I’m not the most organized person in the world. People I have worked with say that I am, but in truth, while I love making lists and sorting things into neat compartments, I’m not a systematic person at all.
IQ tests confound me. Most of the time, I can’t even comprehend the question. Likewise, instructions and manuals aren’t remotely helpful as my mind just freezes when I look at them. The same goes for recipes.
But I do find that there seems to be some law at work, some force which appears to dictate how things are going at a certain point, either allowing things to fall into place quite seamlessly, or making me feel like I’m swimming upstream in a river of sludge.
Why am I writing about this? Because this law helps me achieve balance in what I do. Or perhaps my actions have come to support and end up enforcing how that law works.
In college, my attempts at achieving balance included this strategy – if I was staying up late to study or work on assignments, I would not skimp on food. In fact, I would take extra efforts to ensure that I ate well. In contrast, if things were good and classes were manageable, I reasoned that a skipped meal or two wouldn’t hurt. My logic was that, I could get by with less sleep if I had the necessary energy from eating well, and if I was sleeping well, then my body could handle a little less food.
Somehow, it still makes sense in my head even if my attempts to explain it sounds weird even to me.
Anyway, I soon noticed that my college life seemed to sway back and forth between periods of high energy, when I felt on top of the world even with little sleep, and periods when 10 hours of sleep still felt insufficient. Each phase would last a couple of months.
I’m not sure which came first – my deliberate attempts to manage energy levels or the actual, alternating phases. Or perhaps they each fed into the other?
In my first job, a good friend and colleague noted that I had a pattern. I would show up for work on time and dive right in while everyone else was still having coffee across the street. By noon, I’d be asking around to see who wanted to have lunch. After that, the afternoon slump would inevitably set in, but by late afternoon I’d be furiously making up for lost time.
I only worked there for 9 months, but it was already painfully obvious to him how I functioned on a daily basis.
Skipping forward a few years, my colleagues would loudly comment on my habit of having a late afternoon tea at my cubicle while enjoying a few pages from whatever novel I was currently engaged with.
“Aren’t you afraid the bosses will see you??”
Obviously not. Not because I was difficult or defiant, but because I worked best that way. I’d noticed that a short break between projects made me more productive, more able to focus, and I kept up this habit for years without any superiors having an issue with it, because it worked!
When I took the chance to work on a flexi-time basis, everything changed. My first three months was an unproductive nightmare of Popcap games and YouTube, mid-day naps and procrastination. Fortunately, system (of sorts) developed out of the chaos and I could crank out a decent amount of work on a daily basis, but now things have come full circle and I’m back in the office more days than not.
On the rare days now when I do get to work from home, it’s hard to find that groove and even harder to imagine – looking back – that I used to get that much work done.
So where does that leave me now? Watching and waiting for a new system to appear that’s more in sync with my life as it is now. It did cross my mind that it’s really strange how I progress from one phase to the next, in a random progression I just don’t understand. But maybe that’s just how it works.