The Pleasure report. Week 1.

So I bought long cardigans but that's not exactly a long term solution is it!

The Pleasure Reports are notes on the pleasure I found in my life each week. This purposeful focus on pleasure began in 2010. I was working with countless managers who were working themselves sick, our aim was to establish new ways of working that would not make them sick. And then realising that whilst ‘not sick’ might have been a good aim to start with, it was a terrible one to stop at. How about ways of working that are a pleasure?!  And so the study of pleasure began with The Pleasure Reports – a weekly record of -how many things were a pleasure -how many a pain and -what the pain to pleasure ratio was that week. I thought I’d do it for one year and ended up carrying on for three. You can read the whole story of how it began here and here.


The year of pleasure has begun.

We’ve barely started and there’s good news already.  The pleasure check in has a name.

The Pleasure Report.

Do you love it?
I love it.  It was suggested by Rebecca Leigh. I knew she was smart and she just keeps on with the smart stuff every time she writes something….there you go…more smart.
So. I declare ‘The Pleasure Report’ the winning suggestion.

Now we have a name, how about the pleasure this week?

I write ‘Morning Pages‘ every day and have started making a point, when writing these pages, of running back over my days, gathering up and recalling the pleasure that was. That’s been working a treat. I effectively have an extra gratitude practise. And notes ready for the end of the week check in, sorry, Pleasure Report.
I thought the report could include sections on:
  • The pleasure, a selection from the week.
  • The pain, a selection from the week
  • The pain I did something about. (or a better name yet to reveal itself)

The pleasure

Thirteen points.  Thirteen things came to mind, when in a relaxed state, I mentally wandered back over my days and noted down what stood out for me as having really been a pleasure.
And…are you doing this too? The first thing my mind did when I gave it a number was try to decide if it was a good number or not. Yeech.
Maybe I won’t look at how many there are again. We’ll see.

A selection of pleasure

I put a text box on my website. By myself. And didn’t mess up the entire layout. Sarah, who would have done it, was sick and I wanted it there before launching but didn’t want to ask her for anything more, so I had a go myself.
There was a proper, good body chemistry inducing, five minute dance around the office in celebration of that achievement.
I made a recording for a client. She wanted a ‘relax and remember what’s important’ type audio but a non cheesy one and we were considering options when she  said “Actually, it’s your voice I hear in my head when I remember this stuff so it would be good if you made the recording for me”.
Normally I’d say, oh I don’t know how to go about doing that and I’ll research a few more and see if I can recommend one to buy. But then a most unexpected wave of playfulness (or something) washed over me, planted the idea in my head that it would be ‘fun’ to do and I said I’d do it.
And it was! Ha! And it really was a pleasure to do that for her.
Celebrations for that one were less dancey, more a warm glow with a broad grin and for sure good body chemistry inducing.
I went out and got fresh salad things midweek
I’m particularly pleased with this one because it features me catching myself thinking I have to have things as they are when they’re not a pleasure and calling a quick halt to the ‘not a pleasure’ proceedings.
Because I’ve been up to my eyes in urgent web to do lists, I’ve rather let the cupboard run bare and meals this week have been cobbled together affairs using up the scrag ends of what’s in the fridge drawers. I hadn’t noticed how much I was already fed up of it by Wednesday. And then I did notice, stopped mid web to do list and went into town to the greengrocer for rocket, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot and beetroot for a really fresh, zingy, colourful salad to go with our dinner.
There was a bonus too. The greengrocer takes such a pride in his produce he peppered my shopping with little offerings….did I know what ‘this’ was? As he held up something which, from a distance,  I thought looked like a cross between a chilli and a courgette. “It’s a baby cucumber, really tasty, a real cucumber taste from this”.  Had I tried ‘these’? As he chopped a slice off something and passed it to me. “Russet apples” he informed me. They were good. I bought some.
It did take about half an hour out of a day where I’d have said I couldn’t spare it but my pace of to do list grinding was reaching snails pace anyway.
Celebrations for that one were vocal, much expressed appreciation for the crunch, the zest, the colour, the taste and the funny greengrocer tales.
Emotionally induced and nutritionally induced good body chemistry.

The pain

Nine points.
Are you? Are you comparing it to the number of points there were in the pleasure section? And attempting to draw conclusions.  I did. Yes, I did the ‘oh nine points pain and thirteen of pleasure…let’s weigh that up and……….’
Oh dear God.  OK. There’s something there to look at another time. I don’t know how this year of pleasure will go yet.  I also don’t know how or if, I’ll measure it.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts on measuring progress, measuring generally as well as for our year of pleasure. I have a bagful of coaching ways to measure but I haven’t introduced them to the year of pleasure yet. I’m not sure they’ll get on. We’ll see.

A selection of pain

We’ve already had the tale of my noticing the mild pain of the bland midweek meal. And I caught that one.
I didn’t catch this one.
Six days of tiny detail, highly technical web to do list followed by three days of extroverting and then wondering why I can’t get the corners of my mouth to move up at all. Not for anything or anybody and I don’t care that the shower needs cleaning, I’m not moving.
And by the way, that web to do list started at 53 points and grew ten extra heads every time I turned my back.
There was a little bit of catching myself in there. I didn’t crack the whip and insist that the web list must be returned to immediately or bonuses withheld. My eyes really wanted to be closed. Not to sleep, but I think to get some visual peace and be still. So I closed my eyes, not knowing how long they’d need, fearing it might be a day and a half. But it was fifteen minutes and the sitting still was very peaceful too.
The bit I missed was how I’d got all my least preferred ways of being lined up for 9 days in a row without planning any balm like days in between. When I ran 4 day residential training programmes I knew I needed at least two whole days of not speaking afterwards to recover.
Something turning out not to be settled when I thought it was. Noticing it had become unsettled and realising it was going to need my energy and attention again was a bit flattening. I like settled. I like completed. I’m not so happy with up in the air and we don’t know what to do about it.

And finally, the pain I did something about….    Three of them, one selected at random to share.

The needing to buy cardigans. Because I’ve been indulging in calorific pleasures.
My gentlemanfriend and I love food. We love cooking together and shuffling and chopping away to music, with a glass of wine. Friends say the way we move about the kitchen seamlessly together is almost a dance.
And then we eat what we’ve cooked and we’ve done such a fantastic job and it’s so gorgeous that we have seconds and often eat what the recipe said would feed 6 between the two of us. Cheese and rosemary bread anyone, tempting photo to drool over?
Enough said.
So I bought long cardigans but that’s not exactly a long term solution is it!
While I’m up to my eyeballs in previously mentioned web work, I’d have told myself I hadn’t got time to give the matter any attention and have done nothing.
Instead, I decided on a holding plan for the time being so things don’t get any worse. Half the plate with whatever is for dinner and the other half filled with steamed veg or salad. A glass of water for every glass of wine.  And no seconds.
It takes no thinking about or planning or counting or cooking different strange meals from everyone else and has no feelings of deprivation. An almost effortless stemming of the tide and it’s working.
I’m pleased with that one for deciding to do something rather than nothing and to find a way to do it that wouldn’t feel like a struggle.

All in all

I’m pleased with how the first week of the year of pleasure has gone.
I’ve noticed pleasure that would have gone unnoticed the week before.
I’ve caught more things that I would have miseried on with or struggled with which could be changed fairly easily into a far more enjoyable time.
My stomach and jaw have been less tense, I think.
To measure or not to measure, or how to measure, that needs some thought.

How about you?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Pleasure, pain and pain you did something about?
Something else you’re calling the ‘pain I did something about’ section?
Your thoughts on how or if you’d like to measure progress in the year of pleasure.


  1. Alison

    I’m loving this. Yes, I counted and played number games right along with you. Crikey; why?? I suppose it’s fine if it’s a game, but like any game, if it makes things harder, one should probably stop playing.

    I’ve enjoyed Havi’s Chickens for a long time now, and toyed with the idea of my own. I think this is the time to start.

    • Pauline

      Hi Alison,
      It’s strange isn’t it. My son’s taking A levels now and it seems we’re intent on measurement of people by grading. Declaring worth or value not by trusting our own felt sense or impression but by someone else’s measure of what you can regurgitate of what you’ve been fed on a given day.

      I love your yarn, chocolate cherry made me want yarn and chocolate and cherries. What were you thinking of having a chicken for?

  2. Alison

    Why chicken? Because my watchword, on an ongoing basis, is ‘balance’. I tend to plan, and focus, and forget what I have achieved in the maelstrom of things that I haven’t. I have so many important bits in my life, and struggle with chronic fatigue. That’s mostly under control, but if I mess up, it comes back and bites. Hard. Maybe acknowledging the best and the worst of each week, together, can help me be more mindful of the good bits, and see that they do, actually, more than balance the bad.

  3. Kim Wood

    I’m late! But here now. 🙂

    I ate cake. Coffee and walnut cake. Mmmmm. Thanks for the suggestion, Pauline!

    Not pleasure:
    Stressing out because my 17yo son was booked in to have 4 wisdom teeth removed under general anaesthetic on Monday. Obsessive researching on the internet – all the risks, post-surgery pain and swelling, awareness under anaesthetic, etc. All the usual mother worries…. totally unnecessary. Everything went beautifully. He should be the poster child for wisdom teeth extraction – no pain, no swelling, no complaints. A huge relief.

    Will check in again on Friday!

    • Pauline

      Hello Kim, welcome to the pleasure party… such thing as late here, let’s be unconventional about it. Yay….ice cream for your poster child for wisdom teeth extraction. See you on Friday 🙂


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