I’m not sure I’m ready, but having a go at Karate grading to Orange belt today, which means need to remember these (along with other moves) – these are quite useful as they give the names of the moves too, which still grasping to get hold of!
I am SO EXCITED to be reading this piece in Times Higher Education – over the last year I’ve been seeking to work in a healthier pattern (although ironically this week has been a 6 day-week & I need to do some more over the weekend so that I can take a week off… to write a book proposal … carefully planned this is though!)
Some years ago, I heard that a colleague characterised me as “someone who didn’t work weekends”. This description was not meant as a compliment. It’s true that I make a concerted effort to keep something approximating normal working hours of 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. But I haven’t always worked like this. As a postgrad, I anxiously counted my hours and consulted with fellow students, worried that I wasn’t spending enough time at my desk. Eventually, I allowed myself one full day off weekly. When I became a lecturer, I stayed in the office until seven or eight in the evening, in part imitating the working patterns of my new colleagues, and continued to work weekends. Yet when I reduced my hours at the desk some years ago, my productivity did not decline. Instead, my mindfulness to follow regular hours means that my productivity is the same as or even greater than it was before, when I worked 50, 60 or whatever hours it was per week.
Further down, there’s a series of historical figures, and their living styles (most were writers)
The common feature in these workday schedules is walking, bipedalism, that form of locomotion that distinguishes us from the other primates. Walking and thinking seem to go together so naturally that perhaps it’s walking that made us thinkers. Aristotle famously taught while walking along the colonnade connecting the temple of Apollo and the shrine of the Muses. That link between philosophy and walking has stuck and was memorably parodied in Monty Python’s sketch about the Philosophers’ Football Match. Rebecca Solnit, author of Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2000), concurs that walking is good for thinking: she concludes “a desk is no place to think on a large scale”.
Exercise and sleep are highlighted as of key importance to being creative (and I’ve certainly been working on my sleep), and then How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing (2007) is quoted:
His suggestions are simple: write and do your research daily in small blocks of time (schedule it in and don’t cheat on that schedule); keep track of what you do in that time; stay attentive to your writing goals and, ideally, get yourself a group that will help you keep to these goals. You might protest, what good are small blocks of time? But small, regular amounts of work build up to significant productivity. A few pages often make a big difference. If you were learning how to tap dance or play the French horn, you wouldn’t set aside one full day a week for practice or cram it into your Saturday afternoons; instead you’d practise for short periods, daily. Why should research and writing be any different?
As academics, we are used to research, so we should research our own habits (oh yes – and being ‘completely detached’ from the good and the bad of a job – is key) –
It is in our best interest to not only be productive but satisfied with our work, because work is vital to our identity and self-definition. We need work not just to put bread on the table but to feel of use, to serve, to contribute, to make and to connect. But the long-hours culture and the cult of busyness saps meaning away, as we tick through never-ending “to do” lists, becoming chronically tired and working less efficiently with each overtime hour.
There’s mention that even in the factory shorter hours have demonstrated increased productivity .. and I remember this from my research in the Second World War – it was SO essential to get arms out, that an extra day was added to the ‘week-cycle’ … productivity went down! And, even in times of crisis, this is key:
Before, Red Cross workers put in as many hours as necessary until the job was finished. Now the Red Cross recognises that workers need breaks in order to be able to respond effectively to the humanitarian crises they face.
Today’s programme was pre-advertised as:
Should there be a ‘fat tax’ on sugary drinks and fast food?
This week the government announced a new healthy food school meal initiative across England. This is part of the solution to tackle the growing obesity issue facing the UK. A quarter of British adults are now thought to be obese. The NHS spends around £5billion a year on treating conditions linked to obese patients. Prof Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, told a committee of MPs that “we may need to introduce a sugar tax”.
Would you support a new tax? Should we pay more for unhealthy foods? Or, would this be a case of a nanny state telling us what we should eat?
You can have your say by voting on the question now online or live via SMS during Sunday’s programme: Should there be a ‘fat tax’ on sugary drinks and fast food?
I sent a tweet several days ago – and I think Graham’s were too. As I continue to work with Beyond Chocolate, and think about all the reasons that we eat other than because we’re hungry, an interesting watch. In many ways a ‘fat tax’ doesn’t seem to make much sense, but if that money encouraged food industries to use ‘proper ingredients’ rather than cheap ingredients such as palm oil it might make some sense… we can live in hope – my tweet was slightly ironic I think!
Thanks Vicky for picking up the emotional eating line – was worried amongst the group emphasising education, which seems straightforward, but research has shown that people’s ideas of what is ‘healthy’ change over time, or people return to ‘calories in = calories out’ and I’m not sure it’s that simple either… bits to chew over!
I have had various tests for TATT, but mostly the conclusion is it’s lifestyle – and about how much am doing things that re-energise/am passionate about. With the help of a coach and a counsellor I am making various changes – might blog on those one day – but wanted to remind myself of this excellent piece I saw in Time Magazine – headlines are:
- You skip exercise when you’re tired
- You don’t drink enough water
- You’re not consuming enough iron
- You’re a perfectionist
- You make mountains out of molehills
- You skip breakfast
- You live on junk food
- You have trouble saying ‘no’
- You have a messy office
- You work through vacation
- You have a glass of wine (or two) before bed
- You check e-mails at bedtime
- You rely on caffeine to get through the day
- You stay up late on weekends
Currently listening to this – eloquent – depression is not the opposite of ‘happiness’, but the opposite of ‘vitality':
In the Times Higher Education today there’s an interview with Barbara Taylor, a historian who is the subject of The Last Asylum.
“By the time Eve was published in 1983,” she recalls when we meet at a cafe near her home in Crouch End, “I was incapable of doing any sustained work. I struggled on, the next project flowed so naturally out of it that I knew how to go about it, but I just wasn’t capable.” Among the obstacles she faced was that “I usually couldn’t read. The only time I could read was last thing at night. Losing the capacity to read was just agony.” It was years before she returned to the project – “I literally blew the dust off my files” – and eventually brought it to completion as Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination (2003).
Read full article.
Despite suffering from depression for the past 4+ years, I’d never really understood why people described it as a ‘black dog’ (maybe because I love dogs…) but this video helps understand that concept, and for those who say ‘get a grip’ hopefully helps them understand depression too:
Interesting story, and one that makes sense for me. I largely gave up reading the news at the beginning of 2009.. the news is unbalanced, and if it’s not bad, it’s not really seen as news:
In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.
Read full story. Always interesting to think how much easier it is to give up following the news, etc. as the ‘big stories’ still come via Facebook/Twitter, etc… and this story came via Rachel!
Over the last year or so, my body has forced me to learn how to take time out. I’ve not necessarily learnt to be fully effective at it, but I’m making progress. Interesting article then, in Times Higher Education this week:
These are the days of Malvolio’s revenge. At the end of Shakespeare’s saturnalian Twelfth Night, Malvolio, sick with self-love and self-regard, vows vengeance on the play’s merry characters. Toby Belch, Andrew Aguecheek and Maria have exposed his hypocritical pieties and laughed at his unfashionably yellow-stockinged and uncomfortably cross-gartered legs. Faced with Malvolio’s austerity, Toby asks indignantly, “Dost think that, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” We live in austere times, say our politicians: puritanical Malvolio’s moment. No time for frivolity; or, as David Cameron tells us, we should “roll our sleeves up” like him, modify our behaviour and “do the right thing”. We must pay now for having enjoyed a sybaritic period when every day was Christmas.
It’s probably not the easiest moment, then, to advocate the extension of sabbaticals – with their cakes-and-ale values of rest and play – especially for those in supposedly less research-intensive institutions; but here goes.
Read full story.
Got a real interest in body image stuff, etc. and remembered seeing some stuff about this in the press, but here’s it’s academic credentials in Times Higher Education:
While some younger Chinese women responded favourably to “idealised Western models”, North American women felt frustrated or insulted by magazines using models whose appearance was “not realistic and not attainable”.
They were more likely to want to buy the clothes worn by a model who “mirrors their size, their age and their race”, the research found.
Dr Barry said it was now up to the industry to take note of “the case for diversity in fashion”.
A little parcel that turned up in the post this morning! Which also let me know about options for signing up for a fundraising page (I try and spread out my fundraising so I don’t ask for anything more than once a year, usually 2!):
They’ve got some great social media going on on the page too, and v. impressed to get a response on Facebook within 20-30 minutes after posting a hello! So who’s going to help me keep going (it kept me going for the Moonwalk, when I’d raised £400!)
So, now, “all” there is to do is to get the trainers back on, and get back on the streets… well, aside from the fact that I’ve been working on building up the muscles in my legs – stretching, swimming, circuit training, some realignment of my muscles by Winchester Holistics!
Indeed!! Thanks to @beyondchoc for bringing it to our attention…
OK, so I said I was going to start running again, and I tried to put it off tonight (even scoffing Haribos on the way home :-(), but then decided to look through the App store for more ideas. Sara Batts had suggested http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml, but I in trying to find the app that went it, saw there were loads that talk to you whilst running (whilst allowing you to play music), keep a record, and then Tweet at the end of it. Sounded about right!
I went for: http://splendid-things.co.uk/getrunning/, as it had a huge number of positive reviews on the iTunes store. Also a forum you can join:
OK, so the first run starts off with a 5 minute warm up, at which they recommend that you walk at a brisk pace (there’s various settings you can set up on the phone for age, weight, connect to Twitter, etc.), with a pleasantly voiced woman (I detect a tang of Aus in there!) giving calm instructions, and letting you know what comes next:
If desired, you can check the phone to see how you’re going on, otherwise leave the music going, and I found my body responding almost automatically to the instructions (tired, feel a bit like a robot!), although by the 5th run my calf muscles were aching a bit (they’ve only just recovered from snapping 3 times in 4 weeks earlier in the summer… but have been building up with shuttle runs at the gym… those are a minute each too… but I guess the body gets stretched in between…):
“She” congratulates you at the end of those runs, having kept you going, and calls for a 5 minute walk down … she let’s you know when the warm down is done, and recommends that you stretch (but no particular stretches – I know lots from the gym, but I’d be a little worried that complete coachers would not know what to do):
As I had linked the app to Twitter (or could have done Facebook), and asked it to pre-write the message – that’s what happened, and here goes this message (it puts your next run in too, but short of running at James/Holly’s… I’d rather run again Thurs!):
Feeling quite tired at the end of that… more the psychology of getting myself running again … have been in this flat for 1.5 years and not run from here… used to run from previous lodgings (the joy of Winchester, it’s not FLAT!):
So, how are you going to cheer me on? Ensure that I run again (Thursday, I think!)… or join my ‘Secret’ Facebook group!
At this point, I’ve just signed up for the Great South Run, 28th October 2012.
In 2006, I was on a ski trip in January, and said that I would run the Manchester 10k (May) .. thinking it didn’t sound that far… but after 1 minute on the treadmill, I was slightly dying, so joined the running club. My aim was to get it done in 1 hour 30 minutes, but I did it in 1 hour 8 minutes 26 seconds…
Later that year, after sharing a bottle of wine with a friend, we signed up for the Winchester 10k, which was a WEEK later (and I was still running, but definitely not at the same level), but I completed that in 1 hour 6 minutes! I’m sure it’s more hilly also…
In the time since, I’ve been travelling around the world (where I got a chest infection), partaken in a number of computer based jobs, and I felt the need for something to inspire me to get my ‘get up and go back’ (I’ve been back at the gym for over a year, and love the classes there)… and know that running before, though I don’t particularly “enjoy” it, I really reap the benefits from it… and seeing @batty_towers talking about her runs, a friend running today in the Great South Run, and seeing the apps that show how far you’ve run (seen those Tweets about #runkeeper?). Also see:
I’ll be running on behalf of the NSPCC, so at some point there will be an appeal for sponsorship, but encouragement & support will be greatly appreciated!