Finding my Flow

Hey all!

It’s been over a year now since moving from mainly on the road paramedic shift work (hands on, work given to me by others via radio, unable to plan a shift) to Office based project management (though still for an ambulance service :slight_smile: )

As such, I feel I’m still finding my flow, how I work best, adapting to what the organisation offers from a framework and tools perspective etc.

I might post some past struggles, but for now, some current ramblings. A long time OmniFocus user, just hours before @justindirose podcast episode on simplicity, I ditched OF and gave the overhauled Apple reminders a try. I tried and tried to set it up the way I wanted with calendar, fantastical, notes etc, just couldn’t hit the sweet spot. Starting from scratch with reminders, I’ve been able to only put the bare minimal stuff in there, and stick other data elsewhere, e.g. sometime/maybe list in Notes. What a freeing experience it’s been.

As to the time boxing I wrote up in another post, I use that as a guidance, and focus what I want/need to do (five priorities I call my Five Focus) over the course of a week.

Conclusion: I was constraining myself too much. I’m not a machine. If I get back to that stage and tinker with (for me) overly complex systems, I need to remind myself to re-read these lines!

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It’s so crazy to see that a lot of people thought “simpler is better” right around the same time.

I love that.

100% YES TO THIS. I feel like productivity causes us sometimes to be efficiency machines (even when we’re trying to be effective and intentional). But we often miss out on the human aspect life when we’re just trying to push to a goal.

More and more I want my system to help me explore and learn versus attain some kind of goal. Do I have dreams still? Yes. And big ones. But I’m learning to trust the process that if I keep slowly working in that direction, even though the path is a little zig-zaggy, I’ll eventually get there.

Will love to hear more about how this goes for you long term!

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My ideal sense of flow is when I’m in the zone and working on project work and tasks. The most resistance I’ve sensed usually occurs when I’m in planning mode actively curating, reviewing, and creating projects and single action lists. It gave me a false sense of “productivity” because I was spending more time in my task manager instead of working on the projects/tasks themselves.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy brainstorming and looking at my lovely projects lists. But I’d rather be getting **** done over pipe dreaming. The lure to stay in my task manager is too strong. That’s why I’d rather pick 3 tasks and write them on a piece of paper and work from there instead of leaving my task manager open on my phone, tablet, or computer.

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Unrelated to my first post, but an update nonetheless: This week has been busy, crazy, and shown me my limits.

After finishing the final draft of my Masters Thesis last week Sunday at 4am (I couldn‘t sleep so I thought I may as well just get it done), I gave myself the day off - for a break, and also knowing full well that I wouldn‘t get much done with that little amount of sleep (2hrs). Monday I started a three week „recognition of paramedic qualifications in another country“ course (voluntarily), but had no time/capacity to prepare for it. People were positive, I could still do it, just go for it. I quickly realised that I lacked fundamental (local) knowledge, and then the realisation set in that I would not have the time to catch up with the studies to give myself enough margin to definitely pass the course. If I do something, I want to do it well, and just scraping by is not what I want, and not something I want to do in front of colleagues, or feel is responsible for the public that funded the course (public health insurance) and may be at the receiving end of my skills.

So I deferred to next year. I had been stressing myself out all week, unable to join in adequately during class, unable to study enough in the evenings, coming home tired and with a headache three out of five days, eating very unhealthily…doing that another two weeks for an uncertain outcome was not worth it at all. I do feed a bit rubbish, let down mixed with failure mixed with relief, but all that whilst knowing pushing myself was just not worth it in this case.

Nothing to do with Effective remote work, but its in the personal update section, and I thought I may as well share my week. Back to the (home and work) office on Monday, so future updates will be more in theme with this forum.


Many of us can relate! I wouldn’t worry about this. I am enjoying your updates. It reminds me to get my own personal updates going too!

It sounds like it’s busy season for you!

Yes, I have this view too. Sometimes I feel like I need to fake it 'till I make it. But stress is something that I’m always wary of. I guess stress for short durations are OK but if it becomes a standard M.O. for a longer time period, that’s when it becomes troublesome and needs some reflection to see what we can do. The definition of “a longer time period” is open for debate though. What is “too long?” It depends.

Whew! Yeah, take care of yourself. Regroup, reload, and we can try this again. Have you been able to find other colleagues or friends close to you that have gone through the same event? I’d like to commiserate with my friends and figure out what I can do. I often get better ideas when I have other viewpoints that I can reflect on.

As long as we keep our stressful periods short, it shouldn’t have longer-term impact on our personal health and sanity.

Thanks for sharing!

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That’s a tricky one indeed. A couple of years ago I experienced physical manifestations of stress, don’t want to go down that path again. This was part of my decision making process.

Unfortunately my situation is quite specific for me (the downside of globetrotting), but I have a couple of understanding friends that have been in a relatable space, and don’t go down the „it‘ll be all right“ route, and take a more pragmatic, realistic view. That helped.


@flobach how are you doing now? were you able to rest this week?

I remember James Clear talking about how when he’d push himself weight lifting for a few days, he’d pay for it later. So remember that you can’t do everything at the level you want to always, and that’s ok!

It’s better to do smaller steps consistently than larger ones sporadically.

Hey @justindirose, thanks for the follow up! I certainly needed a break, Monday to Wednesday were just basic days in terms of productivity…luckily Thursday was a public holiday, and I took Friday off, so in the midst of a four day long weekend. Hurrah!

Very true what you write. Come to think of it, I noticed a while ago that if I hit it very hard one day at work, I pay for it the next day…somehow didn‘t compute in my mind that I should take a break after my studies. Ah well, you live you learn :slight_smile:

Smaller consistent steps it is from now on, with enough rest breaks.


Bigger jumps are good sometimes, but we can’t expect that out of ourselves consistently.

I need help remembering this from time to time too!

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