TBT Scorecard: Leaf peeping plus the book launch

A week ago I posted that eventually I would be on the other side of the next 168 hours, looking back over the past week. And here I am. Time marches on.

That said, it was a full week, and generally a good one. There were a few treats: I did a virtual toast for my book launch (Tranquility by Tuesday, for any new readers here), got lobster from the Cousins Maine Lobster truck on Tuesday, and then we took a weekend leaf-peeping trip.

The latter was a partial repeat of the trip we took last fall to my little brother’s wedding. He and his wife live in upstate New York, and the leaves there are at their absolute peak. Moving seven people anywhere is challenging, and it was a lot of driving (3-4 hours each way) for only being there a little less than 24 hours (Saturday at 6 to Sunday at 4, more or less).

But it was so beautiful — Sunday in particular. We got up early and went to Minnewaska state park. We saw a waterfall, and hiked up to Lake Minnewaska to do the loop. The bright red, orange, and yellow leaves sparkled against the clear water, the gray rocks, and the deep green conifers. The kids whined a reasonable amount, but they did make it through 5 miles (and my husband was a trooper carrying the 2-year-old much of the way). Then, after the hike, we went apple picking at a lovely little farm with a view of the fall-colorful cliffs. They actively encouraged you to try the apples, unlike most other pick-your-own places I’ve visited, and so the kids ate as we picked. We ended with apple cider donuts. So I was feeling like I got my official dose of fall — and now the leaves will start changing in earnest here soon too.

Here’s how I did on the Tranquility by Tuesday rules this week:

Rule #1: Give yourself a bedtime. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I observed my 11 p.m. bedtime, and then the week kind of fell apart. Some of it was for good reasons. Some not. Now I’m writing a draft of this on Sunday night at 11 p.m., so it looks like tonight isn’t happening either…

Rule #2: Plan on Fridays. I did plan my week, though some stuff is now in flux so it’s unclear how much of the plan will stick. But no doubt some will, and the point of a plan is that you figure out what’s critical, so you do that even if other stuff goes.

Rule #3: Move by 3 p.m. Looking at my time log, it seems I did move by 3 p.m. all seven days this week, though on Saturday morning the “moving” involved walking down to the end of the driveway three times to bring up the garbage cans that were still there (it’s a long driveway, so this definitely took ten minutes). The 5-mile hike on Sunday morning was the most spectacular way I moved by 3 p.m. for sure.

Rule #4: Three times a week is a habit. I played the piano four times. As I’m doing this, I’m thinking that I need to start working on some new music. Not that I’ve mastered all the pieces I’m playing but I may be getting a tiny bit bored of them.

I ran exactly three times — only 30 minutes or so each time, but I did do it.

And we ate family dinner together six nights, and breakfast on Sunday morning at my brother’s house! Not sure why it was such a banner week for family meals but I guess neither my husband nor I was traveling and we didn’t have evening things that precluded it. The only night we didn’t really eat together was Sunday and that was because we were driving back from upstate NY and didn’t really eat a meal at a table.

One other thing that appears to be happening three times a week…Starbucks trips. My 15-year-old is deeply into Starbucks these days and so it is now, officially, a habit. We found a Starbucks just a few minutes off I-80 in Stroudsburg on the drive home from NY and it was fun to see a new little downtown.

Rule #5: Create a back-up slot. I did not pack the week completely full, because I wanted to be available for book promotion opportunities that came up. Some did, which was nice, but the open space came in more handy for things like the urgent care trip on Wednesday.

Rule #6: One big adventure, one little adventure. The trip to Walkill, NY was definitely the big adventure. I’m loving looking through the photos of beautiful leaves, and the apple picking added another element of seasonal fun. As my official “little adventure,” I’ll choose driving downtown on Monday to be a guest on WHYY’s Radio Times. It’s been a while since I’ve done much in-person media, and the experience of any live taping is always memorable.

Rule #7: Take one night for you. I went to choir on Thursday night as usual. I am reminded of the importance of choosing a “one night for you” activity that involves a commitment. It was a busy week, and it would have been easier not to go but I felt better afterwards.

Rule #8: Batch the little things. Could have been better. One major fail — I spent too much time half-packing for our weekend trip. Basically this consumed the whole morning on Saturday, because I didn’t bring the 2-year-old to swim class (due to the deep cut + dermabond on his chin). As my husband was covering the other sports, I was half watching the 2-year-old and then half-packing and it filled all the hours available before we left. If I’d had something else during the morning, everything still would have gotten packed…and I would have done something other than packing.

I also wanted to batch order everyone’s Halloween costumes, and so I had everyone choose them in the car on the way home on Sunday but then nothing was actually available and people kept changing their minds so this was a total fail too.

Rule #9: Effortful before effortless. I spent a lot of time on social media this week, though more than usual was work-related (amplifying various posts people did about the book). My library hold for Crying in H Mart came up, so I’m working my way through that. I finished Merry Wives of Windsor, and started Henry IV part 2.

I did find my fall-themed 1000-piece puzzles that I put away last fall when we were showing the house. It was going to be a short break from puzzles…and then I never started back up in the new house. But I have a puzzle mat, and a first choice to do so…maybe this week will be the week I start. We shall see.

How was your week? If you’ve been reading Tranquility by Tuesday, let me know how you did on the rules!

13 thoughts on “TBT Scorecard: Leaf peeping plus the book launch

  1. I am about halfway through the book and really enjoying it! You would think from reading your blog and listening to your podcasts that I wouldn’t find anything new in there, but there totally was! I’m curious which participants had the most satisfaction with the “three times a week is a habit” rule…what activity tended to produce the most satisfaction, if there were any obvious trends? I’m trying to pick between aspirational activities that I feel are “meaningful” but not necessarily fun (e.g. Bible reading/prayer, breathing/meditating), something purely physical health related (e.g. strength training or running) or something just plain fun (e.g. writing or dancing, connecting with friends or spouse). Do you have a suggestion of which way to go based on the data?

    1. @Jenn N – That is my goal – that even the longtime listeners/readers would enjoy the book 🙂
      As for what makes a good three times a week habit…this would make a good blog post. I’ll aim for this week. But basically, I’d say anything you’d enjoy and that you’d like to have be a frequent part of your life. This is a good spot for things that can happen flexibly (unlike the “one night for you” habit where it helps to have it be at a specific time). I’m focusing on three things — running, playing piano, and family meals — and that might be a good guideline for people. A few activities, but not too many.

  2. I am obsessed with fall foliage. Leaves have been absolutely gorgeous where I live and I keep taking pictures on daily walks because…this is my favourite 3-4 weeks (seasonally, at least) out of the entire year! I want to suck every ounce of pleasure out of this season because it’s short and winter seems to last forever…

    I always appreciate when you identify that something was a “total fail!” I’ve had lots of that lately!

    Also, my copy of TBT arrived on Wednesday – much earlier than Amazon predicted for me up here in Canada – and my book plate arrived today. So exciting 🙂

  3. Just started Tranquility by Tuesday and really enjoying it so far. 🙂 I already give myself a bedtime (having a son who wakes at 4am necessitates an 8.30 bedtime!) and I usually move before 3pm, but the others I want to work on. I’m particularly keen on taking one night for me! This is something that would make a radical change, as my two young kids (ages 1 and 5) dominate every moment I am at home. The 1 year old is nearly 2 and seems like the right timing to introduce some more kid free time to my evenings. Last week I had a work event and social dinner after which was great, this week I’m going to do some late night shopping solo, and next week I have a friend date booked. Eventually I might start a class or other regular commitment, but for now scheduling something fun/social most weeks is enough. And my husband likes it because then he can also take a night for him!

    1. @Sophie – that sounds like a great way to get some time for you! And yep, the upside of swapping with your partner is that each of you gets some time…guilt free.

  4. I love the rules and am looking forward to reading your new book! I do follow your advice in planning on Fridays. When do you plan for further than a week out? Is that during the same time on Friday? I have young kids, but they are getting to ages where I feel like I should be able to snag tickets for next month, etc. and I honestly have been only planning for the following week since 2020.

    It seems to work, as I exercise, go on dates with my spouse, socialize with friends, volunteer, and travel for work. It does seem like there would be more options if I thought a little more ahead though.

    1. @Amanda- if you’re exercising, going on dates, socializing, and volunteering than all seems to be good with whatever system you’ve got 🙂
      I do use the Friday slot to look ahead a few weeks, just to see what I might want to do in the future or things I’m thinking about. If I see a concert or something I might want to do, I often put a note on my Friday calendar and then ponder that during my Friday planning (including putting a date on the calendar to buy tix if it’s something that will sell out fast).

  5. I’m working through the book one chapter a week. I am pretty good about honoring a regular bedtime; I am not a night person so I have no trouble going to bed. That said, the insight I gained from that chapter was the idea of quality leisure time in the morning. I used to be really good at that, but now I spend way too much time scrolling. My old formula for success no longer works, and I need to figure out a new one. I’ve been free writing daily since I read that chapter, and that seems to be helping. If nothing else, I can yammer on about what is on my mind and what I’d like to be doing with those precious quiet early morning hours.

    1. @Tana – that sounds like an excellent change to the routine! It is nice to get some quality time in the morning. I’ll get there someday…

  6. As someone who has read (or listened) to all of your time management books, owns and loves all the money in the world, reads the blog, listens to the podcast, I am shocked at how much I am learning from the book! It’s so well written, and so encouraging! I am finding myself talking through rules with my husband as I go, and I’m just enjoying it so much! Thanks for writing it!

  7. Hi Laura – this post is related to an earlier post you had about your kids’ morning routines and the problem of the high school kid having an early start time that goes against adolescent circadian rhythms while the younger kids have later start times. I thought you might be interested in this study on the impact of elementary school start times on student outcomes. Bottom line: “In districts that need to stagger start times, it may be advisable for elementary schools to start earlier to accommodate later secondary school start times.” From https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.3102/01623737221121799

  8. I am excited to start your book – just need to get through some library holds first! Your fall leaf trip sounds wonderful! Our leaves have turned here in MN but it wasn’t as vibrant of a season as usual because we are in an extreme drought. But the views are still very pretty even with muted colors. I enjoy the fall foliage way more now that I am a parent than pre-kids because I go on so many walks and am more apt to take in my surroundings when walking v running! And I’m often pointing out the leaves to my kids.

    Henry looks so much older in that pic!! He has lost his baby face and is really looking like a little boy!

    I invested in a puzzle mat last year but need to pull it out more. I did recently do 2 puzzles with my 4.5 year old, though. I bought 2 400 piece puzzles that had big and little pieces. He ended up helping with a lot of the little pieces when he had put all the big pieces together. He seems to take after me and LOVES puzzles which makes me so happy!

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