On being a CLANGER, Ali Bacon tries out a new method of work-life balance

Not too long after my last grumble about combining writing and staying sane,  I came across a newspaper  article which I thought provided a useful model for day-to-day living, one that sounded sensible, achievable, and isn’t attached to one particular philosophy (or perish the thought, product).

The main tenets of this are: Connect, Learn, be Active, take Notice, Give back – with the handy acronym of CLANG. Even better, if you add Eat Well, Relax and Sleep it becomes CLANGERS. What’s not to like about that?
I’ve since found the same ideas on a number of NHS websites so it looks like a well-known combination. But how easy is it to put into practice? On a recent Friday (which for me starts with an exercise class so A is taken care of) I decided to see how many I could manage.  

It's good to talk - face to face
C is for Connect with people.
Well you could say that connection online is all to easy and although it can prevent loneliness it can have other bad effects. And so after my Friday morning Zumba Gold, rather than take to Facebook, I invited a few of the regulars to join me for coffee in the on-site cafe. We learned each others names and some of our interests. Nice! Although some weeks we are all too busy (hmm, retired people, really?) it is becoming something of a regular thing. A definite success.

L is for Learn
I spend a lot of time doing historical research which I really enjoy, but in a sense that’s routine learning. That day I went home and set up a Mailchimp account, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages, and got started on learning how to use it. I have to say I fell at an early hurdle but I did achieve a brief moment of fulfilment at tackling something new (to be honest the kind of thing I used to get paid for, but it was still a novelty!) and I felt better for it.

A is for be Active was covered at Zumba and since I also do golf, dancing, and pilates regularly, I feel I am covered.

Look up, you never know what you might see!
T is for Take Notice – but there are some mornings, afternoons or whole days when I feel desk-bound. That day we had a burst of spring sun and so I went out to see what was growing in the garden. There were weeds aplenty, but  I always feel better for even 5 minutes spent with my plants, or if the sun is out sitting with a cup of coffee and taking in the view of next door’s greenery.

G is for Give back
The previous week, I’d noticed a letter in the local paper from a charity asking for host families for children from the area around Chernobyl, many of whom are still crippled, economically and physically, by the past. 
I had done nothing about it but I hadn’t thrown the paper away. Instead of thinking what a nice thing that would be to do, I rang up. Gulp!
Doing a good turn for a neighbour might have been easier, but think of all that Learning!

Something else to learn
Eat, Relax, Sleep well
Even the last three of my clangers needed thinking about. I have become a very lazy cook but I got my act together and made a chicken pie from scratch. Sadly the pastry got a bit soggy (but I quite like soggy pastry). Then, since Friday night is Mr B’s night out, I put my feet up in front of Only Connect and decided my work was done.

My verdict on being a CLANGER? All in all a pretty good day. 

Only one problem of course – no time at all left for writing!

Ali Bacon writes contemporary and historical fiction. 

You can learn more about her here.

And her books are on Amazon


Wendy H. Jones said…
I love this. im going to take note. In fact I'll pin these above my desk. Thanks for bringing it to my attention
Penny Dolan said…
That's it exactly! Where to fit in the writing time? But having a full CLANGER day, even once a week, does sound good for the spirit - and a useful reminder for the other six days about trying for some of that letter set, if not all!
AliB said…
Hi Ladies, there's an official version here. But I still think of it as Clangers!
Kit Domino said…
Brilliant post. Shall have to become a Clanger - can see only positives and have pinned them on my wall above my desk. Don't know I'll manage all every day but will try. :)
Enid Richemont said…
Can I have a soup dragon?
Unknown said…
What's golf dancing, Ali?
AliB said…
Ah John, you should try it, very good for the soul ;) Commas now under control, I hope :)
Umberto Tosi said…
You clanged me, Ali. Thanks. Sometimes we need a ringing reminder to keep on track! :)

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