A little more than a year ago, in a fit of puzzle zeal, I had purchased three fall-themed 1000-piece puzzles. I got about 850 pieces into one, realized I had 150 pieces of blue sky to go, and used the convenient excuse of needing to clean up our then-house to put it on the market to abandon the project. I figured I’d start back up once we’d moved.
Then life continued and I didn’t do any puzzles for an entire year.
But this past week, I did! It is fall again, and so I found one of the undone fall puzzles and set up a puzzle mat on the dining room table. I am making progress sorting pieces in those little bits of low energy time that are otherwise hard to use well. The 20 minutes after getting the toddler down and before I need to go turn off other lights? Puzzle time.
Doing such “effortful fun” before “effortless fun” is Rule #9 in Tranquility by Tuesday. It is one I always find challenging. I do think the puzzles helped crowd out some meaningless screen time, which is the point of this rule. Now hopefully I don’t wind up in a situation where I get stuck on the puzzle (I deliberately chose a puzzle with zero blue sky this time!)
Here’s how I did on all the nine Tranquility by Tuesday rules this week…
(New here? For the time being, each Monday I post a scorecard documenting how I did on the nine rules that comprise Tranquility by Tuesday, my book that came out two weeks ago. I can usually figure this out pretty easily because I track my time — which you can do too!)
Rule #1: Give yourself a bedtime. Reasonably! Five out of seven nights I was in my bed right around 11 (maybe a few minutes after, but close). The two nights I stayed up late I was hanging out with my husband, which is also a priority. But those nights my bedtime was closer to 11:30 p.m., so not too bad. I can still get 7 hours of sleep before my 6:30 alarm (although I wound up awake on my own at 5:45 Thursday morning — I think I heard the heater come on — and my brother-in-law was visiting Thurs night/Fri AM, so I got up at 6:15 Friday morning to send him off).
Rule #2: Plan on Fridays. Confession — I actually started planning during some down time on Thursday. But I solidified the plan on Friday, and I made sure to write out the activity schedule for the kids too. This made the Sunday act of sending the schedule to my husband and nanny a slightly quicker enterprise. I also needed to work on this past weekend’s schedule some, and thinking it through on Thursday again made me feel slightly less crunched. But I could have done all that on Friday too.
Rule #3: Move by 3 p.m. Perfect score — 7 for 7! Monday’s “workout” was a bit unorthodox, in that I walked over a mile toward home from the PennDOT center where I was turned down for getting my RealID before my husband could pick me up (my car was in the shop). Several days I did a quick walk (or run) right at 2:30 p.m., which may not be much, but it made the afternoons feel better, which is the point of this rule. The fall colors are so beautiful right now. I hope to do some longer walks/runs this week!
Rule #4: Three times a week is a habit. For new readers: this rule is about aiming to do particular desired activities at least three times per week. I’ve been focusing on running, playing the piano, and having family meals.
I ran four times. My Friday run was very short, two loops around a nearby meadow, squeezed in after a podcast recording and before bringing my eldest to a Halloween party while trying to respect our nanny’s 5:30 end time. But it happened!
I played the piano three times. I do feel like I’m seeing some improvements as I work through tricky passages of the pieces I’ve been playing.
We ate family dinner all together on Monday and Wednesday. Friday we were missing my eldest, so I guess it wasn’t technically family dinner, but he did eat the same pizza we ate when he came home. One dinner win — the kids all tried rice noodles on Monday, and four out of five of them really liked them (the other child, sigh…). So that’s something we can add to the rotation.
Rule #5: Create a back-up slot. I had planned to get my Real ID on Monday, but when that didn’t work, I used an open window of space on Thursday. If I hadn’t needed that time, I was going to do a longer bike/run but that didn’t happen. Oh well, I am aiming for this week.
Rule #6: One big adventure, one little adventure. I had a few adventures this week, some of which people reading this blog joined me for! On Tuesday I hosted a webinar for people who pre-ordered the book. It was a good thing I bought the Zoom “large meetings” package! It was so fun taking questions once I figured out how to mute everyone…
I also hosted a small get-together for local friends and family on Saturday to toast the book. The weather was perfect for being outside and the fall colors certainly cooperated!
I took the younger three kids to Dutch Wonderland on Sunday. They had wanted to do at least one Halloween-themed event (we might wind up doing a Boo at the Zoo visit next weekend too). Alas, Sunday was on and off rainy, but we went anyway. Some parts of this amusement park visit were more adventurous than intended, such as when the 7-year-old went into the men’s room alone, and I needed to go to the bathroom so I took the other kids with me into the ladies’ room, and then came out and he wasn’t there…and wasn’t there…so I’m trying to figure out if he ran off into the park or what. It turned out he was just taking his time in the bathroom, but this is not the easiest thing to ascertain. The drizzle turned into a full-on storm while I was driving back in the dark on US-30, which is a 2-lane road through Lancaster, featuring the occasional horse and buggy. Visibility was terrible, and the road wasn’t draining fast, so people were skidding. We made it but it was not my favorite drive! I know the kids had fun, though, especially since we went to the pasta/pizza buffet place AND we made a stop at the gift store so I intend to remind them of this adventure whenever they complain of something for at least the next week.
Rule #7: Take one night for you. I went to choir on Thursday night as usual. We’re getting close to our performance of Faure’s Requiem, so I keep having little phrases of that echoing in my brain.
Rule #8: Batch the little things. After spending all last Saturday morning packing for our 30-hour trip, I realized that I’m better off shortening the window for getting ready for things. So when we had some friends and family coming over at 4 p.m. on Saturday this week, I didn’t really start getting stuff ready until 3 p.m. (We already had the food and beverages). It was fine and I didn’t lose my entire morning.
Rule #9: Effortful before effortless. See my introduction to this post about my puzzles! I also finished reading Crying in H Mart and mostly enjoyed it. I used the Libby app to borrow it from the library and read it on my Kindle app while sitting with the toddler in the dark some nights. I finished Henry IV part 2 in my Shakespeare project and started Henry V. Apparently this one has a lot of famous quotes, so I’m looking forward to that. I also had to remind myself what happened in Richard II, which is the first part of this history tetralogy, but my reading calendar had me reading it several months ago. I’m not sure if that was wise, but it’s too late to change it now.
How did you do on the Tranquility by Tuesday rules?