The act of observing something changes the thing being observed. That principle of physics has applications to our lives. If you’ve ever kept a food journal, you know that sheer embarrassment can keep you from writing “ate 3 donuts in 30 seconds while standing over sink.” Likewise, recording our time makes us aware of its passing. I started logging my time this morning, and quickly realized that it’s easy to flit between things. I can focus for a while in the mornings, but in the afternoon, I find it difficult to carve out concentrated time. Knowing this, however, I can start to choose which projects I tackle in the mornings, and which I tackle later.
Here’s what today looked like:
7:25- awake, lie in bed for 5 minutes. This is later than normal, but last night was a late one with our weekend house guests having their flight canceled and coming back from LGA at 11:30PM.
7:30-8 – Jasper comes into bedroom, get dressed, go pick up Sam out of crib. Feed kids breakfast, snuggle on the couch with them, talk to houseguests about plan for day.
8-8:45 – work while eating breakfast. Try out Reporter Connection for a Fortune story, send emails to people for City Journal parks story.
8:45-8:50 – check on progress of 4-year-old getting ready for school (nanny is helping him). Normally I walk him to school, but Michael is still here so he walks him. Make sure birthday thank you cards and homework (!) are in backpack. Yes, he is 4.
8:50 – start to hear back from earlier emails.
9-9:30 edit guest post for Men with Pens (part of publicity for paperback)
9:30-9:40 – email
9:40-11:15 – revise USA Today column. This was my longest period of concentration on anything today.
11:15-11:30 – call person who had inquired about a webinar on 168 Hours.
11:30-11:40 – snack.
11:40-12:20 – work on guest post for Michelle Rafter’s Word Count blog (paperback publicity again)
12:20-12:30 – email
12:30-12:40 – check weather, note lull in rain, decide I can run outside, change into jog clothes. Note that I have not showered yet today. The joys of working from home!
12:40-1:20 – run outside. Rain holds off. 3.5 miles.
1:20-1:30 – talk with house guests who have just returned from their bonus day of exploring/shopping in NYC.
1:30-1:50 – newspaper reporter interviews me for story on making most of summer
1:50-2 – prep for 2pm call re parks. Person is not available, so table for later.
2-2:15 work on webinar proposal.
2:15-2:35 – lunch. Heat up soup. Brown toast. Eat.
2:35-2:50 – finish up various guest posts.
2:50-3:15 – email/Twitter/prep for later interviews
3:15-3:25 – shower. Desperately needed by this point.
3:25 -3:55 – Read Op-Ed Project submission (I volunteer with mentor-editor program) and send comments to author.
3:55-4 – phone conversation with husband and get house guests out the door to try to make rescheduled flight.
4:00-4:15- cuddle with baby
4:15-4:30 – prep for next interview (parks)
4:30-4:45 – phone interview for City Journal parks piece
4:45-4:55 – start prepping for next interview, winds up moved to tomorrow, answer emails.
4:55- 5:15 – start blogging about my day! Yes, this feels incredibly narcissistic, but hey, blogging is narcissistic in its own right. I guess it’s all a matter of degree.
5:15-5:50 – haul out keyboard and practice music for choir concert in less than 2 weeks.
5:50-6 – Decompress. Breathe. This is my “commute”
6-6:25 – kid time! Much pseudo wrestling. Puzzles. Realize baby has learned to whine for Dora the Explorer. “Dor! Dor! Dor!”
6:25 – Dora. Sigh.
6:40 – Michael home. Talk with him, start dinner — his concoction of rice, shrimp, seafood bisque soup. I heat up veggies in a bag that steams right inside the microwave.
7-7:20 – eat dinner.
7:20-7:55 – Playing remote control cars and other games with my 2 little boys and one big one.
7:55-8:25 – we all watch home videos of when kids were marginally littler together.
8:25- 8:55 – all four of us building train tracks, playing with Thomas & Friends set.
8:55-9 – PJs, potty, diaper change, brush teeth.
9:00-9:10 – stories.
9:10-9:15 – various kids hungry, eat bread, need teeth brushed again, much whining, mommy gets exasperated.
9:15-9:20 – crank out one email and then…
9:20-9:25 – FreshDirect shows up with groceries. Put them away.
9:25-9:35 – rock baby who is still shrieking. He finally calms down.
9:35-11:15 – work. Catching up on emails, reading through manuscripts returned by beta testers, etc. Now blogging about it, and heading to bed in next 20 minutes.