The Philosopher-in-Residence Blog Series from Make Me A Plan's Principal Planner, Anna Pascoe

Last fortnight, this Philosopher-in-Residence talked about worldviews and how one person can combine the seemingly binary playbooks of Hobbes and Kant. We are remaining in that kind of realm for today’s edition (Summer of Pseud anyone?)

Poorer health and pandemic life over the past couple of years have given us all more time to ponder. Previously, I’d largely believed that there were two types of people in the world: those who cared about stuff and those who didn’t. Let’s code those groups as S+ and S- respectively.

As an analyst, of course I’d sub-divide those two population groups down into further datasets; tangible stuff such as possessions and intangible stuff, such as thoughts and feelings. Extrapolating, we’d have four groups from that breakdown; ST+ and SI- and ST+ and SI-.

Back in the now-branded-as-halcyon but probably-still-relatively-complicated times of 2018/19, I’d have probably categorised myself as ST+/SI- dominant. Those possessions that I’d hung onto or acquired tended to have sentimental value, perhaps from relatives who had passed on, leading to ST+. And whilst I cared about the big stuff, I didn’t sweat the small stuff when it came to the day-today of work or home life (SI-).

Two-and-a-half years of everything being way harder and much lonelier, I’ve probably arrived at an ST+/SI++ juncture (yes I created an additional sub-set, author’s privilege). I find myself caring often way too much about things that aren’t important in the grand scheme of things, worrying about what people think ad absurdism, air-frying my brain with minutiae.

At the Health and Wellbeing at Work conference in March (which I can highly recommend if you’ve never been), I went to a really interesting talk by Gosia Bowling, Emotional Wellbeing National Lead at Nuffield Health, which described this kind of feeling as “languishing”. The speaker educated us about a workforce-wide psychological shift wherein people could no longer access motivation or coping mechanisms as readily as their pre-pandemic selves could.

What can we do about this? Well, this is a work-in-progress, members of Plankind. A Make Me A Plan friendly tool that’s the favoured from my toolbox at present is super-simple, which I recommend if you’re already using up an excess of your SI mental availability.

Invest in yourself for a short while ahead of the coming week. Jot down a few things that you like doing. Ideally things where it’s difficult to dwell or languish. This could be listening to a podcast, going for some fresh air, a gym class, doing some colouring. Add a realistic amount of times you’d like to do each activity within the week. Do this over the coming 7 days and then review and reflect ahead of week two. Tell me how you get on!

Next fortnight, I’ll be musing On Heuristics – continuing with the Summer of Pseud series of topics.

Please get in touch with any particular aspects of this topic you’d like me to write about.


In the meantime,


Happy Planning


PS If you want some other free tips for your business life, check out the Working Well blog – out fortnightly on Wednesdays, courtesy of Make Me A Plan’s Productivity Expert, Penny Le Kelly. Browse the latest edition here:


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