Tuesday, 26 June 2012

from beneath the toppling towers

It was never my intention to stop writing. This is my liturgy, of course, but in the case I really did return from Europe with every intention of continuing the renewed activity of blogging stimulated by the surrounds, stimulus and above all the great company I had in Europe. Life, though, and more specifically working life, took a hand.

I will not for a second pretend that I am a victim of overwork. I am not someone endowed with a work ethic, and having seen closely the commitment exhibited under great demands by those who are, I would hasten to say that I don't think what has been asked of me has been beyond me. It has, though, been a significant step up from what I was doing last year and before that, particularly in the number of responsibilities, which has gone from numerous to bewildering.

My trip, too, for all its aforementioned merits, came at an inconvenient time. As much as the visits I made stimulated my enthusiasm for research, it left me with a significant backlog of both teaching and service duties on my return to the campus, a backlog from which I have still to extricate myself two months on.

A big part of the problem has been that I spend a lot of time counting my tasks and stressing over them as opposed to doing them. When I have occasioned to list my outstanding tasks, I fairly easily run to and beyond a full A4 page, and I have had trouble seeing the trees for the forest (let alone the florist for the flowers, if I might be permitted a smell-the-roses/Lucksmiths reference).

Also, whether it is a subconscious devotion to the idea of work-life balance or a reluctance to admit the urgency of my obligations, I have had difficulty getting work done at home. As a general principle, I don't have a problem with this, but the practical reality is that I need to be working weekends at present, and that has proven difficult. Despite that, I have been actively depriving myself of some of my preferred leisure activities - shying away from starting certain novels (which isn't to say I haven't been reading them!), a complete abstinence from gaming - although on these fronts too I am not convinced that the deprivation has been in any way profitable, with the time redirected more to stressing about obligations than to meeting them.

There is some hope that over the next fortnight or so, I will be able to extricate myself somewhat and restore some kind of normality to my work-related stress levels. This hope, perhaps better qualified as an imperative, relies on my really pulling my finger out in the short term to meet some fast-approaching deadlines. Hopefully their successful resolution will, if nothing else, allow me to not work at home without the overbearing sense of guilt.