Niall’s virtual diary archives – September 2006

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27th September 2006

The pain of being back in St. Andrews

Wednesday 27th September 2006: 11.22pm. The number of times now that I have wanted to write an entry but haven't had the time in the last few weeks has been many. I think half the problem is fully accepting that you're back - your subconscious doesn't want to be here, it knows what's really good for you and it keeps making you not want to engage fully. Hence, you end up fighting being here, creating more work for yourself by not adequately preparing for things you know you have to do shortly, keeping yourself extremely busy by not being disciplined to work. Prevaricating. Cleaning the house. Anything but what you're actually supposed to be doing in a timely fashion so you end up rushing things and not doing them properly, thus creating more mop up work down the line. Let us lurch from crisis to crisis please!

I have been doling out that advice to many here last few weeks, and it sure wasn't pleasant when I had to take a dose of my own medicine last few days. I did not prepare sufficiently for the introductory lecture to the Future Society, and it showed on the night. I didn't even get the lecture slides finished until just before we left the house to walk to the venue. Then, annoyed at myself, I took it out on Johanna by being snappy to her. And that's not on - that's not me, and I do better than that. This said, I could not honestly think of precisely when I should have done them except maybe during the previous week. All of that stuff should have been done and dusted a week earlier, with me only putting on finishing touches since. That's where you get quality from.

Thinking back, I agree I have spent too much time drinking with people - my bank balance proves that as well. More subconscious escapism. I have spent too much time messing around with Johanna during the day time instead of getting things done. That stuff should be relegated strictly to evenings when the work is done. Worse still, I have known all this as I have had a ten to twenty item to-do list almost permanently for the last few weeks, and that loses you flexibility and ability to adapt to unexpected events because when the list is that long, you are basically always leaving things to the last minute. Like making sure there is enough money in your account to pay the credit card so you don't get failed payment fines (on both ends). Like putting the bins out so they don't get full. Like submitting a discretionary grant for the society early enough that we can pay our bills on time and not get late fees.

Time, time, time. It's all about managing your time. Not letting yourself have fun until ALL the work is done. Telling people you'd far prefer to spend time with that you can't. Locking yourself in your room and turning off your mobile until you're at least half way through that to-do list. Set up internet banking so you're not paying ten euros of fees for every two hundred quid you transfer from Ireland. Buy whiskey because you're so wound up you can't sleep, thus making the whole situation several times worse. Watch your weight drop, your skin sag and grey, bags appear under your eyes, your back hunch and nervous twitches appear in your eyelids.

Am I sounding just a little too bitter? I guess I hate how much I let this place get to me. I like to think I'm stronger and more able to control what affects me, but let's be honest - I keep fighting an unwinnable war. I just need to surrender control completely - accept I am back, return to the process. Prepare well in advance. Don't have fun except when everything else is done - this also solves the budgeting problem with one fell swoop.

Gagh! It's quarter to one and most definitely time for bed! Be happy!

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