Reflection Missing In Action

Reflection has been in short supply in recent weeks. This Sorry We're Closed sign in the shop window encapsulates my feelings.
Photo by Tim Mossholder, on Unsplash

Reflection has gone missing in action, as has my blogging action. It’s more than a month since I last wrote anything. Life is busy. Business is intense, not just the day to day. I’m working with a team who are delivering. In parallel taking a good, close look at the long-term strategy of the business. As a further dimension, coming through the integration of two businesses that have merged only months ago. Lots of cultural and structural aspects are involved in this latter activity. Lots of moving parts in general.

My upfront excuse is that of confidentiality. I’m absorbed by my work at some stage every day, including weekends. The subjects I think about very often have work related aspects to them. I can’t commit all of those to paper, as much as I might like to. Various stakeholders may not be enamoured to stumble over all of my reflections. All in all, still an excuse.

Blogging was the first thing to go once the business temperature ticked up. Exercise has suffered too. I’m finding that the exercise week is getting crammed in towards the end of the week and over the weekend. I’m missing more workouts than I would like to and recovery is compromised. It feels like the fitness wheels are spinning a little. 

My recent short holiday forced me to take an enforced break from email, the first in many years. With only a few days off, I understood that if I looked at one mail, I would read them all. Then that would lead to no real mental downtime. I have tried hard to ensure sleep doesn’t suffer too much and I’m winning there. If my mind wakes me early in the morning, I’m making sure to go to bed a little earlier. The sleep tracker tells me I’m doing a decent job. 

The faster pace and increased intensity of business has squeezed a lot of discretionary time from my hours in the week. I’m having to be conscious to look after certain wellbeing aspects. Sleep, exercise. Accepting my diet isn’t going to be spot on and giving myself a break when I stray from the path. I’m pleased I can be conscious about wellbeing, not to let it disappear under the workload. I haven’t always had that awareness. 

The blogging piece does trouble me. It signals there is no space for reflection and creativity. The mental space is at capacity. At times I constantly think “I must start a blog post”. Then I come up empty, no creative thought. If I can’t do a blog post, what’s happened to my reflective capacity? Is it still there, but being utilised by the business activity? Or has the pressure closed that part of my mind down? It’s not a desirable place to be. 

I have set a challenge for myself. Because I like a challenge. Can I make free time every day or two to reflect? Not just on the business challenge, but on life more generally. Perhaps on creative areas such as writing, or reading, or listening to my slowly growing vinyl collection. I can be conscious about sleep and exercise and proactively taking a short vacation. Now can I be conscious about reflection?

Wellbeing is a broad subject. All the hard and soft aspects need attending too. The key to this is being self-aware. I’ve not stopped blogging because I want to. I haven’t stopped because of lack of time, it doesn’t take long at all. I’ve stopped because my space for reflection has seeped away. 

I don’t blog when I sit down in front of a keyboard. I blog many days and sometimes weeks before, the ideas form consciously and unconsciously. Then one day the ideas make me sit down in front of the MacBook. It’s the unconscious thinking and reflection time that has leaked. That’s almost certainly an important resource and underpinning for mental wellbeing. Losing that cannot be seen as a positive. 

Here’s a blog post. Clunky and uninspired. But it has made me stop and think and do something other than being busy with work. Being mindful of mental wellbeing. 

Maybe tomorrow, another blog post. Maybe not.


Also published on Medium.

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