The fifth instalment in a series in which I answer the ongoing question “How do you fit it all in?”, which people ask me when I tell them what I do.
I’d gone to bed at 8pm on Sunday night and slept until midnight, but then I woke up again and my brain seemed determined to stay awake, so eventually I gave up, turned on the light and did some work.
At about 6am I did in fact fall asleep again, but then I woke up at quarter to eight. Suffice it to say it wasn’t exactly a restful night.
I had a client call at 10am, then I did some work on various projects. I queued up some more blog posts – finally I’m up to date! – scheduled my Buffer for the next week or so, and did a bunch of forensic work.
Then I cleaned my kitchen, put the rubbish downstairs, and went for a walk.
I walked to my business mailbox and picked up my mail, then I veered off on an impromptu detour on the way home. I’d decided to go to Shepherd’s Bush to pick up some cleaning supplies from Lidl, which has recently opened there. The idea was that I’d (a) walk further than I’d planned, thus exercise; and (b) spend less money than if I went to Waitrose.
Unfortunately I had to walk past Westfield to get to Lidl. I hate Westfield, but I love baths, and Westfield has a Lush.
“I’ll just take a quick look,” I thought, and £38 of bath crap later, along with an impulsive yet necessary £12.99 in H&M for a beachy cover up dress thing that’ll be very handy in South Carolina, and a £5 tropical fruit smoothie…
Well, as it turned out I didn’t exactly save money after all. Plus by the time I left Westfield I was too tired to make myself go to Lidl, so I didn’t even buy the things I’d planned on buying in the first place.
I got home, did some proofreading work and a little bit of writing, then had dinner and ran a bath. Might as well put those Lush bath bombs to use. I read Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah in the bath – she’s becoming one of my favourite crime / psychological thriller authors – then I went to bed.
When I woke up there was a big hairy spider in the sink. Luckily my downstairs neighbour was up for getting rid of it for me.
I spent some time sorting out the folders on my computer: I do this once a week, clearing out stuff that’s no longer needed and archiving things into the correct folders. Then I wrote up a review of MacQuisition, a forensic tool from BlackBag Technologies – it’ll be up on Forensic Focus soon.
After that I queued up content for some of my clients, checked my emails, and wrote the Forensic Focus Forum Round-Up. I briefly looked over the social media accounts for a couple of clients – although my freelancers do most of the work on these, I like to check in from time to time and make sure things are running smoothly.
Following breakfast (brunch, I guess), I turned my attention to the flat. I called the landlord about the living room windows, which are falling out of their frames, and then ordered a new light fitting from Amazon and arranged for someone to come and finish stripping the walls, because honestly fuck that shit, I’m so tired.
There was some video content I had to sort out from a conference I went to a few weeks ago, so I did that, then I looked at my list and realised I’d finished everything for the day! And it was only half past one.
I have a weekly appointment at 2pm on Tuesdays, so I went to that and then afterwards I was like, well why would I go home and continue working when I’m on top of my to-do list? So I went for lunch at the garden centre and then took myself for a walk along the river.
When I got home I had a bath, read a book, and went to bed.
Best. Birthday. Ever.
Normally Wednesday afternoons are set aside for learning, which means driving lessons and then some learning at home (languages / music / etc.) but this week my driving instructor was away so I had some free time. The BFF and I made arrangements for her to come over and hang out for a bit while we caught up on business admin; we try to do this about once a month.
In the morning therefore I did my scheduled work – emails, content, sorting out some stuff for my company – and then I headed out to Shepherd’s Bush for my daily walk. I don’t like Shepherd’s Bush, and yet I’ve been there twice this week because Lush is there. When I went on Monday I bought a load of stuff but only two bath bombs, both of which I’d used by Wednesday morning, so it was time for some more.
I was feeling pretty rough, so when the BFF said she might have to cancel I suggested that we postpone our arrangement to another day. She agreed, and I went home and got in the bath with some of my Lush things. I was out of the bath and in bed by 4.15pm. Yes, I am super cool.
I felt so exhausted that I was sure I’d fall asleep almost immediately, and yet that didn’t happen, so I started reading another book. Unfortunately it wasn’t very good, so I gave up, turned on Netflix and started watching a film. That wasn’t very good either.
By the time I’d watched a couple of not very good things, spent some time pissing about on the internet, and read some more of the disappointing novel, it was 10pm. I turned on the radio to listen to the Paul Miller show, which is one of my favourite things in life. Finally, something good!
Still I couldn’t sleep. I think I finally fell asleep at about 2am and I woke up at 5.30. Bleeeuuurggh.
I’d started work at 5.30 since that was when I woke up. At 10am Clint the handyman came over and finished stripping the living room walls for me. I’d done most of it myself, but there were a few stubborn bits that didn’t want to budge, and I’d run out of energy. Finally, the walls have no more woodchip on them! Now I just need to get them replastered and replace the windows and install a stove and sort out the mantlepiece and replace the radiator and rip up the floor and paint everything and then it’ll all be done. Really, I’m practically there…
Clint had left by 2pm, and at 3 Giovanni the electrician came over to sort out the lighting. My living room has electric lights again, which is quite exciting.
In amongst all this I was working, mainly on fleshing out my book proposal for a publisher. I sent it off to them in the afternoon – let’s see what they say. I hope it’s a yes.
In the evening I decided to take myself for dinner, since I needed to get my two and a half miles in and there was a gastropub exactly that distance away that’d been recommended in Olive magazine. Off I went to the Malt House.
It was good, but I wouldn’t rush back. The wine was acceptable, the steak was good but not great, the sticky toffee pudding was very nice. The staff were lovely. It was pleasantly quiet.
I got home, had a bath and went to bed. Fell asleep sometime shortly after 11.15, woke up at 1.11am and didn’t go back to sleep. It’s apparently not a great week for sleeping. This happens sometimes – give it another few days and I’ll be sleeping 12 hours a night again. My sleeping patterns seem to go in waves at the moment; I’m just going along with it for now to see what happens.
By the time the dawn broke I’d already been awake for hours. I’d read a couple of books and then got a head start on work. At about 5 I decided it was time to get out of bed and officially start my day. I kicked off with some Facebook work for a client, changing the settings across 85 groups. It took a while.
Then I moved on to various bits of admin and article writing, until 11am when I decided I should probably practise some of the songs we’ll be singing in the upcoming concert in June. I did that, and then I sang my way down my ‘Tempting Soprano Solos’ playlist on Spotify.
Sposa, Non Mi Conosci is one of my favourite things to sing, although this time I think I had the most fun with Laudate Dominum. And Ave Maria, of course – those high notes are very exciting.
When I’d finished singing I looked at my to-do list again and realised I’d finished most of it the week before. I theme my days:
- Monday = business admin / client calls / running errands
- Tuesday = article planning for clients and myself / singing practice / ongoing appointments
- Wednesday = learning (driving lessons, singing lessons, learning languages, practising musical instruments)
- Thursday = book writing
- Friday = client work / anything important that hasn’t been done during the rest of the week / planning the next week
- Saturday = academic work / writing
- Sunday = blog posts / social media / life admin / renovating the flat
and the previous Friday I’d been on a roll with client work so I’d just kept going. That, coupled with the fact I’d started work at about 3am, meant I was done for the day by 12.30. I did the washing up and pottered around the house for a while, then went to an appointment, then came home. I spent a while aimlessly clicking tabs, then my mother called because she needed help with something.
When she hung up it was time for my friend to arrive: we wandered down the river together and went to a concert in St. Peter’s Church on Black Lion Lane, where KOFMA 2018 was kicking off. The concert for which I’m currently rehearsing is a KOFMA concert too, but that’s not happening until June.
It was a pleasant evening – I videoed the concert to share on social media, since I help out with KOFMA’s online presence – and then we walked back home along the river and hung out in my building site of a living room for a few hours.
My friend left sometime after midnight. I went to bed, read a book for a while, and then finally slept for more than two hours.
I woke up and finished the book I’d started reading the previous day. While I was reading I was also drinking coffee, so by the time I’d put the book down I was ready to do some work.
I spent a couple of hours planning what I was going to say at my old school the following week. I’d been invited in to run Futures Day, in which the kids learn about some of the careers they might want to pursue. My sessions were going to be Working In Cybercrime, Working In Digital Forensics, and Women In Technology.
After a while I decided to take myself and my planning notebook to the garden centre, because I love their café, as you may have noticed if you’ve been following this blog or my Instagram for any length of time.
And then I meant to go home, but instead I found myself back by the river. It was a beautiful day and the pull of the Thames path was just too strong.
I wandered for about five miles, until I reached a set of pubs which looked like promising places to stop for a few pints of water. Since I hadn’t been planning to walk this far, I hadn’t brought any water with me, and by this point I was parched.
They were the best kinds of pub: quiet, with good wine lists, and situated quite literally on the river.
I sat down on a little wall beside the Thames with a glass of wine and several glasses of water, and watched the sun set.
When it was almost at the horizon I realised I should start walking home, since much of the Thames path is only open from dawn until dusk. Luckily I just managed to beat the sun’s bedtime along the privately-owned bits of the river, and then I continued walking until finally I was back in my own little section of London. I got home at about 10pm, physically exhausted but mentally wide awake, and caught up on Criminal Minds for a few hours before finally falling asleep.
I didn’t wake up until 11am. The sun was already beating down brilliantly, but there was no way my body was capable of doing any kind of strenuous exercise: a walk of more than ten miles wasn’t exactly what the doctor had ordered. So I stayed in bed working until 4pm, when I got up and moved to the living room, which made me feel a bit like I normally feel when I’m climbing a mountain, and there I stayed with my laptop and a glass of wine for the next few hours.
Sunday evenings are my designated bath evenings, although lately I’ve been bathing every day since it helps with whatever weird painful thing is happening in my body, but this Sunday I was awaiting an important delivery and I knew if I got in the bath I’d probably end up missing it, so I put it off.
Well, predictably the delivery never came. At 10pm I gave up and went to bed, but found it impossible to sleep so I played around on Duolingo for a while. Then this happened:
It was a bit freaky, but I must have read the word for ‘man’ somewhere before and then just forgotten I’d once known it. It turned out that I knew a couple of other words too; I think they must have been from the first investigation I did, which involved a network of Vietnamese criminals who’d signed up to a website with specific usernames and email addresses. At some point in that investigation I must have learned a few of the words making up their usernames, because that’s the only time I’ve ever been exposed to Vietnamese, as far as I can recall.
As you can see from the screenshot it was pretty late by this point. I continued Duolingo-ing until quarter past three, then I stopped and tried again to sleep. It worked, but I woke up at five after what was probably about an hour and a half’s sleep, and I couldn’t seem to drop off again. I was really tired though so I stayed in bed until eight, when I finally caved in and got up. It wasn’t exactly the most chilled out start to the week.