Month: August 2017

Doing too much…how to know when to stop!!

It is one thing to be dedicated to your tasks and making sure you put in the hours, and it’s another thing to not know when those tasks have become too much. I recently had to ask myself hard questions about my “work ethic”.  Do I know when to stop? Do I know when to say no to some projects?

 

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Image from bitmoji app

 

I almost cried tears of frustration after realizing iv been doing too much with little results. I quickly realized that I have been working hard, but not working smart. I really got to understand what the term “rat race” actually means:

any exhausting, unremitting, and usually competitive activity or routine, especially pressured urban working life spent trying to get ahead with little time left for leisure,contemplation, etc.

The sad thing is I work from home and that means I created my own rat race. I have been working against the clock trying to get academic papers published, do fieldwork for my Ph.D. project, build up my consultancy and, and, and. It is a lot, I finally admit.

Here are some signs that you are taking on too much (from my own experience)

  • you are always exhausted
  • you dread waking up to start the same routine
  • you become dependent on some sort of mood-altering substance (caffeine, alcohol) under the guise of “coping” or “getting through the day”
  • when people ask you what you have been up to, you always say “working”

 

 

Image from http://www.economywatch.com

 

I thought the more tasks I have, the more productive I am being. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I had to admit that feeling tired, frustrated and almost always overwhelmed is not making my work any lighter or my life any easier. Risking my mental and physical health in the name of work is also not anything I want to do. This realization was a turning point for me last week. I decided to take a break for the whole weekend and take stock of what is important. Yes, I am still going to be busy this week, but I am pacing myself.  Work is good, but it must not kill me in the process.

Have a productive week!

Fighting for balance…life and the Ph.D.​

For those who are new to the blog, let me start with a little introduction…I am a Ph.D. student, about to begin my second year. I study Sociology and Social Policy with a focus on childhoods and families. I am currently at home, in Zimbabwe, for my field work (data collection).

Being back home means adjusting to a new schedule. When I was back on campus in Hong Kong, I set my own time and I really thought I was managing quite well (if my 1st-year annual evaluation is anything to go by). But, since I came home to begin the practical part of my work, I feel so overwhelmed with the amount of work that is facing me daily.

 

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Image from Google http://www.pairadimes.davidtruss.com

 

I chose to live with my mum for the duration of my field visit. Now all my Zimbabweans know how a Zimbabwean mother’s household is run. There is no excuse for not waking up at first light to clean the house and run some errands, before anything else. I am a bit of a nocturnal animal, in that, I work better at night. This means I struggle to wake up early, my mornings usually start around 10 am, and I still need lots of caffeine to be fully functional. So when I realized I was waking up exhausted most mornings, I started negotiating with the matriarch of the house to cut me some slack in the mornings so I can focus on the Ph.D. What a laugh!!!  She told me point blank that I just need to wake up much earlier and I will be able to manage everything. In her words,

mukadzi anomuka makuseni, basa remumba first, then you can do whatever you want during the day” which translates to “A woman wakes up in the morning, house chores first then you can do whatever you want during the day”.

I had almost forgotten that to my mum I am always a wife in training (sigh). So, you see my predicament? I have academic work piling up and I have to balance it with all my other responsibilities as a daughter. I never thought I would say this, but I am realizing how hard that is. In my own world (which seems a bit selfish now), it was all about me, me, me. Now I have to stretch myself to make this work, which is a challenge at the moment.

 

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Image from Google http://www.tech.co

 

Guess the lesson here is that I have to find balance, in all things. I am not sure how, but I have to. If you have any tips, please drop them below…

Overwhelmed,

GG