Getting through.


Mondays are PhD /clinical trials days.

First thing in the morning I see trial participants. This produces a head of steam.

Today, that head of steam was short lived. I contemplated going back home to bed; the fatigue and lassitude from an overdone weekend was lingering, and, by 11am, I was the mayoress of struggletown. Indeed, without deadlines or anything “solid” to do, it is all too easy to give in to impulses to sleep.

The feeling of fatigue intensified, then passed. I went to morning tea. Sat in the sun and listened to some music on my iPhone. Did some actual work! Had some lunch. Phoned a friend. The tired feeling came back after lunch. It is harder to resist when there is no imperative to do anything immediately, no adrenaline rush.

This is a time where, previously, I would have eaten something. Inhaled the leftover cake that was sitting on the table, and most of the chocolate with it. Had a quick spike in energy, with even bigger crash. I was not hungry, though.

I went and had a nap in my car. I dozed off on my back seat, listening to birds squawk in gum trees. Meanwhile, the sun beat down on the car. I left the door open, and hoped, as I dozed off, that nobody would catch me snoozing. My feet were hanging out of the back door – a telltale sign.

I woke up an hour later, as the car became too hot. I rubbed my eyes and wandered back into the lab and was greeted by one of my colleagues. She said “hello there”, to which I replied sheepishly “I just had a nap in my car”.

She giggled and said “Yes, Sal does that. So does Jia. So do I, occasionally.”

I was actually able to do some work then. More surprising, my mum rang, and I had a conversation with her that did not result in me wanting to take my eyeballs out with a fork!

It is a different kind of job for me; most people have gazetted time to do this or that, whereas my time is a bit more fluid, when I am not scheduled to see patients. I really have to go with the ebb and flow; to work when I have the energy and inspiration, and  to rest when I am tired.

How does everyone else get through the day at work/study when they are tired/distracted/otherwise struggling? Surrepititious snooze, internet shopping (or porn), coffee, spearfishing in the fridge/vending machine, just hardening up, imagining causing injury to disliked colleagues?

3 responses »

  1. A small packet of M&Ms has become a fairly regular habit recently. The nap may be a better option, knowing my luck though I’d probably wake up at about midnight.

  2. Try a couple of productivity techniques such as:
    Pomodoro – or
    Dashes –
    If they fail (which they probably will if you’re tired enough) then resort to mantras such as repeating to oneself: ‘This too will end’ over and over again.
    Lastly go to a happy place for a while and see how much productive activity (notice, not work) you can squeeze out until lassitude permeates your body and mind.

  3. nana naps are gold. Taken around 2-3pm for no more than an hour, they give you a second wind to see you through until the evening.

    Keep a pillow or squishy cushion and a light cotton blanket in the car. And a bottle of water and a hairbrush. You’ll be ready for anything!

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