A blurred image of people walking up a steps.

February 10, 2020, by UoN School of English

Ask a Busy Person

“How do you find the time?” I’m asked this often. I’ve worked full-time in heritage for 20 years, I’m a trustee for a local charity and I have a side hustle. Nothing unique about that, but there’s a saying in my network that if you need something doing ask a busy person. To be honest I don’t feel that busy and neither do my busy friends.

My first job was at Hallward library in the 90s, and no one talked about work life balance back then. I’ve tried yoga, mediated with Buddhists, used a timer. None of that really worked, although the Buddhists were lovely. So, 20 years ago I started breaking the rules. That’s why I have one diary on the wall in my home, one at work and three digital calendars. Heresy! If I didn’t, I’d forget where I want to be next. That’s the key: where I want, not need, to be.

I sort tasks into couple of minutes, ten minutes or needs thinking time. If I can do something in the queue for expensive coffee (as my boss calls it) then I do, ten-minute jobs get done at lunch time or before I leave work at the end of the day. When I need to think I hide in my home office with a cup of tea listening to brown noise, then the world disappears. That’s what I need to study.

Whether it be yoga, mindfulness, sport or a quiet space, strive to find the thing that makes your world disappear. Then you will have space to create.

Ruth Imeson is a first year part time English PhD student at the University of Nottingham and manages a local archive. Find her on Twitter @nottsarchivist.

Image credit: José Martín Ramírez C
Posted in Tips/Advice/Guidance