We are in for our first freeze tonight. The temperature is supposed to drop to 23 by Saturday morning, which means the fall flowers may be gone soon. However, in the meantime, here is a photo of the mums for reader Cate (who, being from the UK, thinks of mums as moms — a very different sort of concept!)
On my calendar for today: many phone calls, and also a spot of time for planning the next week. In my talks (including my TED talk) I suggest people plan their upcoming weeks on Friday afternoons. I also suggest creating a 3-category priority list for the week: career, relationships, self. The reason to do this is that it is pretty hard to create a 3-category list and then leave one (or more) of the categories blank. This little hack will, right there, nudge you to plan a more balanced life.
This is one of those areas where I usually do take my own advice (I don’t always…what can I say). This week has been, and will continue to be, pretty good on that front.
I had a couple professional priorities: turning in the next round of edits on Off the Clock, which has now gone to copy-editing, writing 6000 words in my fable, being on a panel for the Room to Grow “Power Breakfast” in NYC on Wednesday morning (which involved the lovely Deborah Roberts and Lauren Smith Brody) and planning a few more podcast episodes.
On the personal front, I wanted to go for a run in Central Park on Wednesday morning (since I was in the city overnight). Knowing I wanted to do this motivated me to set my alarm for 6:25 a.m., even though I was in a hotel room and could have slept for another hour before my event. (The fact that I went to bed at 9:25 p.m. also made this seem quite doable. Going to bed early is how grown-ups sleep in). I was rewarded with absolutely gorgeous autumn scenery. I ran past the grand stand — still there! — where Shalene Flanagan won the marathon last weekend.
Also on the personal front: I have plans to go to a concert given by the staff singers at my church on Sunday afternoon. I made sure to talk about this with my husband last week, so he knows to expect me to leave at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday. (Of course, he may have forgotten. But he was told!)
On the relationships front, I got together with my little brother for dinner in NYC on Tuesday night. Szechuan food and beer. It was great! I also hosted playdates for my older boys on Tuesday, which they had off from school. (The playdates were in the morning; I left for NYC on the 3:25 p.m. train).
(I am also working on the new activity schedule for the new activity season but…this is a work in progress. Why does my 8-year-old’s swim group have to practice at the exact same time as his age group for wrestling??? Then I met with the designer who will work on my kitchen, living room, and master bathroom. This doesn’t fall neatly into any of the categories…but it is a priority of some type.)
Various other stuff came up, both personally and professionally, that I had to deal with. Life was not all roses this week by any means. One example: the 2-year-old was up from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. Monday night (technically early Tuesday morning). He also woke up at 4 a.m. last night. I turned on a movie and got another hour of sleep. But having a relatively limited list of things I KNEW I wanted to get to meant they happened. Especially with something semi-speculative, like the fable, putting it on the priority list is key. I did 2000 words on Monday, 1500 on Tuesday, 500 on Wednesday, and 2000 on Thursday. On all those days, I actually stopped as soon as I hit the word count. I could have written more but I believe in the 20-mile march concept (which I think is from Built to Last?) Doing less than you could somedays means you can push yourself to do a little more than you think you can other days. Being willing to leave a little bit on the table means you can keep going. And ultimately, it is the long-term consistency that leads to things happening.
Now, on to planning the next week. Sarah and I are recording 4 podcast episodes, 3 of which feature guests. I’m giving a short (and thankfully local) talk one evening. I plan to write another 7000 words in the fable. I plan to get my 2-year-old’s application for preschool filled out (!) as soon as I get the printer working. My daughter doesn’t have school one of the days so I’m pondering taking her out for breakfast. I’m still debating the personal priority for the week. I might try to get that long fall foliage run in that I didn’t quite manage on my fall fun list. Or I might aim to do a speed work session. Or order those darn photos from the beach photo session this past summer! Or maybe the Christmas card? I’m not sure. Once I decide something is on the priority list it does generally happen, so I need to make sure I’m selective about what goes on the list. Because life does come up…
How do you plan your weeks?