On reducing noise

I profoundly dislike the word busy. It conjures up images of scared chickens aimlessly running around the garden. “Busy’s just a polite way to say disorganised,” I often quip. Beside, since I imbibed Seneca’s On the brevity of life in year 12, I would not want to be caught dead describing myself as “busy”.

That being said, I like to be productive and engaged in multiple activities. Sometimes, deadlines overlap. I have identified that I can comfortably juggle three key areas of focus, but start bugging if the number goes beyond three. I have – also – learnt how to deal with this limitation. When too many things pile up, see whether one can be completed soon, and tackle it first. Reduce the noise.

I had to do that today. I am confirming my PhD next Wednesday; the following day, I’m flying to Sweden, and need to present a full proposal for my new role on the Monday. Meanwhile, I have to organise meetings and accommodation in Europe and Asia, and deal with the many little administrative tasks that pop up when you start a new job, ask for leave from a course of study, or travel internationally. Did I mention a podcast session yesterday, a Hackathon tomorrow, and a prototype language peer-learning event next week? Oof!

That was all too much for my little brain. And when it saturates, creativity reduces. So, this afternoon, I ticked off the PhD box, and took advantage of the brain fritter to tackle my admin and email backlog. Tomorrow, I’ll be guided by somebody through the steps of a Hackathon, recharge my extraverted energy, and on Wednesday, I’ll have only three things to focus on. Problem solved, back to manageable.

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