27 Jun

failure doesn’t have to snowball: on blogging

I missed a post yesterday. I also missed a post earlier in the month (although one day this month I posted on my own blog and the NLS7 blog so I had justified the earlier fail in my head).

Those of you who’ve ever run the dieting gauntlet (which I seem to have been running non-stop since I was a teenager) will be well acquainted with failure blow out. You know, when you have one day of eating everything you want and you think, ‘I’ve blown it now so I may as well just finish that family sized block of chocolate and wash it down with some more coke’… And then you wake up the next morning and think, ‘I really, really blew it yesterday so I may as well keep going’.

I think blogging – or failing to blog – can be a bit like that. Especially when we set ourselves crazy goals like blogging every single day for a whole month.

I’m feeling a bit reflective today, as I collate my thesis and put the finishing touches on it, ready for submission on Monday (and ready to hand over to my principal supervisor at 9am today… Ummm why am I blogging now, with less than three hours to go, when I have more thesis work to do?!).

Those of you that have been on this PhD journey with me know that I’ve set and missed a number of self-imposed deadlines along the way. When I started my PhD, my aim was to complete in four years part time. As a part time student, my candidature is six years, but I wanted to complete early for a host of reasons: my job depends on me completing; I’m researching in a rapidly evolving space; I couldn’t handle it taking any longer; etc. Four years came and went at the end of last year, so I missed that target.

I also wanted to complete my thesis during my 2013 sabbatical. Who was I kidding? I started sabbatical in July with data collection still in progress (and, notably, a plate that wasn’t clear of work-work, which it should have been [nobody’s fault but my own, btw]). I did complete my data collection and analysis and wrote close to 50,000 words, but I didn’t finish my thesis. When I wasn’t finished on returning to work at the end of 2013, I realised that meant I wouldn’t be submitting in a hurry, because at that time, I took over coordinating the degree I teach in. And then more work stuff and more work stuff and more work stuff…

As the year rolled on, I set myself a new target: to have my final seminar by the end of 2014. I booked it in, and had to push the date back a fortnight. I submitted my thesis to the panel with a discussion chapter I wasn’t happy with, but I sent it and I got that seminar done.

Then I was going to finish my revisions before Semester 1 started this year. Hahahaha! This year, we got our own degree, moving out of the Master of IT and into our very own Master of Information Science, so that was a big transition to manage. I also took on a brand new unit, teaching undergrads for the first time. In first semester, my team and I taught 175% of our usual teaching load with a lot of new and casual staff. It was a crazy semester. During this semester I did several thesis sprints, each time hoping to complete in a short block of time I’d carved out, like a weekend. Talk about setting yourself up for failure. So I missed all of those ridiculous self-imposed deadlines.

And with every miss, I felt like more of a failure.

The final push came in May when a permanent position was advertised in my discipline and, with the knowledge that I wouldn’t have a chance at the job without having submitted my thesis, I gave myself 37 days to complete my thesis and write my job application (and when I say ‘I gave myself 37 days’, I don’t mean, ‘I took myself offline, into the wilderness, putting all work aside to get my thesis done’. I’ve still had to do all the other things too).

I’ve felt like giving up a number of times. I’ve compromised a lot to get here. I have failed and failed and failed and failed. And not just on thesis deadlines, but on lots of other things that have been impacted by trying to hit these crazy thesis deadlines. If so many people hadn’t invested in getting me here, if my participants hadn’t been so generous with letting me into their worlds at one of the most important times of their lives, I might have given up.

Though I’ve fallen off the healthy eating horse and stayed off it for long periods of time, I have managed to get back on the PhD horse at each fall. Actually, I think it’s more like a bucking bull. But the point is, I set myself up to fail many times; I failed many times, including times where I hadn’t set myself up to fail and I just failed through sheer failing-ness; but I am actually going to finish it.

And so now, 870-ish words later, I’m circling back to the beginning of this post to say this: For me, blogging has been a fickle ride. I love blogging. I have had so much fun this month blogging and participating in conversations. But in other years, I’ve let missing a day or two of #blogjune turn into an epic fail, and I’ve given up. This time around, I’ve given myself permission to miss a day here or there, and the result is I’m back here today, even though I did the blogging equivalent of eating a whole pizza yesterday.

So the point of this long winded and rambling post was that I’m okay with missing a day, and I’m going to try to take that attitude forward. I’m not going to blog every day post-June, but I will commit to blogging once a week. And if I don’t blog one week, I’m not going to let it turn into a catastrophic fail. I’m not even going to apologise for it, because who really wants to read a blog where the author starts out with an apology about not blogging? I’ll leave the chocolate in the fridge. I won’t let one little blow out lead to an enormous blow out. I won’t let missing one week turn into missing a whole month and suddenly into missing a whole year. I won’t give myself the excuse to get the family sized block of chocolate out of the fridge. Because failure doesn’t have to snowball. That’s one lesson I’ve learned from doing a PhD and one I think was worth learning.

25/30 #blogjune

23 Jun

eleven things that are helping me get through a crazy week

It’s crazy town here at the moment* but I’ve got a bit of a kit of awesome things that are helping me get through the crazy. Maybe some of them might be useful for you too (you can’t have my mum though, sorry – there’s a waiting list for dibs on her. Not really willing to share the kids either, but totally willing to share their cute, which you can partake in by following me on Instagram).

  1. 20 minute deep stretch yoga for neck and shoulders with Sara Beth Yoga on YouTube.
  2. The Headspace meditation app, which I’ve been using to learn how to meditate (this works, by the way – I’m one of those people who finds it hard to quiet their mind and I can do this).
  3. The Okapi coffee capsules from Zarraffa’s Coffee for my Nespresso – delicious!
  4. Perfect Potion Sweet Dreams Balm on my temples and the back of my neck at bedtime.
  5. Pomodoros for focused writing (made even better by doing them with a virtual buddy – thanks Kathleen!).
  6. My new to do list manager Todoist, where I’m blithely dumping things to deal with after 1 July.
  7. A little bit of Bulla Creamy Classics Chocolate Chip ice cream every night (and maybe a spoonful or three during the day as a reward).
  8. New comfy work from home clothes courtesy the recent Bonds 40% off sale. Super soft, unpilled jersey tees and harem pants.
  9. A claw hair clip I found in the bottom of the bathroom cupboard – so much better for headache management than a ponytail.
  10. Blogging – it’s so nice to write something other than thesis!
  11. And most importantly, my support crew:
    • my supervisors (every thing seems much clearer after a 10 minute chat. I know people have horrible experiences of PhD supervision and I don’t know how they get through the process without great supervisors)
    • friends who have spent half their weekend reading and reviewing my work (thanks Zaana!)
    • my team, who always deliver and who are always offering to help with work to free up my time to write
    • my friends and colleagues – my personal learning network, really – who send me supportive messages, love via Instagram, and chant my mantra – it’s just one more week – with me
    • the babes, who give me restorative hugs, make me snacks (okay, that one is only Ms 6), draw me pictures for my office, and who make my world shiny every time they step into sight
    • my mum, who puts up with me being an absolute cow (seriously, I’m a nightmare when I’m stressed), brings me a Maccas Coke home every day (I’m pretty much a postmix Coke addict), cooks for me even though she hates cooking, reminds me to sleep and breathe and stuff, and patiently listens to me rant about objects of study even though it’s really boring.

It’s just one more week! Not even! Woo!

* On Monday, I have to submit my thesis and an application for a job that would essentially give me permanency in my current job. And at work it’s the week we finalise grades, and because I had a huge teaching load this semester that’s quite a bit of admin. Plus other things I’m trying not to think about because: THESIS!

#blogjune 22/30

01 Jun

what a difference a year makes

Or not.

It’s June, which means I’ll be blogging every day for the next 30 days. I’ve been doing this every year (with varying levels of success!) for the last five years. Con kicked this off in 2010 and five years later there is a huge list of library types from Australia and New Zealand joining in the fun.

As I kick off my month of blogging, I can’t help reflecting on where I was at the last time I took up the #blogjune challenge.

This time last year, I was writing my very first post on this blog and gearing up for a sabbatical during which I would write my PhD thesis. Or more accurately, a sabbatical during which I would finish my data collection, code all my interview transcripts, develop a theory and write my thesis. I’m nothing if not ambitious.

I didn’t quite make it, but I got close.

In January, I went back to work. With a vengeance. I took over as course coordinator of the masters program I teach into. I also took up a fellowship on a university-wide teaching and learning transformation initiative. And I won’t bore you with all the details, but man, has it been a crazy five months.

So crazy, in fact, that I haven’t touched my dissertation since the first week in January, which really is a bummer because I was hoping to have my final seminar early this year. I was pretty devastated about my timeline slipping out so spectacularly, but it was unavoidable.

So 12 months on from #blogjune 2013 and I’m in much the same position as I was last year: psyching myself up to switch into dissertation writing mode. But this time, sans sabbatical.

I have a pretty grueling timeline that will see me have my final seminar towards the end of November and submit my thesis for examination in early December. And I am utterly determined to stick to it.

So here I am. Standing in roughly the same place I was in 12 months ago. It’s kind of like Groundhog Day. But this time I’ve got 40,000 ish words under my belt and a timeline that will put this PhD baby to bed before Christmas.

Now I just need to make myself start.

Blog everyday in June: 1/30

10 Jan

the very hardest thing

Earlier, I was eating my lunch and reading Penelope Trunk’s latest blog post on the incompatibility of big careers and involved parenting, when my sister turned up (delivering groceries, because these are things I don’t do when I get busy). I went out to the car to say hi to my niece and my sister told me about a conversation they had this morning in which my niece asked whether I would be finished working once they saw me on stage (at my graduation). Seeing me on stage has become a bit of a metaphor for winning me back from work. She was somewhat disappointed to find out I would still have to work, even if I wouldn’t have to write my book anymore (this is how we talk about my PhD). But I told her I would have weekends back and I’d be able to hang out and then we both said we’re sick of me writing my book all the time.

And this is the very, very hardest thing. Not being able to spend time with my little loves, especially when they really need it.

18 Dec

my long overdue #acwrimo wrap up post

I started out AcWriMo with an ambitious plan: I was going to write 1666 words of findings every day in November. 50,000 words in one month, just like NaNoWriMo participants do.

The only problem with this goal was that I wasn’t actually ready to write on 1 November. I still had several transcripts to code and I was still integrating codes to form categories. It wasn’t until 11 November that I actually had my categories pretty sorted, but even then, I still had transcripts to code before I could write.

So in reality, the sun was setting on November before I got going on writing in earnest. That meant that in terms of writing, my AcWriMo really kicked off in late November and lasted until yesterday. But during November, I did do a lot of coding, analysis, synthesis and sense making throughout the month and I really feel like participating in AcWriMo spurred me on during this period of working intensely on figuring out what my findings look like.

Yesterday I finished writing up my categories, just over four weeks after I started. Four weeks ago, I had 17 categories grouped into three broad streams. As I wrote, I consolidated these and I ended up with 13 categories that formed part of a single core category. The category write ups on their own (excluding the write up of the theory and discussion of how the categories relate to each other, which I haven’t done yet) amounted to 40,016 words. I didn’t make it to 50,000 words on my findings chapter, but I did write just shy of another 10,000 words on other parts of my thesis. Although my month was more like six weeks, I did manage to hit my AcWriMo goal.

At the beginning of November I was panic stricken. I had two months left of my sabbatical and I hadn’t written a single word (well, apart from in memos). My teaching and service commitments for 2014 mean that at the end of January, I will no longer be able to do ‘thinky’ work on my thesis. I will probably manage revisions, but I need to have the hard stuff done. My goal of having a full draft of my thesis by Christmas was (and still is) completely shot and I thought I had no hope of getting a draft done by the end of January, either.

Now, I am slightly more optimistic. Assuming what I’ve written is okay (and I don’t know that yet – I’ve only just sent it to my supervisors for feedback), I may just make it. Or at least, I may be able to draft the remaining chapters, excluding my conclusion. What I won’t get done is revisions to my method chapter (which I wrote about 20 months ago for confirmation, and it needs updating) and I won’t have had time to incorporate any feedback. When I write about this, I feel pretty panicked. But the reality is, this is doable.

AcWriMo came at exactly the right time for me and the sense of community and accountability really helped. I get a lot of support from a friend who is at a similar stage in her write up, but AcWriMo added an extra layer.

But the single most valuable thing about AcWriMo for me was that I realised writing is bloody hard work for everyone – not just me. This realisation boosted my confidence and buoyed me up. So thanks, AcWriMo organisers, for making a real difference in my experience of writing my thesis.

13 Dec

my academic writing productivity pattern is shot

I’ve written about 40,000 words in the last four weeks. But I could have written more.

I have noticed a pattern and today, in one of my bazillion chats with my virtual office / PhD buddy, she articulated this pattern perfectly and I went “ohemgee, you’re right”.

The pattern goes like this: mad, crazy, frantic productivity > flailing about trying to be productive > complete lack of productivity > repeat.

I can write up to 4000 words in a day. (I know: I am very, very lucky.) But the next day, I invariably spend most of the day trying to get started and hating myself for my lack of motivation, my lack of discipline, and my ability to be busy doing nothing all day. So on day two, I rarely actually get any writing done.

And that’s a problem, because once I have a break from writing, I get stuck and I find it incredibly difficult to get past the inertia and get writing again.

Everyone talks about the sprint to the PhD finish line. And almost everyone talks about how it’s not actually a sprint, but a marathon. My problem is I’m attempting to run the marathon at sprint pace. So I’ll pump out 2000 or 3000 or 4000 words and at the end of the day I’ll practically fall over the finish line. The next day, I brush myself off and take another look at the finish line I crossed the day before and I realise it was actually a mirage, and the *real* finish line is about another million kilometres away. And then I am filled with despair over how much track lies in front of me so I stop and look for four leaf clovers. Then I crawl a bit more. Then I watch the crowd. Then I do some online shopping. Then the day is over and I’ve gone nowhere and I know that tomorrow the distance I have to make up is going to feel completely and utterly overwhelming so I’ll just do nothing and then that’s it!

I’m no longer running the race.

I stopped.

I have to go back to the blocks and start all over again. And that takes a whole lot of mental preparation.

12 Nov

and on the 11th day…

She refocused. She being me, and the 11th day being yesterday.

I kind of lost my writing momentum a couple of days into #acwrimo. I got some feedback from one of my supervisors about my draft categories and I spent most of last week working with that. This initially involved playing around with pens and paper and thinking a lot about how my categories fit together to form a theory.

And then I spent a couple of days building my categories and sub-categories (and yes, there are sub-sub-categories here, but these aren’t really sub-sub-categories – just points I want to make sure to note in the discussion of these categories).

Spreadsheet of categories

And then I took this spreadsheet and built myself a new codebook in HyperRESEARCH (I’m planning a blog post on using HyperRESEARCH for coding in grounded theory down the track, because I’ve worked some things out that I would like to have known from the beginning).

Screenshot of codebook

Then I coded a couple of transcripts with my new codebook and I realised my findings are finally starting to sing. At long last, I am not adding stacks of codes to the codebook as I work. I’m no longer finding variation, but instead, I’m just coding up new examples. Cue overwhelming sense of relief.

A short-lived sense of relief, though, because yesterday I realised I only have six weeks left of my sabbatical. And a lot of writing to do. My workload next year won’t allow me to spend very much time on my PhD at all – if any. At least for the first half of the year. So I am pushing hard for the next six weeks to get my findings written and my lit review revised.

Yesterday, I did the last bit of work on conceptualising how my categories fit together. I refocused and revised my timeline as well as my practical plan for getting this thing done.

And on that note, I think it’s time to write.

10 Nov

the hidden costs of doing a phd (and 7 tips for minimising them)

In a single hour the other day, I moaned to a friend three separate times about being broken. First I had a headache, then sore hands, and then my eyes were blurry. Which prompted her to ask me if I read the latest Thesis Whisperer post about the ups and downs of PhD research.

I did read the post, and the first thing I thought was how much the entire thing resonated with me. In particular, I could relate to the idea of becoming a she-devil during analysis (will this phase ever end?!) and the impact on your body. I had a laugh to myself about how hilarious it would be to write a blog post about how much I’ve spent on physio and massage since I’ve been on sabbatical. I thought to myself, ‘Ha ha ha! Let’s share my physio’s joke about this being the most expensive dissertation in the world!’

And then I decided it wouldn’t be hilarious at all. It would just be a bit sad, really.

On reflection, I decided to write the post for realz. The fact is, no one tells you about the impact full time PhDing can have on your body, so I was really glad to see the physical impacts of PhDing come up in the Thesis Whisper post. I kind of expected it to have an impact on my body, but not to the extent it has. I usually work long hours anyway so I didn’t envisage it being a huge problem. But this PhD work is different. It’s more intensive, and involves a lot more typing, lots of mousing as I code transcripts, peering at the screen as I work with spreadsheets, and a lot less variety. I don’t stop for meetings or to make videos (things I do frequently in a ‘normal’ work day), and in this phase, I’m not really stopping to read away from the computer either.

I was already a bit broken before I got into this six month sprint, so I booked in a massage every fortnight and physio in the alternate week from the get go. The reality is I’ve been to all those appointments plus had some additional massages.

And that means that by the time Christmas rolls around, I will have spent almost $2000 on massage and physio in my 6 month sabbatical. (Bill not helped by having used up the majority of my private health coverage for physio.) And that is assuming I don’t have any extra massages between now and Christmas, and given I’ve had a headache for about the last week, that’s probably pretty unlikely.

Granted, if I wasn’t compressing my analysis and write up into this chunk of time and trying to hit a pretty ambitious daily writing target for #acwrimo, I wouldn’t be working as intensively. But I still think this PhD gig would have a big impact on anyone’s body, regardless of how well you pace yourself across your candidacy, or how young, fit or healthy you might be when you start out.

So as well as sharing about my massage and physio spend, I thought I’d also share about the things I do to help minimise the impact (and cap my massage spend!). (Do I need to say I’m not a health professional and this isn’t advice? Probably. I’m not the former, and this isn’t the latter – just sharing what works for me.)

1. Stretch

I use my 15 minute Pomodoro breaks (I do 45/15 Pomodoro sessions instead of the usual 25/5) to get up and stretch. I do hand and arm stretches and neck stretches regularly. These are easy to do because you don’t even have to get up from your desk. You can even buy a poster or cards with these stretches on them – I just ordered a set of the cards to keep on my desk. I also lie on a foam roll (I use a pool noodle but you can get proper stretching rolls) to stretch my back (or you can use a rolled up towel), but if you work in an office, you could do seated back stretches.

2. Free massage

Nothing beats a good massage but there are some tricks I use at home in between. I use a tennis ball for trigger points in my back – just put it between your back and a wall and roll it into place. I also massage the back of my forearm by running my other forearm across it (you can also use a tennis ball). Lastly, I have a Posture Pro (cheapest I’ve seen them is about $35) and it is pretty awesome. It’s a similar idea to the tennis ball but great for getting in just either side of your spine. There are heaps of self-massage tutorials around the web so whatever ails you, odds are you can find a way to help yourself.

3. Variety

Ideally, I try to get some variety in my down time – but I have to confess I’m not great at this. Unfortunately, one of my favourite down time activities is sewing and I have learned this only makes my headaches worse. When I sew, I sit in a similar position as I do when I’m working and I lean in to the machine, so it just makes all those tight neck muscles even tighter. So I either have to not sew or be really conscious about my posture.

4. Check yourself

While I’m talking about being conscious of things, the other thing I try to keep a check on is what I’m doing with my jaw. When I’m thinking I tend to kind of squint my eyes and tense my jaw at the same time. So I try to consciously check my jaw to make sure I’m not clenching it. I don’t grind my teeth but I do clench and it is a really, really hard habit to break.

5. Hydrate

I drink heaps of water. I get a lot of headaches and while I know they come from my neck, they only get worse if I’m dehydrated. I have a huge (and I do mean huge – typically 800mls) green smoothie for breakfast and I keep a 1.5l bottle of water on my desk (I am to drink two bottles a day). I definitely feel better if I drink a lot of water.

6. Break up with codeine

I have learned that my relationship with codeine is built on unrequited love. I love it when it gets rid of my headaches, but it just turns round and repays my love with vagueness and rebound headaches. So I’ve pretty much stopped taking it, which is a big thing for me because codeine has been my friend (crutch?) for a very long time.

7. Prevent problems

Lastly, you’ve got to do all this stuff consistently to avoid issues rather than using them to treat issues when they arise.

Six months ago I would have told you my top tip for managing PhD-induced headaches was codeine washed down with some caffeinated drink (preferably Coke). It’s kind of nice to write a blog post about being proactive with getting to the root of the issue rather than just masking the symptoms with codeine and caffeine. I am just a little bit proud of myself!

04 Nov

#acwrimo update: day four

I blogged last week about challenging myself to write 1666 words a day with my own version of NaNoWriMo, which I called DisWriMo. Since then, I’ve jumped on the AcWriMo bandwagon but my plans haven’t changed – I’m still aiming to write 1666 words a day on my thesis in November.

Except today I didn’t write any words at all. But I’m not beating myself up about it, and here’s why.

Over the first three days in November, I managed to write 4704 words. This is more than I’ve written on my thesis since my confirmation seminar in April. April 2012, that is.

I didn’t realise it had been so very long since my confirmation. And that meant I didn’t realise it had been so very long since I wrote anything related to my thesis. I think I had a mental block about thesis writing and the first three days of AcWriMo helped me to break that.

This is really important, and not just because I need to churn out words, stat. It’s important because I sense-make by writing. I know that. I’ve always known that. And yet I haven’t been accommodating that particular work style. I felt like I had to code All The Transcripts before I started writing, and I’ve been putting off writing while I did that. The trouble is, I have found coding really difficult. Not intellectually (although it’s true that it is challenging), but motivationally (I’m not even sure that’s a word). I’m okay one I’m coding, but making myself get started – in the morning, after a Pomodoro break, on a new transcript – has been bloody hard. I think this is partly because I really got into the spirit of initial coding and I was generating codes like a crazy woman. I had nearly 2000 by the time I’d done the first five transcripts. And then I spent weeks and weeks and weeks sorting them, resorting them, recoding the same pieces of data to check myself…  So I was stuck at this really detailed level of coding and I couldn’t quite figure out how to move forward, and I think that happened because I wasn’t letting myself write and so I was struggling to sense make. The writing I did over the first three days of AcWriMo has helped me to conceptualise the structure of my emerging findings.

This morning I sent 3000 words about the structure of my categories to my supervisors. It feels like I’ve actually *done something*. Finally.

So I’m just going to celebrate that and accept that what I did today was just as necessary as writing and see what happens tomorrow.

Since I still have transcripts to code (I hoped I’d be done by the end of October. Or September. Or August. But let’s not go there.), I am revising my daily goal a little bit for the next week. This week I’m going to aim for 750 words a day and one transcript coded. But for now I’ll leave my monthly target at 50,000 words and see how I go.

29 Oct

routines and rituals

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend who was finding it difficult to switch her brain off and go to sleep. I told her she needed to create a bedtime ritual to set up a series of signals to her brain that it was time to checkout of the day.

This morning, I’m feeling pretty rough after my own battle to sleep last night. It took me ages to get to sleep, and I woke up at 4.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep again. I’m an eight hours a night girl. If I don’t get my eight hours, my brain doesn’t work at full speed and I feel like I’ve got a hangover – queasy and vagued out. Last night I would have been lucky to get five hours.

And I realised this morning that I really should take my own advice, and create some rituals and routines for myself. I’ve blogged about the lack of routine that comes with working from home. Work tends to bleed all over the rest of your life and it’s tempting to stay up late to push through something when you’re on a roll, knowing you can sleep in the next day. Additionally, the fact you don’t have to blow dry your hair, put on makeup, construct an outfit, and drive to an office means the morning routine of getting up, getting ready having breakfast, and leaving home disappears.

This morning I stumbled on James Hayton’s blog The Painless PhD (found via this interesting article on The Conversation about how isolating the PhD process can be) and I read his post about how he wrote a PhD thesis in three months. Appealing post title, particularly because I’ve got roughly two and a half months to write mine! The post presents the 10 ‘secrets’ to taking a leaf our of Hayton’s leaf and writing your thesis fast. Tip number seven talks about the importance of routine.

So I feel like the universe is speaking to me right now about routines and rituals: a conversation last night; some self insight on the topic this morning; and a blog post coming across my path… They do say things happen in threes.

I did have a bit of a morning routine going on for a while at the beginning of my sabbatical, but I’ve let it slide. I am also utterly inconsistent about wrapping up my work at the end of the day – I tend to just keep going til I’m exhausted, starving, or just completely over it. And I blame Breaking Bad for wreaking havoc on my bed time routine – I’ve been glued to the TV for several weeks, watching all five seasons. (So close to the end. Such compelling viewing! I’ve gone from feeling sorry for / kinda liking Walter to absolutely despising him in a flash – like a switch flicked off at the beginning of season five… Anyway, I digress.) So this morning I’m taking 15 minutes to rethink how I do things.

I really want to nail this because I think having routines will help me to work more efficiently and manage my energy level, but I know it will take time to make these routines a habit. In particular, I know it will be difficult to make end of the day and bed time rituals stick because there is always that temptation to keep on working at knock off time, which can blow out the bed time ritual as well.

So I’m looking for things I could include in these rituals to send my brain signals that it’s time to get going, time to knock off, and time to check out. Any ideas?