The missed deadline

I mentioned before that I’d set a deadline for the completion of the first draft of my story. Well, I procrastinated up until mid-August. I figured if I wrote a chapter a day from that point I’d make it to my deadline – 30th September. Today’s the day and I’m nowhere near finished it. So I’ve opted to extend it to the end of October. I can’t help but feel like a failure because I’m my own worst enemy. I truly believe I’ll finish it by the end of October, I just need to work on not beating myself up over it.

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A not-so-Friday feeling

I knew today was going to be stressful. It was my last day of work before my week-long trip to Berlin. Obviously, I had to tie up any loose ends but suddenly a tonne of deadlines dropped onto me this week and they all had to be met today. One thing you have to understand about my job is that it’s either a feast or a famine in terms of workload. There’s never an in-between.

So I tried to approach the day stoically by focusing on what I could control rather than what I couldn’t.

Did I succeed?

It’s hard to say. I got quite flustered a lot but I didn’t get a headache. Usually, stress and anxiety lead to headaches. Perhaps I did something right. After lunch, I delegated some of the smaller tasks to others, which helped a little.

You can imagine how relieved I was when I was done. Immediately my brain started trying to figure out what I may have forgotten and it found three things, all of which can wait until I get back.

30 Day Stoic Challenge

I’ve been reading as much as I can about Stoicism ever since it was recommended to me in one of my favourite self-help books by Caroline Foran: The Confidence Kit. I subscribe to The Daily Stoic email alerts, I’ve read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, I read The Daily Stoic book every day, I bought a Memento Mori medallion, etc. I don’t class myself as a stoic because there’s just too much work to do and it’s early days.

The 30 Day Stoic Challenge popped up in one of my daily email alerts. Basically, you’ll get a new email each day for 30 days advising you on how to improve/manage different aspects of your life (stress, anger, etc.), as well as videos and such. It costs $30 ($1 per day) – I guess The Daily Stoic has to make their money somehow! I’ve made a decent amount of money from my freelancing, which I’ve stored in my PayPal account, so I thought, why not? It starts on Monday, 1st October, which happens to be the same day I’m flying to Berlin for a much-needed break with my fianc√©. Not that this will stop me!

The challenge has been criticised by people who claim that The Daily Stoic couldn’t possibly know what improves life for everyone, as everyone is different. I completely agree with this but I’m hoping I’ll be able to pick up a few habits that suit me.

So I’m going to update each day (yes, even when I’m in Berlin) with how I’m getting on with my daily tasks/advice. Let’s hope it’s worth it!

If anyone is interested in joining me on the challenge, click here.

The snooze button – friend or foe?

I hold my hands up and admit that I do hit the snooze button my alarm quite a lot. However, I do make the effort to resist temptation and I’d say about half the time I succeed. I do my Morning Pages and morning meditation through Headspace and it makes me feel good.

The other days, though. I’m too groggy and the idea of writing three A4 pages of random stuff is too much to bear and I wind up hitting the snooze button countless times until I can’t anymore. If I don’t get my Morning Pages done, I’ll make the effort to do my meditation because I’m on a winning streak with that.

This morning I decided I couldn’t muster up the energy to do my Morning Pages, so I hit the snooze button as always. I must’ve knocked it off though instead because I heard my mam getting up and realised I’m usually up before her. It wasn’t a huge delay to my morning but I wound up having to do a quick 3-minute meditation in my car when I got to work, which isn’t very relaxing. We’ve had storms here most of the week so traffic has been nuts.

Does not hitting the snooze button improve my day? Or do I unnecessarily punish myself on the days I can’t bear to resist?

Somehow cats are always the first to know

I often hear people say dogs are a good judge of character. They’ll shy away or bark at people they find to be undesirable. I completely believe this, but I also believe the same is true of cats.

When I was a teenager, my best friend at the time came over and we hung out in my room. It wasn’t the first time but it was the first time he properly interacted with my cat Duchess. I turned away from him petting her to grab something when I hear:

‘Um, help?’

I looked back and saw that Duchess had latched on to him, her claws sunk into his arm as she proceeded to bite him. This was shocking behaviour for Duchess, who was normally such a laid back cat. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I fell out with my friend between school and college what must’ve been just a year later. I like to think Duchess knew what kind of person he was. I won’t go into details but he was toxic.

Duchess has since passed away but she’s always in my heart.

Don’t read until you’re done

It only took me two decades of writing to finally discover what makes it difficult for me to finish writing a story. I constantly do rewrites and my computer is filled with tonnes of drafts of various stories that are unfinished.

The reason

I find myself reading over what I’ve written so far before I continue writing (which usually leads to me not continuing to write). I find flaws and decide I don’t like certain scenes, which leads me to abandon it and start a new draft. The cycle repeats and the story ends up being left unfinished.

I realise I just have to keep writing until the end and then read over what I’ve written. First drafts are supposed to be bad but just knowing that I finished writing a story will be such an achievement.

Why did it take me so long to realise this?

Yet another anxiety attack

I suffered an anxiety attack in work this morning. I knew the day was going to be stressful because I had two looming deadlines, but I didn’t foresee just how stressful it was going to be. Usually I end up with a pounding headache after an attack, but I think I managed to prevent it when I took a mindful walk and got some sea air into my lungs. It’s funny how the methods I’ve vowed to use to help me calm my anxiety completely disappear once I’m mid-attack.