I kept a time log over the past week: April 20-April 26. Even though I’ve kept many time logs over the years, I find I always learn something new, and when life circumstances change, a time log can help me see what I’m doing well and what I’m not.
The major thing I learned? I’m not working as much as I think I should be. I worked a little over 40 hours, but I had to claw to get there, working one night in the library, another night on the train to and from NYC, doing some work reading on the sidelines of T-ball.
This clawing sensation is because I am spending a lot of time on kid stuff. In case I ever need evidence that working 40 hours does not preclude kid time, I will point to this week. I was seeing the baby every few hours, of course. But I also chaperoned the 5-year-old’s field trip to the local hospital, did two parent teacher conferences, had a 40-minute conversation with an eye surgeon about what can be done about my daughter’s condition (long story), went to an elementary school breakfast, went to a playground, went to a T-ball game and a soccer game, went to two birthday parties, and hosted a playdate (more on that later). I also spent a stressful hour helping my 7-year-old do his biography project. How many times does one need to write Ulysses S. Grant before one remembers the G is capitalized??
I’m doing pretty good on self-care. I ran four times, including a 90-minute run on Sunday morning with my running buddy. I am sleeping. I slept a good amount. I’m still going to bed very early because I feel like the baby might wake up in the middle of the night. But then he hasn’t (knock on wood). I was only up once for any significant amount of time in the middle of the night this past week, and that was because I was coughing. He’s been doing at least 10 to 5 every night, and usually a little better. So I am grateful. I logged about 52 hours, averaging to 7.5 hours/night. I am also recognizing the limits on my energy. On Thursday, I was scheduled to go to a black tie event with my husband. I was so tired by mid-afternoon Thursday I just couldn’t stomach the idea of getting in a dress and heels and making small talk. Plus I was feeling incredibly behind (see the clawing to 40 hours feeling). I begged off and used the evening to work and grab a quick solo sushi dinner. Much better for this introverted sort.
Work and life blends together for me. I check email while nursing. I hosted a playdate on Wednesday with Amanda Steinberg, founder of Daily Worth and her kids. We talked business and our kids played. I counted that as personal, though I guess if you count it as work that pushes me over 40 hours. There was wine involved. I went to Dorie Clark’s Stand Out book launch party in NYC, which was also half work/half personal. I’m networking, but there as a friend too. These things defy obvious categorization.
I’m getting more adult interaction than I think I am. There was Dorie’s party Tuesday night, and the Wednesday playdate. I also know a lot of the families from our kids’ schools now, so I chatted with people at T-ball, soccer, and the two birthday parties. My brother and his girlfriend came over Saturday and spent the night. The 90-minute run featured much chatting.
I’m also realizing that the logistics of four kids are crazy. We needed to have 3 kids in 3 different places for soccer and birthday parties on Sunday (at least the 4th just tags along in his car seat). I had to create a diagram to figure out what would be the best strategy for my husband and me with driving the kids around. This diagram, and the subsequent instructions, were then revised upon consulting a map and the distances between points. I feel somewhat like Ulysses S. Grant directing the various regiments.
So anyway, life is full and good. Even the craziness of running between birthday parties wasn’t so bad given the gorgeous spring weather and sunshine. I just feel like the work part is not as focused or intense as it should be right now, given that I have a book coming out in 6 weeks. I do a lot during the 40 hours I work, but I also know that 40 is under my point of diminishing returns, and it was fractured enough not to feel like 40. I am hoping to ride the wave of work I have done leading up until now — all those workweeks north of 40 over the years. Maybe it’s balance over a decade, not any given few months.
In other news: One thing I discussed during the 90-minute run. I need to start thinking about my next book idea. What themes would you like to see me write about more?
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