piles of stuff
To be honest, this isn’t going very well. The blog. My projects. Connecting with the community here in Valencia.
Yet I’m not unhappy or upset about that. Nor do I feel defeated or like giving up. It just takes time I keep telling myself, and people keep telling me.
There has been progress and “stuff” is moving. In fact, our “stuff” – 38 boxes, some with rugs, others with wall decorations, bedding and linens, kitchenware, books, cycling gear, personal documents, …, and I could go on, but you get the idea – arrived here at the end of April. Unpacking was chore. There are still boxes to deal with, but the majority are now empty, the flat feels more familiar, homey now. It did
But there’s still so much to do. It feels a bit like doing laundry. There’s piles of it everywhere, and no matter how much I do, there’s always more.
Goal-setting is one of my tools to help me sort and order my tasks and find my way forward. When I am not achieving my goals, the mere fact of having set them still helps me. Like right now. I can clearly see what I am not getting done. The question also is – what is getting done?
For three weeks, I am going to put my nominal goals on hold. I am going to go about my routine, reflect and observe where my time goes. I’m becoming convinced that I have lined-up too much to do, too many projects and I don’t have them all in focus. I pick up one, do some and then it gets set aside for a while. This blog is a perfect example. Since January I have had the goal of two posts per week, one a Galeano translation, and another about whatever. Well that is just not happening, why?
what am I doing?
One reason I think is because since I arrived in Valencia, I’ve been doing translations for the UK Zapatista Translation Service. I still enjoy the Galeano translations, they are very different from the communiques and news I’m doing for the Zapatistas. But because of the Zapatista translations, I guess, the Galeano translations feel less and less like a hobby and vaguely like a chore. I am enjoying the translation tasks, and I can notice improvement.
I’m also trying to live, work and be more in a Spanish-speaking frame of mind. I am have been reading a lot. El Pais, random articles, and an engrossing book set in Valencia by Marta Querol, “El final del ave fénix”. I have about 30 pages left. I recommend the book for a view of gender roles during the 1950s and 60s Franco era. The book is also very evocative of Valencia as a “place” and time, the landmarks and historic milestones in the narrative are real.
the little zapatista book
The little zapatista book project crawls along. I have ring fenced one full day a week for that, but I see that project is going to take a lot more everyday work than one day a week. One day a week’s not enough to finish in 18 months. So during the next three week I need to study how I use my time, and make more time for this book project, which should be “easy” because the project motivates and stirs me enormously.
That moves on in an ebb and flow kind of way. This week there was a small ebb, I need to flow more. I have some pending actions that aren’t due until the end June, but it would be good to get started.
Look at that! I have fallen down a rabbit hole of introspective, list-making, which I’m not sure how interesting that really is, unless it’s your own list!
In short, I need to slow down, rather than rush from one thing to the next. Pay attention, be mindful. Observe where my time is going, and notice how my energy and mind is working here. Culturally, Spain is on another timetable from England and my “get up at 6am, go to bed by 10pm routine” really isn’t helping me be my most productive. In three weeks time, I hope I know what to shift or eliminate off the list, and emphasise what is giving me energy, helping me maximise my waking hours.
Measurable – in my calendar diary, I’ll record one main activity for each day and any others that take up more than an hour of my time.
Achievable or not – sounds simple, all I have to do is reflect on the day’s activity and make a note.
Realistic – I’ve chosen 3 weeks because that seems realistic. Actually I think 2 weeks would be a enough, but next week we have visitors all week so it’s not going to be a typical “project week”. Check-in 4 June.
Timely – if not now, then when? It’s time to get smart.