Review of September 2018 : the end of make-up, reducing waste and giving my best

Again,  I am awfully late. I am not doing great with the blog these days… September has been a great month so worth updating you !

Back to happiness : After a very challenging 6 months, I am glad to report that I am finally back to a happier place. Family life has been nurturing, work is more interesting and less political, I have successfully run my second 10k which has given me a good boost of self confidence, I have spent very nice moments with both old friends and new friends. I definitely feel back to a lighter state.

No more make-up at work : It takes too much time to apply in the morning . Men don’t have to do this so they save so much time compared to women. That’s an inequality I can cut ! 5 min per morning means 25 min per work week. That’s 25 min extra I can spend with the girls, or reading the paper and keep up with the world, or just take a bath ! And also, I am old enough now that I don’t care about big eyelashes. I get my beauty from somewhere else.

Fed up with the bins : We are fortunate to live in Cardiff, where the council does a lot for waste treatment and recycling. Nonetheless, when Lion takes the trash out every Monday night, I am ashamed at the collection of garbage that my family produce. So we have taken little steps to reduce this household’s waste. Please see this separate article for the details. I don’t yet have a quantitative view of the impact of this but our goal is to cut a whole bin bag a week (out of 3).

Focus on daily performance : Since I have changed job in July, there have been ups and downs. Mostly due to my ego and the aftershock of the past 4 months. I have lost so much self-confidence that I know it will take time to rebuild it. In the meantime, I am focusing on just doing great work on a day-to-day basis and piling on the small wins : a strong email, a thorough paper, a swift post-meeting summary. Long-term success is born out of daily habits. It doesn’t mean spending too much times on details and admin tasks but instead, spotting the essential and trying to do it well and not wondering every 5 minutes if this is the assignment that will make or break my career.

Books I have read :

  • The 7 habits of  highly-effective people by Stephen Covey : One of the most famous book of management, this has become a classic of its genre. Most of us know some of its frameworks, such as the important/urgent matrix, but this book has a depth that is unusual for management books. It considers professional performance as only one axis and encourages the reader to take a holistic view of life, by writing a personal mission statement. The method proposed is to list all the roles that one has in life (parent, spouse, worker, daughter, friend, citizen etc) and to imagine what you would like the stakeholders of each role to say in your eulogy. A bit macabre but forces you to focus on the essential. From this exercise comes a personal constitution that helps you to live a life based on principles that don’t change, hence anchoring you. I highly recommend this book !
  • Gigged by Sarah Kessler : I am very interested by new and different ways of working so I was hoping that this book would give me insights into the gig economy. Sarah Kessler is a journalist and this is apparent in the book. She intertwines narratives of gig workers with key points in the history of the gig economy, such as the launch of Uber or the US congress discussions on how to protect those workers that are neither employed nor free, in what resembles a very long newspaper article. A good summary on the topic, for those who are interested, and a fairly quick read.


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