I feel like my life can be divided in two sections: Sprints and pauses to breathe.
A sprint usually starts with a somewhat big project. Then, after a short while some other, smaller projects start to pile up on the big one. In a sprint, I often feel like I cannot manage all the stuff that’s to be done, which most of the time is not true and just a distorted image of the reality build by my weird brain.
I recently tweeted this article out, in which that disortion is defined pretty well:
Which, of course, makes me realize that much of my effort apparently wasn’t effort at all, but just ineffective stress added on top of something to make it feel like I’m doing the best I can.
After the sprint is done, the pause to breathe follows. It’s that point where, from one day to another, all the things are done. No more stress, no things running around in my head. Actual free time.
In the last three years, all sprints basically started with the beginning of a new semester. That’s the big project (usually lasting about 3-5 months). Then, there are all the other small things adding to it: Work at the university (that naturally starts with the new semester), projects for the Agency, some private projects.
The sprint ends with the exams at the end of the semester. Breathe, one or more weeks. Towards the end of the holiday, there are exams again. Sprint. After those exams, breathe. Three to seven days. Then the next semester comes up and I’m back to a sprint.
Two observations about the pauses to breathe:
First, from semester to semester, those pauses have become shorter and shorter. On one hand, because the later semesters are more packed with projects, on the other hand because I started working and that’s, well, additional workload.
As of today, the pause to breathe could have been four days, if I wanted it to be that long and really cut off some things.
Second: I can stand this pauses less and less. Two years ago, I really enjoyed doing literally nothing for two weeks. Nowadays, I can’t stand the idea to do nothing for longer than a day.
Today, I got up at nine and did nothing until now, and I hate it. I almost have a feel of guilt for wasting so much time. I think that’s a good thing. I seem to have found something I like to do so much that it gets more valuable than free time. And people pay me for doing it. I really appreciate that!