Over-enthusiastic again

How many times will it take for me to learn not to do this?

Here I am again, much like I was two weeks ago, when I wrote Journalling choice challenge. Same pattern – I've filled the days up too much so that two things happen together – I don't feel I have the energy or clear space to write, and there is too much undigested to write about.

Monday: four ‘work’ video calls. Tuesday: four work calls, one family call. None of them were the kind where you can half listen and reply to your e-mails at the same time. One call on Monday and three on Tuesday were one-to-one calls (all very good value, all with so much fascinating content) and the rest were very engaging small team calls where I had to stay alert and follow closely.

It's odd, when you look at it with a little detachment. Were does this drive to fill up time come from? Is it some kind of assumed responsibility, that I'm available, so there's no excuse not to talk?

The problem for me appears in the form of my not being at my best. I notice myself forgetting what I was going to talk about with that person; confusing one context with another sometimes; forgetting who I said what to. I don't have the energy, and when I'm jumping from call to call I don't have the time to prepare, so I sometimes find myself needing to recap, to go over old ground again, not using the other person's time with me well.

Ideally, before every call, I would look over previous notes for that conversation; take some time to reflect; have the questions and the issues in mind, and be genuinely ready to listen to new ideas without needing to be reminded of old ones; have developed my ideas a step, and have something new to offer – or if not exactly new, to have made the connection with whatever relevant thinking or writing I have done in the past. This preparation would be greatly helped if I do have the time to review each day's conversation before the following day.

What I'm not quite sure of is whether I should write, as I have usually done, in the evening, or try to write in the morning. If I write in the morning, there is more chance of including insights from dreams or lying-in-bed-awake inspiration. Not doing either just allows a backlog to build up, further compromising my ability to be fully focused on the conversation at hand.

There may also be a backlog of responsibilities I've taken on and haven't done yet. But I have a sneaking suspicion that in some ways more important are the ones which are not actually committed to – as action points are – but which are tacitly invited, unspoken, around personal conversation. It's easy to prioritise public explicit commitments – after all that's part of having a good reputation for being reliable – and easy to say to oneself that the personal calls are ‘just’ personal, and don't demand attention outside the call time. But, really, is it not with those very people that new ideas are developed? For sure, sometimes we need the collective, particularly for the really tricky complex matters. But the emergent radical beginning of a new idea is only the start. Effort in development must follow. I keep on telling myself that I work best in partnership. So why not give more priority to that; dedicate more time?

It looks pretty simple when I reflect on it. I want to come to each conversation more fully, which involves preparation and reflection. I want to give myself time after each conversation to ‘harvest’ (very apposite idea borrowed from the Art of Hosting) whatever seems most significant. I want to consolidate that in this journal either in the evening or the morning.

After all, it can't be just learning not to do something. It has to be learning to do something more fruitful in its place. And it's not so much over-enthusiasm (maybe that was somewhat deliberately misleading) as much as enthusiasm directed in the most fruitful way.

Let's hope I re-read this entry several times.

Topics: Journal writing

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