Well, that was another week! It was another good-if-full one. The kids were off school Monday and Tuesday, but I still worked at least half days each of those days, in addition to doing things like getting a kid fitted for ice skates, and taking children for haircuts. All five children now look respectable! They do not all have cold weather clothing that fits, but that is a problem to be solved this week, along with my daughter’s at-home birthday party, the preparation of which is giving me more fits than preparing for a 50-person cocktail party a little over a week ago.
I went to NYC on Wednesday to give a speech in the evening and met a friend for lunch and had some afternoon meetings, including one at Penguin Random House. There was a date night on Sunday and a lot of time spent cleaning the playroom carpet after some cursed toy started shedding red paint everywhere…
Before we get to how I did on the nine Tranquility by Tuesday rules, perhaps you have been asking yourself “How would Theodore Roosevelt have done on the TBT rules?” Well, you are in luck, because Rachel Lane, who read an advanced copy, decided to ask that exact question in her newsletter. Please give her answers a read!
Now here’s how I did on the nine Tranquility by Tuesday rules this week. I’m sure everyone who reads this regularly is getting sick of me talking about it at this point but the book will be out next week! If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, I would really, really appreciate it. Thank you.
Rule #1: Give yourself a bedtime. Hahaha. I was only asleep at 11 p.m. one night this past week, though in my defense, because the kids were off school Monday and Tuesday, and I wasn’t running early over the weekend (and flag football was canceled with the rain…) I only needed to be up at 6:30 a.m. three days this week. Since the most important thing is that I get 7.5 hours of sleep every single night, that is what I was aiming for. I was asleep by 11:45 every night, and several mornings I set my alarm for 7:15.
Rule #2: Plan on Friday. Yep. It’s the only way I feel I can keep track of the various moving pieces. I try to figure out what is most important. On the professional front for the next week it’s obviously the last-minute preparation for my book launch on the 11th. But on the personal front I have identified two priorities: hosting my daughter’s Halloween/birthday party and getting the kids’ passports renewed. I also noted when the open rehearsals for the middle school jazz band start (before the directors hold auditions). This is something we had talked about but seemed to have missed in past years. I also have something I am looking forward to — a date night dinner at a restaurant not far from here that made the NY Times’ Top 50 list. I went on the system last month right when they opened for October reservations and scored one. Go me.
Rule #3: Move by 3 p.m. I did walk or run six out of seven days, though not always before 3 p.m. Oh well. I walked all over NYC instead of taking cabs. From Penn Station to a restaurant by Grand Central, then up to the PRH building on Broadway near Central Park, then down to 30 Hudson Street for my event, and back to Penn. It was actually fewer than 20,000 steps, all told. I guess that makes sense as I was never south of 31st street or north of 57 street and there are 20 blocks to the mile…NYC is compact!
Rule #4: Three times a week is a habit. I ran exactly three times. Once on Monday around the neighborhood, then on Tuesday I drove to a nearby trail and ran through a lovely meadow as the setting sun was making everything golden. I stopped to take lots of pictures of fall wildflowers! Then we had a sitter on Sunday and my husband and I were going to do our long runs, but the rain made that unappetizing. We went to the gym together instead, where I ran 4 quick miles while watching HGTV and then lifted weights.
I played the piano three times. Each time was pretty short, but at least I’m keeping up with it. The last time was Sunday night when I realized I hadn’t done it three times yet. I fit it in, and now feel like I have been successful on the piano front, instead of dropping another ball.
As for family meals, it sort of depends how you are counting. My husband and I took the three big kids out to dinner on Monday night. Given that they are the three who actually sit still for any length of time at dinner at home it was sort of like a family dinner. We had family dinner with all seven of us on Tuesday. We were together at dinner time at the Renaissance Faire on Saturday but we didn’t actually eat dinner. However, I did pull together family breakfast on Sunday morning as a way to get closer to three times a week. That is the point of this little rule. It would have been easier to not nudge everyone to the table, but I did because I was aiming for three, and it was nice.
Rule #5: Create a back-up slot. It’s not the same as a back-up slot (though I did leave Friday mostly open…even though my overflow of work then filled it). But the rain this weekend necessitated a fair number of back-up plans. I could see that the rain was going to stop for a while on Saturday afternoon, so the primary plan was to take the kids to the Renaissance Faire (see below) but if that didn’t fly, we would go for a bike ride during a smaller window.
Rule #6: One big adventure, one little adventure. Where to start…NYC for the day was an adventure — especially speaking on the 101st floor at Peak Restaurant’s event space. The sun was setting in the west, casting pink light off the clouds and making the buildings glint like they were decked with diamonds. I don’t think I have ever spoken in front of such an amazing backdrop! But even walking through the mall on the way there was an adventure, such as seeing Muji, a Japanese department store. We had a family adventure too on the weekend. We took the kids to the PA Renaissance Faire and saw, among other things, some dramatic jousting. There were explosions and one of the knights had a vial of fake blood on his neck that he then let spurt when he was stabbed. Good times.
As for little adventures, I sang a very brief solo in church on Sunday — stretching my comfort zone a bit — and then got to sing a motet with our small chamber group (always a treat). My husband and I stopped by a party briefly (a fundraiser) on Sunday at a house with some fantastic grounds. Then we went out for Thai food at a place we’d never been before. We had to order from our phones at the table, which was a little strange, but that’s what makes for an adventure!
Plus I learned to clip my climbing kid (the 7-year-old) into the auto-belay set-up (then I look away because I don’t want to watch!) And I took the 10-year-old to her first ice skating class. I have never been a “skate mom” before but my first take-away is to bring gloves and a thicker coat. Brr…
Rule #7: Take one night for you. Choir served that function well this week. My director sent around my piece on quiet quitting in which I recommended people join a choir so several folks have referenced that. Just wait until they find out I talk about choir in the book! (Only nice things.)
Rule #8: Batch the little things. So these aren’t a “little thing” but I did batch my business tax stuff. I track my income diligently, and I file the 1099s for my contractors in January/February. So I know the basic numbers. But we always get a six month extension due to some investment paperwork, so I don’t have to compile my business expenses until then. I pulled together all my credit card statements for 2021 and went through and did it all in 90 minutes. I do not enjoy doing this (understatement) but 90 minutes isn’t bad at all, and I have changed my mindset on this over the years. I do have to report income; I do not have to tally and report business expenses — I always have the choice to just pay taxes on the amount. That would be silly, but I could do it. So, every expense I add up is really just making me money. With that mindset, I earned a lot in 90 minutes!
As for the true little things, I did my best to make it through the Friday punch list. But part of the problem of doing some work travel two weeks in a row is that the stuff adds up. I wasn’t quite done when I had to quit for the day to go get the kids. For instance, I still haven’t filled out all the passport forms. But it’s on the list for Monday’s batch time (afternoon, after I’ve done my major work of the day).
Rule #9: Effortful before effortless. On Saturday night, I had collapsed into my bed and was about to open Twitter when a little voice — I guess my own, because who else could it be? — popped into my head saying “effortful before effortless!” So I opened an ebook instead (This is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch) and read for 10 minutes. Then I scrolled around, but at least I got the reading in — which is the point of this little rule.
How was your week?
Photo: Just the view from Peak, that is all…