07 November, 2020

Curve-ball kind of week

 After a slow week at work last week, the burners were turned up this week. (You can often tell by how many blog posts I’ve written...in a slow week I write more, busy week, I don’t often get to write at all).

My working week ended with a pretty
cool sunset. This was the best I could
get from my balcony.

Last weekend the first curve ball landed of my week landed when two siblings at school were diagnosed with COVID. None of our family had close contact with either student while not wearing a mask (the main thing they consider in Japan), however they did “shut down” the two grades those students were in for the week and that meant one of our boys was back to online schooling. As my husband is on the leadership team at school I also heard a few bits and pieces as the week went on, as various circles of contact were tested and eventually cleared (that’s right, no one at school caught the virus from these two students). I’m pretty impressed—Japanese contact testing is thorough and well organized.

I spent Monday on the other side of Tokyo with some of my Kanto OMF colleagues. David got to come too, which was a lovely treat (although we tried not to talk on the 2.5 hrs we spent on trains...that’s one of the COVID guidelines here). 

As usual, it was great to spend time with colleagues. We even got to stay an extra hour and play games. That was both challenging and fun. I ended up being drawn into a Japanese language game that’s a bit like Taboo and surprised myself by not doing too bad. Actually “guessing” is a big part of my survival strategy in Japanese language, so I suppose it shouldn’t be such a surprise that I did alright. But I still ended up the day with a bad headache, traveling on public transport and being with people all day while wearing masks is not as  easy as it used to be.

When I got back to my desk on Tuesday I found a pile of work bigger than I’d expected, that was the next cluster of curve-balls. We’re into the design-phase of the Winter issue of the magazine and I thought I’d finished the hard-lifting editing last Friday. However one article came back from an author with some major changes. I also had to do some fast writing to extend one article I’d written, to better fill the space we had available (we had less content than we’d needed to fill the 40-page magazine).

Managing a magazine has lots of behind-the-scenes stuff that I never imagined. The most surprising to me is how tricky it can be to get just the right amount of content. That involves juggling many things, from word count and images, to actually where articles are placed in the magazine, not to mention ads.

So Tuesday was a busy day at the office. 

On Wednesday the next curve ball arrived, and it was in the form of a request to create a PowerPoint presentation for the content I’d be helping present on Friday morning for an orientation for new missionaries. The pressure mounted as I’d already agreed to help out an expat friend all Wednesday afternoon, and Thursday was fully booked with parent-teacher conferences, at school and other errands that needed doing.

By Thursday morning I was feeling pretty exhausted. I ended up having to reschedule an appointment (not because I was tired), but that gave me some extra wriggle room for getting things done. After dinner on Thursday night David had to go back to school to see more parents for conferences and I nearly fell asleep at 7.30 in my chair!

Friday was more sane. We did the orientation session just before lunch and it seemed to go well, despite our lack of experience at delivering training via Zoom (they were all in one room, but my colleague and I were in our own homes). That gave me Friday afternoon to tidy up a lot of the loose ends from earlier in the week. I got to the end of yesterday feeling both exhausted and satisfied. And very thankful for a quiet weekend coming up and that no further curve balls arrived on Friday!

How was your week? I’m still learning to go with the flow—to enjoy the times when the demands of my job and time and energy available are about equal. The difficulty I have is to not get too stressed when the demands exceed the time and energy I have available and not to overthink when I’ve got more time and energy available than the job demands.

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