Most days, I feel that my simple living philosophy and my challenging job are in conflict.
Today, I feel that they are in balance. Mostly because I managed to take a half-day's leave, so I very much have the best of both worlds. (Maybe part time is the answer?) I had a very full morning at work, and then came home to hoover, put on a load of laundry and settle in with a cup of tea for a little reflection and some crochet.
I've been thinking a lot over the last couple of days why I feel such a sense of satisfaction from the few parts of homemaking that I am on top of - having a clean, tidy kitchen; having fresh bedsheets on the bed or in the cupboard - compared to the frustration of never quite being good enough at work. I think it's largely because I am my own boss at home - I set the standards, and I know (at least at the moment) that I am making slow, steady, sustainable progress. This in turn allows me to take pride in what I am doing right, without letting the areas where I still have so far to go from bringing be down (much.)
Even though I have a boss - or several - who set their standards of success, why not try to take the mindset I have at home into the workplace? Focus more on standards I set myself rather than those others set for me, think more proactively about what I want to give at work, allow myself to structure my workload and my day to help improve my focus as much as possible.
I know that I work much better when I am focused - the kind of focus you get in a competitive judo match, when you have to stay loose to be able to react quickly, remain somewhat detached to be able to pick up on subtle cues and read your opponent's body language, and think clearly on your strategy, without getting distracted by passing thoughts. I don't often find this mental place at work but I think in general I am far less likely to let small but essential tasks slip through the cracks, more tuned in to the details, and also contribute to a more positive atmosphere in the team. In contrast, when tense and stressed, I make silly mistakes, beat myself up over them, and get defensive when confronted on them.
The more I think about it, the more I see ways I could use work to practice some simple living skills. More efficient practices, better focus and mindfulness, less distraction and procrastination. Being organised, knowing where things are, planning ahead, doing today whatever I can to reduce tomorrow's workload, facing up to challenging decisions or difficult conversations and tackling them head on.
Today, I'm just enjoying a cup of tea on a relaxed, sunny afternoon at home with my boyfriend - a very rare but wonderful treat.