That Friday feeling… on Thursday

Why is it that short weeks always feel longer than longer ones? It never ceases to amaze me, and that was exactly what happened this last week, being the second bank holiday in May (in the UK).

I am not sure if it is the need to cram five days of work into four, or just because it is all too easy to slip into a mini holiday the weekend before, but that Monday feeling—of course, now a Tuesday feeling— is just that little bit more brutal as you struggle to get going again after the weekend.

Last week, all of this meant that by Thursday, it felt like Friday, and there was still a day to go!

Being Busy

Psychology this is interesting and it made me think about the dynamics between busy and non-busy periods.

I am not sure about you, but I actually find non-busy periods quite disconcerting. If they come straight after periods of intense work, even more so.

I felt this most strongly back at school when I started exams. You would revise like mad, doing all the research and examples, focused to ensure you could do your best in the exam (it never felt like it was enough mind you).

The exams would arrive… then done… they were over, euphoria—you made it.

However, like everything, this euphoria fades. Then one morning, you wake up and realise that with all the things that have taken over your life for the last six months no longer needing to be done, you are left somewhat in limbo. I used to kind of sit there wondering what to do next and what was the next thing to be done. I, at least, used to find this very disconcerting.

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And, this is not limited to studying either; it is the same dynamics with big work projects, key deliverables, goals, or even job interviews too.

Being Not Busy

Lots of effort, delivery of the best output possible… then a period of what feels like ‘tumbleweed’.

Mention this to anyone, at best you will get an ‘enjoy the time’, but more likely ‘here are some things I need you to do’ and not much sympathy.

In today’s world being busy is seen as a good thing, we all like to say we are busy, it is ‘a good problem to have’! Not being busy can be anxiety-inducing.

These days it is all too easy to fill your time and be more busy; let’s face it, we can always find more to do. Filling the day is also very comforting. It stops that disconcerting feeling in its tracks with a quick ‘at least I am busy’ refrain.

Yet as hard as it is to admit, and even harder to do, these non-busy periods can be important.

Doing something different

They are a time when you naturally, are able to reflect, pick yourself up, wonder, and decide what to do next. After all the real question we should be asking is, ‘are the tasks I am doing adding the most value or building to more value long term’ for my objectives? If not, am I doing the right thing?

If we just keep doing what we always do, we never do anything different, and being just busy can make it hard to break out of this pattern.

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So despite a ‘busy’ week last week, maybe next week it is time for a little self-reflection… to pick ourselves up, reprioritise, and refocus before it all starts again.

Have a good week everyone.

[And good luck to all with exams at the moment!]
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