COFFEE · DISCUSS. · January 2014 · The Eleven O'Clock News

The Eleven O’Clock News: Dog Snuggles Help Students.

Recently I’ve been the sort of busy that makes me think of people in the City clutching Starbucks at six am with their clacking heels and superduper handbags and eighteen hour days. I don’t have the clacking heels and I’m working on finding the perfect handbag but eighteen hour days are becoming quite normal. Which is okay, because it means that Life Stuff is happening. You know, writing essays and making plans and trying to find the ideal washing machine/tumble drier time system.

Don’t overload the washing machine; your jeans will take two days to drip dry because tumble driers aren’t actually a gift from God.

Anyway, that’s all good. I can go to bed with a sense of achievement, you know, because I’ve revised so well that my grey cells are dancing and I’m organising my homework properly and I can sleep knowing that this is life, ladies and gentlemen, and I am living it to the full with every one of those eighteen hours used to their maximum potential…

Except they’re not because a) I can’t sleep properly, which means that b) between the hours of ten and twelve and four and seven I am basically a zombie, which means that c) I’m consuming twice as much caffeine and sugar as usual to work properly, which means that d) I can’t sleep properly. I’m also starting to worry about my arteries.

Oh and it’s affecting my concentration. During the making of this post I have so far taken two BBC quizzes, made my bed, checked Tumblr and Googled handbags. It’s getting to the point where sitting still, quietly, isn’t an option – I’ve had Sherlock on in the background while I work for the last week (all live TV has adverts, which means I’ll switch over, which means I’ll get even more distracted). So is it that if I learnt to concentrate or made myself work fewer hours I’d find it easier to concentrate and therefore work fewer hours?

You know what, these handbags are cutsie.

Right, right, the news.

Well, some universities have provided opportunities for students to cuddle animals as a way to combat stress. I know for a fact that dog snuggles are an excellent method for coping with anything, except maybe fleas, so well done universities for cottoning on. I did a few searches about meditation, which I do because Emma Watson suggested an app on Twitter that is actually incredibly helpful (except I keep forgetting to do it) and there seems to be a general consensus that mindfulness is good. Plus nobody has any, possibly because we’re all watching Sherlock while filing papers and triple-checking our iPads for work-related emails. Apparently stress-related illness is now such a big thing that companies have decided it’s in their interest to promote healthy living – some are even investing in gadgets that measure employees’ stress levels.


You know, I’m not quite sure what I’m trying to say here, because busy people struggling with being busy isn’t exactly up there with the Syrian refugee crisis or potential CAR genocide. It’s marginally more interesting than, say, Bieber getting arrested… but a large part of me knows that if I turned off all my electrics, tidied up the trail of crap I’ve left around the house and went for a run (don’t look at me like that, Tim says it’s a good idea), things would be better. Less existential angst, less chance of contracting a cold and more productivity for my time. Possibly with more time spent sleeping, or giving Sherlock my undivided attention.

Remind me that I have a really great header for a blog post that involves Benedict Cumberbatch’s film career. I was going to use it in a six degrees of separation post about King Lear.

Okay, I’d better turn off all my electrics and pencil in time for a run. Thoughts about how to be busy and well and sleep occasionally?


3 thoughts on “The Eleven O’Clock News: Dog Snuggles Help Students.

  1. washing machine tip – in order to assess whether you’ve overloaded it, if you’re able to put your hand/fist into the space at the top of the clothes in the machine and rotate it making little contact with those clothes – then you’re good to go.
    and tumble driers have their uses but are exceptionally expensive to run so leave clothes hanging on clothes airer until reasonably dry then a quick tumble for 20 minutes helps loosen them up. except towels …. they feel horrible all dried up and cardboardy … they need line drying or tumbling. and bed linen is just too big to hang around so if outdoor drying isn’t an option, tumbling works fine and is quick and not too expensive.
    oh dear, I feel like I’ve strayed into the realms of Woman’s Weekly. Eek!
    so onto the important stuff …..STOP MULTI-TASKING !!!! Popular misconception that the ability to multi-task is essential … it just means you’re not giving any of those tasks your full attention, thus, aren’t completing them to the best of your abilities. If you’re trying to watch Sherlock and handbag shop and do homeworky type stuff – all of these are visual based activities and you’ll just frazzle yourself trying. Music – have that on as an aid to learning, preferably something as background noise not something you want to rock out to or will evoke memories that you then get caught up in. It also depends what kind of learner you are, and what type of brain/intelligences you have, as to what works best. Check out stuff by Howard Gardner and 7 Kinds of Smart by Thomas Armstrong.
    A bit of exercise is good too, for all sorts of reasons – both the physical effects and psychological. And doggy hugs. And chocolate.
    And planning! You know you want to do all the other things, which is why they distract you, because you’re trying to tell yourself to get on with the task at hand. So give yourself time to do whatever you should be … then reward yourself with some time doing the other stuff. It will still be there in an hours time, you don’t need to be checking emails/shopping online/watching Sherlock right now – it’s there when you have time later.
    Oh dear, now I sound like an agony aunt … or a mum!
    But we all do it, we’re all guilty. We try to fit so much in to our days that we have difficulty juggling everything so why try to do too many things at once, then stress because we’re not achieving it all. Whilst I’m all for striving to achieve your goals and dreams, maybe just allowing ourselves adequate time would improve the end results.
    I think if you learn to focus then you won’t necessarily work fewer hours – you’ll just achieve more in that time and in a less stressed way, so it will probably feel like you’ve worked less!
    And maybe less caffeine … and perhaps less sugar! Though I’m hardly one to be preaching as I’m rarely in bed before midnight, sometimes 1am – so what do I know about sleep 😛


    1. First of all let me thank you for the washing machine tip it is brilliant and now some washing is done. (“Woman’s Weekly” is okay; I think Indifferent Ignorance needs a bit of it, since I’d quite like to spend all day knitting and listening to Radio 4.)

      Second: thankyouthankyou for the multitasking advice it’s really helped! I am currently focusing on writing an excellent comment and then I think I might make some coffee… have every intention of tackling the caffeine reliance – and by reliance I mean addiction – but hey, one thing at a time.

      I read somewhere that the average Briton gets six-and-a-half hours sleep per night. Apparently we should get eight? Maybe it’s time to explore the nap and sneak in those forty winks.


Leave a comment. That way neither of our time will have been wasted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.