January wrap-up, plus Tranquility by Tuesday update

I am writing a draft of this on Sunday afternoon (baby nap time) as the snow falls outside my window. We may be in for several inches. We went for a family walk as the snow began falling earlier. There was some whining about the cold — but oh, is it pretty. Fresh-falling snow is what makes winter worth it. (And yes, I say this as the person who shoveled the driveway on Monday morning right before I’m posting this!)

This first month of the year has been cold and dreary— and yet very good. On January 1st I began a new daily streak of what I am calling my “rituals.” I read a chapter of War and Peace (Tolstoy’s epic has 361 very short chapters). I write at least 100 words in my “free writing file.” I do some strength work: squats, kettle bell swings, etc. I did these rituals all 31 days of January. This is a pace that feels sustainable, so I hope to keep going through the rest of the year. I also did the hill work and speed workouts from my Many Happy Miles program every week. I ran 6.7 swift miles outside in 18 degree weather early Saturday morning. Putting those little hand warmers in my gloves helps a lot. Given that January is never a great month for running, I’m happy that I kept these resolutions.

I am moving forward in the house project, choosing appliances, plumbing fixtures, floor tiles, even a make of toilet that will go in every bathroom (when you buy an old house…you wind up fixing a lot). I keep thinking that I am glad I am a satisficer rather than an optimizer. I did not let the thought enter my head that I should choose a different toilet style for different bathrooms.

Work has felt slightly more sustainable now that I am down to two podcasts. I started the year a little sad about this, but winding down The New Corner Office was a good decision, especially since the virtual speaking business pace has picked up. Unlike in-person speaking, virtual work doesn’t need to have any seasonality to it. Pre-2020, most of my business happened between March and May, and then from September to mid-November. Trying to fly 500 people to Minneapolis in January for a conference would just be an exercise in masochism, but virtual events can happen at any time. I’m really interested to see how this will play out over the next few years. One of the month’s highlights: being on the Drew Barrymore show (and her calling herself an uber-fan)! I managed some little adventures, going to two art museums and to Longwood Gardens’s lovely greenhouse. We took some family walks. The kids had some outdoor playdates.

And I finished the Tranquility by Tuesday pilot project….Which brings me to the second part of this post’s headline! I’m now enrolling people for the full version of the Tranquility by Tuesday project — a study that will form the basis of my next book. People who participate take an introductory survey (5-10 minutes) that covers how they spend their time and how they feel about their time. Then, over the next nine weeks, I introduce nine different time management strategies. Each week, participants take two short (2-3 minute) surveys: one about how they plan to implement the strategy, and then a follow-up one about how those plans went. After nine weeks, they take a final survey. The time line for this phase is mid-February to late April.

Responses will be used (without names) in the Tranquility by Tuesday book. If there was a particularly good story, I would follow up to do a more extensive interview, and ask for permission to use names. Participants must be 18 years or older, but I welcome people of any demographic beyond that: kids, no kids, grown kids, employed, not currently working for pay, men/women/etc. I still need about 100 more people (I asked the folks who tried to enroll in the fall after the pilot capped out first). If you are interested and can commit to the full nine weeks you can sign up here. Thank you!

Update: Thanks to all who have expressed interest in the Tranquility by Tuesday project. Signups are now closed.

4 thoughts on “January wrap-up, plus Tranquility by Tuesday update

  1. Laura you have posted about enjoying your pool before and I was just wondering if you will have one at the new house (or will be putting one in). Is it worth the hassle? I have a hot tub that I have a love-hate relationship with after a series of expensive repairs.

    1. @Sarah K – the new (very old) house does have a pool. I’m sure it will need expensive repairs annually, as that seems to be just part of the package with pool ownership. You could join a very very swanky private pool for the cost of pool repairs/maintenance. The trade off is that we can use our pool in May and September (when the public or club ones aren’t open) and we can go in while a kid is napping or for 20 minutes as a break from work and not feel weird about it.
      I don’t know that I would ever build one, but since our two suburban houses have had one I can see the upsides. And the downsides. But the upsides too!

      1. That is a good point about the accessibility increasing your use. You wouldn’t drive to your club to swim for 15 minutes but you might do it at home, like you say. I think you are wise to just anticipate yearly repairs! This is probably what I need to do to adjust my attitude about our hot tub.

        1. For the first 3 years of our pool ownership, my husband was reluctantly “in charge” of our pool (came with the house so neither of us specifically made the decision to have one) since he was a teacher and home for the summer with extra time. It was a constant effort of things breaking, cleaning, chemicals etc. Last year I finally decided to do something about it so I replumbed most of it and committed to keeping up with regular maintenance (including the end of season shut-down) and once everything got to a usable baseline, it wasn’t that bad! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! But yes, they are a lot of work and $$$ and I don’t know that I would voluntarily put one in either!

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