Author: tahmidchowdhury

Navigating the turbulence of the December work rush

One thing I’ve noticed is that lots of people (including myself) have been radiating stress. This is probably caused by the squeeze of work before the year end.

Christmas is usually a busy moment, but tied along with increased workloads and tired souls, I’m noticing an extra level of fatigue.

Either that or perhaps it’s just what I’m experiencing for myself anyway.
As both a human being experiencing these things and as a manager, it can be tricky to know what to do, or how to respond.

An invitation to stop using time-saving hacks

Last weekend I volunteered to help make food at an event. It was a pretty basic task. I had to restock the drinks bottles on the shelf, refill the snack bowls and make some pizzas in the oven.
I was surprised to find it was the most relaxed I’ve felt when making food in about a year. The basic task of cutting up pizza slices was bringing me more joy than similar tasks usually do.
The big difference was that I was taking my time.

The power of understanding our productivity fluctuations

In the past four weeks I’ve been doing more public speaking than I’ve done in the last six months

On Wednesday I gave the final push to a paper we’re launching at COP on the social aspects of circular economy. In practice, this meant mass reviewing 1000 revisions on track changes and comments to a semblance of a clean document.

Unsurprisingly by Thursday I was knackered. I remarked to one of my colleagues that this was one of the least productive days that I’ve had in months.
When I gave myself the grace to realise how much I had been pushing myself over the last two weeks, I could see that this was a natural cycle of energetic flow.

Being an outsider in a room full of insiders

This week was a European tour for me. I started in Brussels, then went up to Amsterdam to speak at the Sustainable Packaging Summit. on Wednesday I came straight to London (with a small box of chocolates for my dad’s birthday) to speak with a group of Spanish cleantech startups. I’m now going back to Brussels this Sunday (and speaking at another event on Monday there!)

I’ve been posting quite a lot recently about the importance of getting out of our comfort zones if we want to get wider perspectives. This week was me putting this into action

The balance between being right and being effective

This week, I’ve been reflecting on the idea of ‘being right’. After all, so much of what we do is based upon finding the correct answer.
But what does being right really mean?
For a long time, I saw being right as synonymous with the best way to do things. In my mind, once we reflected upon something for long enough, there was more or less a single answer that was correct.
Looking back, I’d say I was pretty naive.

Finding the balance between reflection and overthink

The last few weeks I’ve kept my days clearer and my evenings quieter.

Some call this ‘slowing down’, though I find that term a bit confusing – because whilst I am doing less activities, my mental space doesn’t feel particularly less active. If anything, it feels like I think more, rather than less.

It’s been an interesting experience for sure. Having freer evenings has allowed me to lounge around and enjoy spending time alone. When I tried ‘doing less’ in the summer, I ended up getting fidgety and felt quite miserable because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I think I’m having a better crack at it now though.

The power of spending more time daydreaming

I’ve spent more time lounging around in bed this week than I have done in months. And honestly, it’s been pretty great.

This experience has been in stark contrast to my recent months. My summer was meant to be a period of downtime. Yet I found it really challenging to really relax. It was as if there was an angst to go out and spend time with the world. Which then meant I was getting tired again.

I think I lost sight of the benefits of having comfort and safety. Our so-called ‘comfort zones’ are often used in the sense of things that we have to break out of to grow. But I forgot that there is a reason why having a comfort zone is good too. It’s nice to feel calm and safe somewhere.

Finding the joie de vivre in our life’s work

I’m writing this on a lazy Sunday, where I’ve been feeling anything but with the essence of joie de vivre.

I had an injury on my abdomen return on Friday. My Saturday was watching England get hammered by South Africa in the Cricket World Cup (and also lose to the same opponent in the Rugby World Cup, but I follow that less). Meanwhile, Chelsea managed to throw away a 2-0 lead against Arsenal in the last 15 minutes to draw 2-2.

But this week was around connecting with my joie de vivre about what I do.

The importance of being in the room where it happens

This week’s theme for me was about getting myself out there.

Over the last few months, I noticed that I haven’t been going out to meet the world as much as I could – particularly around and about in Brussels. Perhaps it was a hangover from the pandemic, but the convenience of online meetings has led me to become a little overreliant on online communication.

So this week I attended a few networking evenings plus work events. I feel a bit silly now, but it became starkly evident that I had been missing out on great connections due to my passiveness

Why our views on building people’s skills are outdated

2023 is the European Year of Skills. This is an initiative from the European Commission to address skill shortages within the EU.

Considering that it’s October and you probably never heard of this, I’m going to suggest that this initiative hasn’t been a roaring success.

This week, I attended the EU Industry Days – all things industrial policy. One of the topics that came up frequently was around skills, including a set-piece panel on it.
I must admit this conversation was the one that left me the most disillusioned.