it’s a bit of a balancing act!)
    RESULT : This one’s been a success, actually. Although it’s not been a great year in many ways, at least I’ve kept on living my life and generally enjoying it.
  4. Be more sociable
    I’ve realised this year that I’ve been utterly crap with seeing friends – I’ve been doing a lot of stuff, but at the same time it hasn’t been overly sociable, hasn’t involved going to see friends at all.  And that needs sorting.
    RESULT : And this one’s been a failure. In fairness, it hasn’t got much worse, but it hasn’t got any better either.

I’m getting rid of some of the longer-running goals. They’re still things I want to work on – I’m not giving up on the plans, just on the having them as goals – but it affects me more when I see my ongoing failure to complete/do/start them year on year.

So I’ll note them here as reminders, but they’re not part of the main “What I’m aiming for” list. See if it works better for me as advisories, rather than as targets/goals.  And those reminders are…

  • Writing
    I want to do more writing – I’ve got the ideas, but it’s finding the time, inclination and drive to get them actually going. I hope to schedule more in – I’ve also invested in some tools that should allow me to do so – but we’ll see.
    RESULT : Nope, hasn’t happened. Even more ideas bouncing round in my brain, and an absolute zero on getting them addressed
  • Business plans
    As with the writing, I’ve got the ideas, but need to allocate time and energy to getting them to work.  In some cases I’m frustrated by time, in others by funding for getting them how I want them. We’ll just have to see how things go.
    RESULT : Nope, nor this. Ideas are still there, but I’ve done keck-all with them
  • Doing Less
    This is kind-of related to the above two – if I could sort my brain out so that ‘doing less’ was better, then I’d hopefully have more time to spend on the writing and business ideas.
    RESULT : Nope. Still been an idiot all year and kept busy for about 95% of the time
  • Plan Better
    And the final one, which controls all of the others – make better plans, notes, and be better organised.
    RESULT : Again, Nope. Not even close.

So, all things considered, while it’s not been a bad year per se, it’s also not been a good one.  Which also goes to sort of explain why I’ve been crap at getting this organised/written, and why I haven’t yet thought about whether I’m doing this for the coming year, or just sacking it off.


Mileage

This weekend has been one with a fair bit of travelling. It’s just the way things worked out, but it made for a busy one.

On Friday I was over in Oxford, seeing XKCD‘s Randall Munroe at the Sheldonian Theatre doing a talk about his new book.  That was enjoyable – and I’d never been in the Sheldonian before, so that was an additional bonus.

On Saturday I was down in Chichester to see a staging of Macbeth, starring John Simm and Dervla Kerwan.

And then on Sunday I was in Kent, at the Big Cat Experience, as they were doing a “meet the big cats” experience. I’d decided that I wanted to go, and classed it as a birthday present to myself. It was a lot of miles/driving for a two-hour-ish thing, but it was also worth going, and I’d certainly consider going again.

All told, I’ve covered nearly 800 miles over three days.  I’m a daft, daft, daft sode.


Annual Car Costs

The start of October is expensive when it comes to the car, because it’s the anniversary of when I bought it.

So first there’s the renewal of the vehicle tax, although happily that’s not a big expense at £30 for the year.

Then there’s the insurance renewal, which is always a fun dose of bureaucracy and weirdness. And at least that one is an expense that’s spread through the year – I could do it in one payment, but find I usually can’t be bothered.

And then of course there’s the MoT test. Never fun – even if it passes with no problem, you’ve still spent time beforehand worrying about what’ll happen, and figuring out as many of the financial permutations as possible.

Last year, it passed the MoT OK, with just a couple of advisories – although one of those was about the brakes needing attention next year. So I knew that was going to come up, as well as the MoT and a service – which makes it all already Not Cheap.

Luckily though, that was it. I got one small advisory for this year, but absolutely nothing else to worry about. I suspect the clutch is likely to die sometime this year (although I said that last year too) which’ll be an expense at some point.

But for now, it’s all sorted, and my wallet isn’t as light as it could’ve been, so I’ll take that as a positive…