Last night I didn’t sleep well, but I still got up early this morning to hard boil eggs for my eldest, who requested them as a birthday breakfast. He celebrated turning 15 by going to a movie on Friday night with some friends. I am glad he got to do that because today, in addition to being a rainy Monday, featured exams. The school district also canceled all after school activities because of an impending storm. We talked in the car this morning about how that is kind of the nature of your birthday as you get older. He asked for a trip to NYC as a present, so there is still something fun coming up to look forward to, even if today may be a wash.
He is a wonderful young man whose interests can be whimsical and deep. He has a math project going on now about the changes in box office sales data, a long-running passion. He’s also recently become interested in tree identification and asked for the Sibley Guide to Trees for his birthday. He figures in my TBT scorecard this week, as you’ll see below.
The Tranquility by Tuesday scorecard is how I rate myself on following the nine time management rules in my next book. In advance of the book’s publication on October 11, I post this scorecard on occasion, usually on Mondays looking back at the week before.
Rule #1 is to give yourself a bedtime. I was in or near my bed around 11 p.m. every night this week, according to my time log. However, we had a couple rough nights with the 2-year-old that meant I didn’t get the same amount of sleep each night. And then last night I had some ridiculous stomach issue that meant I could barely sleep. Hopefully this week will be better.
Rule #2 is to plan on Fridays. I do this every Friday, although I tend to plan the kids’ activity schedule for the week on Sunday nights. I might start moving this to Friday since I generally know most things that will be required by then.
Rule #3 is to move by 3 p.m. I walked or ran outside every day by mid-afternoon. I have not necessarily been running as much as I want (I ran three times this week — per the next rule) but I’ve realized this is partly because we have construction going on on our street which makes it hard to run or even drive past during the day. Plus once you run past the construction you’re on a busy road before getting anywhere else. I did get myself motivated to get in the car and go run elsewhere, so maybe I just need to think about doing that more. There is a parking lot 3 minutes away where I can avoid the busy streets so it wouldn’t really eat up much time.
Rule #4 is “Three times a week is a habit.” If you want something to be part of your identity, make time for it three times during the week. I had a few wins here. I ran three times (even though I’d like that to be more, three times is the minimum). I practiced the piano four times during the week. An unexpected win? My husband and I ate lunch together (with no kids around) three times this week. We haven’t done a date night in forever but if we’re both working from home, we often stop to eat together at noon. We managed to do this even with him being in Seattle part of the week.
Rule #5 is to create a back-up slot. I leave Friday mostly open so it can absorb what it needs to. This week the afternoon was booked up but the morning stayed open and fit some spillover from earlier.
Rule #6 is “One big adventure, one little adventure.” The existence of this rule changed how I spent my time this week! I realized, as I was doing last week’s scorecard, that I had no “big adventures” planned. But I heard in choir rehearsal that there was going to be a production of La Boheme (with professional singers and a full orchestra and such) staged nearby on Tuesday night. My now 15-year-old expressed interest in going, so he and I got tickets. And just like that we became the sort of people who go to opera on a Tuesday night. We did leave a little early because it was a school night but that was a big adventure. As for little adventures, I ran on a trail I don’t often run on during the week, and on Saturday I took my oldest and the 7-year-old on a short hike. Over at Instagram you can see the reel I made of the 7-year-old crossing a creek on a log several feet up in the air.
Rule #7 is “Take one night for you.” I went to choir practice on Thursday.
Rule #8 is to “Batch the little things,” and I tackled my Friday punch list as usual, doing such things as paperwork and making appointments. Knowing I had a time specified for making those appointments made me feel less guilty about not doing it at other points.
Rule #9 is “Effortful before effortless.” This has not been so successful the last few weeks, but I did make some progress here this week. On Sunday, I had 20 minutes between when I came back from dropping one kid off and had to go pick another up. Instead of losing that time to nothing, I turned it into one of my piano practice sessions. I also read the book The Last Days of the Dinosaurs over the weekend. I know this consumed several hours, and those were hours that might have been spent on Twitter. Now I just need to come up with another book to read…
Photo: Squirrel statue guarding the trail I ran on…