One of my Tranquility by Tuesday rules is that “Three times a week is a habit.” The idea is that things don’t have to happen daily to be important in our lives. Aiming for three times a week is often quite doable, and is frequent enough to be part of our identities. Broadly, this rule gets us out of a 24-hour mindset, which tends to be limiting, and into a 168-hour mindset, which makes time feel more abundant.
(Well, this past week it was a 169-hour mindset…but anyway!)
As part of my “TBT Scorecard” — my assessment of how I did on the nine rules that are the subject of my most recent book — I’ve been aiming to practice the piano, run, and have family meals three times a week.
This past week I did do all of those three times a week, but the piano and running happened Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Sometimes we downplay things that happen on weekends — as in, they only happen on weekends. But doing something Friday, Saturday, and Sunday still means it’s happening three times. It’s just as many times as if someone did that thing Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I find it interesting that people who do something Monday, Wednesday, and Friday might naturally think of it as happening regularly, but Friday, Saturday, and Sunday often don’t get the same respect. It’s as if some days seem to count more.
Life becomes more doable when you realize that no day matters more than the others.
Anyway, I survived the past week! And indeed, much went quite decently, all things considered. We made it to Johns Hopkins for my daughter’s specialist appointment. My 13-year-old made it to his TSA Pre-check appointment. We took family photos and did our work travel. The playroom and guest room bathrooms are now pretty much demolished, but that’s the first step in getting them renovated (the pipes turned out to be very, very old and non-functional with full-time use).
Here’s how I did on the TBT rules.
Rule #1: Give yourself a bedtime. I know many folks got an extra hour of sleep during this 169-hour week. When you have a 2-year-old, alas, you do not, get an extra hour of sleep. You just get a longer morning and a bad nap schedule. That said, I was close on my bedtime this week. I was asleep by 11:30 every night and in my bed by 11 most nights. I did stay up late working one night, and up late talking to my husband another night. Both were chosen, so that’s OK.
Rule #2: Plan on Fridays. I wrote, last week, that my Friday planning was the only reason I felt this (past) week would be doable. So much had to happen, and with patched together childcare. But a long list of known stuff is less scary than a long list of unknown stuff. I’m happy to report that everything on my priority list for the week got crossed off. There is a universe of stuff that didn’t happen, but everything I identified as important did happen. That is the power of Friday planning. I planned the upcoming week as I usually do. There is some massive uncertainty surrounding weather and travel, but planning doesn’t guarantee certainty. What it does help with is that you see how to pivot based on what might happen.
Rule #3: Move by 3 p.m. Not great. Purposeful walks was one of the things that got chucked this week. I did walk around a lot with the toddler during the hours I had him, though. We went to the playground, we played outside in the mud (this was a rather big hit) and we went to nature class together on Friday morning. I got a reasonable number of steps in while trick-or-treating in the rain Monday night, though that wasn’t before 3 p.m.!
Rule #4: Three times a week is a habit. See the intro, above. I kept practicing the Mozart sonata and it is getting better. I ran three times, with the Saturday afternoon run bumping into the sunset as my husband went on a very long run training for the half-marathon he’s running in a few weeks. I, personally, am done with very long runs for a while…
We ate family dinner on three nights — which was pretty good given that my husband was gone Monday and I was gone overnight Tuesday to Wednesday. We ate family dinner on Wednesday after I came home from my trip to Cary, NC, and then on Friday we had make-your-own pizza, and on Saturday we had wings and chicken nuggets and nachos and assorted other things.
Rule #5: Create a back-up slot. On some level I didn’t have much open space this week. But that’s because I wound up covering a lot of time with my 2-year-old (as did my husband — he did all of Wednesday while I was gone). We have a temp nanny starting this week.
Rule #6: One big adventure, one little adventure. Lots of possibilities, but I will choose going to the local fire house’s haunted house as my little adventure. We were trick or treating around a nearby neighborhood (in the rain) when folks at one of the houses we visited mentioned that this haunted house existed. So we headed over and it was kind of fun. Very spooky decorations, smoke and darkness, and people jumped out at us… I guess they’ll clean it up quick because they start selling Christmas trees out of there soon!
(Speaking of which…I started working on my holiday fun list!)
For my big adventure, I’ll go with singing the Faure Requiem in church for All Saints Sunday. We had a harp and violin in addition to the organ. The Pie Jesu and the In Paradisum are both lovely soprano pieces. I think I need to get serious about studying voice to sing in a way that’s worthy of them…
Rule #7: Take one night for you. I went to choir rehearsal on Thursday night and on Saturday morning (we had an extra rehearsal for the Faure).
Rule #8: Batch the little things. I did pay all my bills in one fell swoop on Friday, so that’s good. This isn’t a “little thing” but I did batch record three episodes of Before Breakfast featuring Joel and Matt from How to Money! They’ll be sharing financial tips during some episodes that will air during Thanksgiving week. This recording happened in a corner of the garage as the house was unusable for recording with the bathroom demolitions going on…
Rule #9: Effortful before effortless. I read a lot of magazines this week — all of an Economist on the plane to and from RDU, and Runner’s World, and Real Simple. I also worked on my puzzle for what looks like a few hours, according to my time log. I still managed to log 4 hours of screen time a day, but at least I had some effortful fun!
How did your week go?
In other news: A few personally fun moments… Tony Robbins mentioned me in a LinkedIn post this past week…my musings on quiet quitting…
And the WSJ ran a piece on morning routines on Friday featuring my advice (paywall). I talked about reading through Shakespeare, but most exciting for me was that they gave my daughter a photo credit for the picture she took of me to illustrate the piece!