Note to Self: Just Keep Swimming

January is the month we dive head first into everything and I have to remind myself to just keep swimming as Dory would say. We pick up things we’ve forgotten over the holiday whether it’s fitness, work, personal goals, organising and decluttering our life.

It’s the time when we all simultaneously try and do everything we want to. For me, this is what that has looked like so far: work, gym, essay work for my Masters, notes on a TV series I’m creating and reading whenever I can.

I’m exhausted from living my life that way. But, I’ve done everything that I needed to do.

I have just submitted a script and a critical essay for a module on my masters, after submitting a personal essay and a critical essay last Wednesday too. 10,000 words completed and edited in two weeks isn’t too shabby. Well, it might be shabby, but it’s done!

I am not a last-minute kind of person, but in order to do everything at the same time, you’ve got to prioritise what is important.

At Undergrad, University was high on my priority list, whilst for my MA, university is joint with my job and side projects.

Don’t get me wrong, I still want to get my MA, but I just want the MA, I’m not worried about what grade it is. My mark won’t make any difference to whether I get a novel published, or a TV series commissioned, or the quality of the articles I write or edit at work.

The MA is just a training ground for me to test ideas, learn a lot from my tutors and course mates, to then get an MA, and put it on my CV.

In order to do everything all the time – and not drown under a very long to do list, I have some lil rules or reminders to do everything.

My job as an Editor is dreamy, and while the deadlines are creeping up on me very fast, I love the pace and the work of pitching, writing and editing magazines and Yearbooks. It’s SO much fun.

Yet, this month I’ve known that when I leave work I have to do at least 2-3 hours of uni work in the evening, which then makes that long to do list at work feel a bit overwhelming.

The only way I keep a level head is by keeping it separate.

Work starts at 9 and ends at 5. The worst thing imaginable is that all the content isn’t ready or edited and the magazine or Yearbook has to be delayed. Nobody is hurt and there’s no real imminent danger because a) that worst case scenario wouldn’t happen and b) even if it did, nothing horrendous would happen as a result.

After that rational thought, I crack on. I write, I pitch, I make phone calls, I edit. To quote one of my favourite lines ever, from Iron Man 3 as to why I wouldn’t press the panic button – or in this case go into meltdown – “I panicked, then I handled it” (ah Trevor Slattery).

My main rule, is I don’t think about it. I make a list if I feel like I’ll forget something – which trust me I will – and then I’m sure I’ll get everything I need to done. If I thought about everything I needed to do in the next few weeks at work, at university, in my personal life, at the gym, for a v exciting project I’m working on – then I’d probably spend several hours in the bath watching Friends to de-stress and come out a dry wrinkled bit of Bacon. Tasty.

Another sneaky thing I do after work is go straight to the gym. I have my gym gear and water bottle in the boot ready to go as I know that if I go home, the likelihood is I will not go back out again. Because, IT IS SO COLD OUTSIDE. Or because, THERE’S FOOD AT HOME. Or because, OOOH LOOK A DOG. I could easily find a random excuse to not leave the house again, so I avoid giving myself that chance and don’t go home until I’ve been to the gym.

I also listen to my gut instinct. If I’m feeling a bit weak I will not go to the gym and go home. I do the same with my writing, I follow my gut, hence the sometimes quite lengthy gaps between blog posts, oops.

It’s the same with my essays for my masters. I began writing and editing a chapter of a novel that I’ve had in a drawer forever, I think it has the potential to be brilliant, and I love the story, but I wasn’t invested in submitting it or having it marked. It’s a passion project, I don’t want a deadline or a grade. As it is a research module, I went back to the starting point, ‘what do I know?’ I settled on feminism, or discussions around being a woman – the issues, prejudices, struggles, strengthens.

I LOVED every second of writing a personal essay on this topic and about my experience of my gender, and experiences of my wonderful friends and family. It was really interested to piece together a reflection of women’s universal issues. It was difficult to write, as it’s a topic that is full of triggers and controversies and it was all confined to a rather small word count, but I LOVED it, and learnt a lot. I also got to read a few books that have been collecting dust on my shelf including ‘Everyday Sexism’ by Laura Bates. I then re-read some of my favourites such ‘We Should All be Feminists’, ‘Milk and Honey’, ‘A Room of One’s Own’ and listened to a lot of ‘The Guilty Feminist’, ‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink’, ‘Woman’s Hour’ and ‘Adulting’.

Also my super duper number one top tip for doing a little bit of everything you want to do everyday, is to improvise the whole thing. Yes make a list, yes make a plan, and then be completely willing to go with the flow and change everything for something much better to happen. Don’t think about it, and it’ll all go to plan. Then think about it afterwards and write a lil blog post, like me eh?

Also credits to Becca, my bff, love ya long time, gal pal, who sent me a care package today – what a dream – with a card that read Boo Bee on one side (with ghosts with wings) and a cute message on the back including “keep swimming” and inspired this lil thought train of mine.

I’ve been on the brink of being uncomfortable with how busy I’ve been in the past few weeks. I haven’t been able to have an evening to chill after work and do what I really want to do – binge all of the new season of Grace and Frankie! But it’s been SO worth it. I’ve got stuff done, and now I will take my reward (lol jks maybe tonight) and watch them all.

Side note: So far today I’ve finished and submitted a script and an essay, done the reading for my seminar at 2pm, written a teaching plan for said seminar, and written a blog post and it’s only 11:45. I kinda thought my busy-ness was over, but guess not haha *internal screams*.

Anyhoo, whatever you’re doing, you got this. Just keep swimming.

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  • Hannah says:

    I cannot believe you are able to keep up with this many things – I can barely go to work and sleep a full 8 hours! You should be incredibly proud of yourself for how you are handling everything and how productive you are being, and especially for going to the gym on a regular basis. It sounds like you really love your job and your degree which is the most important thing. Good luck with everything! xx

    • Jess Bacon says:

      Thanks Hannah! I’m loving everything, so maybe that’s getting me through it all? We all have a manic few weeks. Safe to say I’ve pampered myself now watched all of Grace & Frankie so feeling relaxed again 😊 xx

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