‘Tomorrow I will be more productive’. ‘Today is the day that I will be productive’. How often is it that we tell ourselves things like this? Everyday for the past two weeks or so, I have gone to bed thinking the former and woken up each morning promising myself the latter – to no avail. Sometimes we simply cannot ‘will’ ourselves to do be productive or do something useful. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by a general sense of malaise, a sort of damp, dark fog clouding my head and limiting my visibility – I haven’t been able to see the point of doing very much. This can, of course, lead to an awful downwards spiral: the less we do, the more our minds swirl with a growing list of ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ that make us feel even more guilty & useless & paralysed with inactivity.
What lies behind this malaise? I don’t know. I want to get on, to tackle the lists I’ve drawn up of things to do – useful things, good things, things that I enjoy, things I find fulfilling and nurturing. There is nothing that I really don’t want to do. So why don’t I just get on with it? There are probably a myriad of answers to that seemingly simple question. One response is tiredness: I feel lethargic all the time, a feeling that is undoubtedly aggravated by actually being tired. As I go to bed feeling unproductive, feeling that I’ve ‘wasted’ another day, I get a sudden urge to ‘do’ something – as if trying to prove to myself that the day hasn’t been such a waste all. This usually involves killing an hour or so on the Internet. Nothing gets achieved and I’ve lost an hour’s sleep. To stem this vicious tide of tiredness, I made sure that I was on ‘the angel train’ last night. I’ve written about this before (Note to self: must go back and tag the relevant posts). Basically, it’s the old idea that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight. I came across it in a self-help book; the author promised that going to bed for 10pm for three nights in a row would dramatically help one’s moods etc. So successful was it for her, she’d named it ‘catching the ten o’clock angel train’.
I’m a bit of an angel train evangelist, yet often fail to take a dose of my own medicine – wasting extra late night hours on the Internet being the exact opposite to what I need, which is decent sleep. So last night, I made sure I was all aboard the angel train – going to bed at 9.30pm, in fact. I slept well, really well. And today? Well, my day wouldn’t have won any prizes for being the most productive use of time ever, but it was certainly an improvement on previous days. I’ve worked on a paper that I’m trying to write, spent some time doing stuff for the journal that I hold a position on, spoke to a friend, made up some Christmas deccies that I’m making, done some admin type bits and pieces. Am feeling pleased with myself, satisfied that I’ve done plenty & had a lovely day to boot – squeezed in watching last night’s episode of Kirstie’s Homemade Home (TV in the afternoon – felt like a right old lush!) and sampling my mum’s amazing apple and cinnamon bread and butter pudding. I’m writing this post now as I’m off to watch one of my other favourite television shows, Grand Designs. I have to write this now as the moment Grand Designs finishes, I’ll be dashing to my bed, determined to jump on that 10pm departure to sleep. Choo choo!