However, Sarah has been feeling a bit…crunched lately.
She’s seeing patients all day at the office, and fitting pumping sessions around that. Her pumping sessions take the time she would normally be doing her administrative work. So this means that she’s using time outside work to get caught up on patient notes. That crunches everything else: blogging time, exercise time, etc. Her 5.5 month old baby is still waking up multiple times per night. Exhaustion is not known for improving anyone’s mood or productivity.
So we decided to switch to this topic. How do we get through those times when every minute — and more — seems spoken for?
We talked about a lot of different ideas. First, recognizing that it is temporary can help a lot. Sarah will not be pumping two years from now. Her older children demonstrate that kids do eventually sleep through the night.
It also helps to figure out one’s non-negotiables. Exercise is a known mood-booster, so Sarah is getting back into it. I am happy to report that the podcast has also made the cut of things she wants to keep! In tough times, it is smart to make sure the non-negotiables happen. Everything else can go on a “later” list (Sarah has a list of movies she wants to see in a few months).
Finally, martyrdom is over-rated. Some suffering in life cannot be changed. But if you can change it, change it! This is why Sarah is no longer waking up at 5 a.m. to pump.
It’s been a while since I’ve been in a particular crunch time, though I’ve gone through a few. Launching I Know How She Does It (a previous book) less than five months after I gave birth to baby #4 had some elements of this. Podcast listeners will be treated to a tale of me standing on the driveway and screaming because I was late to a haircut, which was scheduled for the only time it could happen before I had to go on national TV. I also experienced a pre-kid crunch time my senior year of high school when I decided to take multiple AP classes, serve in a leadership role for the school newspaper, apply to 7 highly selective colleges, and so forth. That experience taught me a lot about figuring out where things could go, and what I was capable of. But it’s also nice not to feel like every minute needs a task!
We started the episode with a discussion of what we’d do differently next school year. This year was calm as these things go because I have three kids in one school. Next year I will have four kids in three schools. So there’s that.
Finally, we ended with a Q&A about working from home. This — not incidentally — can be a major factor in feeling crunched or not. Having to fit a 45-minute commute into a life with little give feels miserable. You know exactly what you could do with those 90 minutes, and you’re not getting to do it.
Our listener said she would love to work from home occasionally, but her boss has been burned by allowing people flexibility in the past. How could she broach the topic, given this negative history?
Since she said this somewhat nebulous bad event happened more than five years ago, my personal thought is that this is getting blown out of proportion. It’s always easy to assign responsibility to the new, strange thing, and working from home seems like that. But a problem employee is a problem employee. If someone was stealing from the stock room, no one would say “oh, we can’t allow people to work in the office anymore!”
However, I fully recognize my attitude wouldn’t win our listener an accommodation, so we talked about different ideas. If you’ve faced this issue (or been the manager who’s wary of telecommuting!) please let us know.
And — a favor! Best of Both Worlds has become a very popular podcast! It also features no ads whatsoever. Sarah and I fund its production because we really enjoy doing it. If you enjoy listening to it, please consider pre-ordering a copy of Off the Clock as a way to show your support. Once Sarah exits crunch time, there will likely be a product of hers that you will be able to purchase to show your support too. Thank you!
If book buying isn’t happening in your life right now, you can also show support by asking your local library to purchase copies of Off the Clock. Librarians often have some discretion about which titles to stock, and how many copies of those titles. Suggestions from patrons do matter!