Friday, 1 July 2011

The Cheese Scone Moment

If you have never been to Cambridge then can I urge you to come and, if nothing else, sample the superb cheese scones at Michaelhouse Cafe.

It's a building that is more cafe than church but is also definitely the latter. I saw the most superb altar frontal there today - gorgeous colours and exquisite stitching.

I indulged in a cheese scone - and thought and scribbled and read while I munched. I was quite impressed with what I had accomplished by the end of half an hour. It made me think about how important cheese scones are.

It also reminded me of a talk that I went to about 10 years ago. It was called something like 'Are you a busy person?' I think I'm making this up actually but it's close enough to what it was about for me to leave it at this. During the talk the phrase that subsequently revolutionised my approach to work (and yet temporarily forgotten recently perhaps) was that busy people need to make time to go out and 'kick the leaves'. Literally this is no bad thing, but you need a permanent Autumn to do that; metaphorically of course what it means is that it is essential that you build in time when you walk away from what you are working from. Do something different enough that when you return to the task in hand your perspective has shifted just enough to allow the problem to be solved, the task you're doing is completed more quickly, the meeting you have coming up to be more fruitful etc... Now of course taking holiday could be one way of doing this, but holidays are when you try and completely forget your work. 'Kicking the leaves' is very far from this. It is a relatively short break, which allows the current issues and problems and all the unsolvable irritables of a working life to chugg along in the background of your mind whilst you physically do something and see something completely different!

For me - my 'kicking the leaves' activities range from shelving a trolley load of books, a walk through Kings College at lunch time, the cycle ride to and from home to work, and - yes - a cheese scone at Michaelhouse Cafe!

Now the point of this blog was actually to say that I won't be carrying on with cpd23 or even starting the new Cam23 Things. My scone reminded me today that actually the most effective work that I can do is not dependent on trying out yet another new 'thing' and constantly trying to fill my mind with new ideas and more and more cpd. It's about being selective and above all allowing myself time to 'kick the leaves'.

So - I shall continue to write occasional blog posts, and I will be very supportive of those who are part of cpd23. I think it's a great initiative but it's not for me, not now. I think I'll order another cheese scone.