Best of Both Worlds podcast: How we did on our quarter 1 (or quintile 1!) goals

Best of Both World podcast with Laura Vanderkam

Back in January, Sarah and I shared our goals for 2019. We’ve now completed the first quarter (and first quintile, in Sarah’s system! She does January to spring break, spring break to summer, summer, start-of-school, and holidays.)

So how did we do in Q1? In today’s episode of the Best of Both World podcast, we discuss that topic.

The answer is mostly good. Sarah restarted a research collaboration at work and upgraded her blog. She did not do her “mommy days” with her two older children, but the days she’d arranged for that got eaten up by her move. She’s rescheduling this goal for Q3. She has tried some group fitness classes (and found one she liked!). She also made all her doctor appointments that had not happened during the Year of Pumping.

I launched Juliet’s School of Possibilities. I also launched Before Breakfast, the new podcast, which was still under wraps at the time I shared my goals in January, but was quietly on the list. My family went to Disney World and the kids had a good enough time that they are looking to go back. You can read Jasper’s ride reviews here! I successfully went outside almost every day for 20 minutes. (I’ve posted this before but will again — I think this is a great resolution, and I’m so glad I found it thanks to the HumansOutside.com project.)

Looking ahead to Q2, I suspect I will not be as successful. I thought I’d revise the NaNoWriMo novel I wrote, but I’m not sure I feel like doing that. I wanted to get my backyard redone, but as I have not even called anyone for estimates, I suspect there’s no way the timing would work to be done with everything by June 30. And I think I’m fine with that. There’s nothing wrong with the yard and I’m not sure I feel like biting off another huge home renovation project. On the other hand, my Q2 goal to get together with friends at least every other week appears to be well on its way to happening.

If you make quarterly goals, how did you do on Q1? (As for why to make quarterly goals? More fresh starts!)

In the question section, a listener asks how to have a good attitude about missing lots of work days unpredictably due to winter weather and illnesses. I’m not sure there’s a good answer to this. We discussed the practical steps we’ve taken to lessen the work impact. In my case, a major reason we switched to nanny care from daycare was that I wound up covering so many unexpected days that first winter of parenthood. And yes, it was mostly me — causing marital conflict that made it even harder to have a good attitude. People going into parenthood might explicitly set an agreement of each parent having alternating weeks “on call,” and seeing everyone’s reaction to this idea might be a good way to unearth unstated assumptions. (In my husband’s defense, he realized quickly that the daycare option was unsustainable, and in the childcare situation we have now, I have a lot more predictability. If I had known to set this up and what to hire for when my eldest was an infant, our transition to parenthood would have been very different.)

Winter weather can be somewhat planned for. When we had snow predicted and I knew my husband would be traveling, I’d often take the weekends as work days while he covered. It doesn’t solve the problem of meetings (which are hard to even take as calls if you’ve got very little kids). But it can take the focused, individual work out of the equation so any existing nap time can be focused on interactive work.

We also just wanted to send a message of support to our listener. If you’re a planner — and many of us are! — having things not go as planned is never going to be fun. You can take steps to mitigate any major issues, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to feel happy about it. And that’s OK. Not all of life is rainbows and unicorns!

11 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: How we did on our quarter 1 (or quintile 1!) goals

  1. @SHU I too lack flexibility in my schedule and I schedule my Mommy Days on weekends. I mostly do them in summer, but will occasionally do them during the year too. I will do my younger kids when the older two are at camp and then do the older two when they are home in August. Just a thought when weekdays seem tough.

  2. Great podcast (as always!). I wanted to leave a comment referring to a prior episode (I was binging, so I can’t remember which one!) where you addressed a question about specifically about any push back you both get for writing from your more career-focused and privileged positions.

    One, great question and phrasing. I think you both answered it well, but wanted to add an additional perspective: Even if some of us aren’t quite where you both are, we can certainly use portions of your advice and learn from it. I’m childless now, but as I’m thinking about having children, and thanks to you both, I’m thinking about extended childcare as simply *part* of the deal, not optional. And that has helped inform the decisions my husband and I make around jobs to take, commutes, etc. Not everyone has that privilege, but for those of us who do, should we not take advantage of your excellent advice?

    1. @Anna – thanks for listening to the podcast! And I think these are important questions to think about going into having children. If you both are interested in continuing your careers it helps to think seriously about earning enough to cover the childcare that will be required to support your career ambitions and home harmony.

  3. As I listened to the goals episode I noticed two things about myself: I am already a very driven person and setting up additional goals adds so much stress to my life without really adding progress. So I might do something else and look at accomplishments after each quintile. The other thing I noticed and I’d be interested in your advice is how to find one’s real goals. I have a lot of goals in mind that are not mine but external expectations. I know you recommend the 100 Dreams List but I find that hard to write. So, how do you even arrive at your goals?

    1. Forgot to add another question: I love the idea of regular get togethers with friends but I need better ideas for what to do then. All I come up with is dinner.

      1. I end up doing dinner with friends a lot, too. Other fun ideas I’ve done are getting pedicures, going for a walk in a pretty area, coffee and dessert, or visit a local winery or brewery. For my friends with similarly aged kids, we love to take them bowling! Sounds cheesy (yo me anyway), but we always have a lot of fun. I would love to get more ideas from others!

      2. I’m an extrovert and I want (need) at least 5- 6 socials a month, outside of my full-time work.

        I run two book clubs – one for my friends and one for kids, I schedule regular phone dates with 3 long-distance friends (one of these is a podcast club – we each listen to the same podcast and then chat to catch up, and discuss the episode), and I meet at least 2 – 4 people in person for lunch or tea.

        Hope that helps.

  4. Laura, this has to do with the discussion about Jasper’s desire to visit Rome for his “mommy day.”

    I am the oldest of 4 kids. When I was 10, my dad decided to take me to the UK for a 9-day trip. Honestly, I suspect this was motivated by my dad’s desire to travel and my mom’s lack of excitement about dragging the whole family to Europe again. However, the “10-year-old trip” became an institution in our family, with each child going, in their turn, on a 7-10 day trip with my dad (3 international, 1 to Hawaii). My oldest niece is 10, and she and my brother are leaving for Berlin on Friday. I have great memories of my 10-year-old trip, and I know that the memories of his 1:1 trips with each of us are very special to my dad.

    I’m not trying to push you to take Jasper to Rome :-). But I wanted to point out that there is a way to do it without raising the bar for all future activities.

  5. I also agree with Anna – I too am not exactly where Laura and Sarah are in terms of jobs and financial situation, but I find almost everything they share about doing work and life helpful and useful in my situation as well. I might not, for example, be able to financially sustain a full time nanny, but the show has prompted me to first of all consider child care as something essential and not to scrimp on it, and also to be creative about where to find my child care.

  6. Laura, I wanted to pop on and say thank you for sharing how crazy things can be at the pre-release of a book. I have been experiencing similar craziness and it helps to know I am not the only one going through this!

    1. @Phoebe – it’s never my favorite part of the book process! I love writing. Marketing not so much. But if no one knows about your book, they can’t read it, so there we go.

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