Spring fever

The weather has been marvelous this week. Warm days have pushed many more flowers out of the bud. Our row of pink cherries just started blooming. Being outside feels like an imperative.

Sitting at my desk, not so much.

But on the whole, it’s fine. One of the upsides of planning my weeks on Fridays (Rule #2 in Tranquility by Tuesday) is that in figuring out my priorities for the upcoming seven days, I see what truly needs to get done, and what I really want to get done. I generally do those things. Even if nothing else happens, the week doesn’t feel like a loss.

This is particularly true now that I’ve added a few daily habits to my life. Whatever else happens, I will write two lines in a sonnet. Whatever else happens, I will read my ten pages of Jane Austen (now I’m on to Mansfield Park…it looked like a slim volume in my collection but it’s actually over 400 pages so I guess I’ll be on it for a while!). So over the course of a week, that means I’ll write a sonnet and read 70 pages of great literature. Things could be worse.

This weekend will feature a lot of tulips. It probably won’t compare to going to the Netherlands for peak tulip season, but it will be magnificent nonetheless (sorry about the grainy photo in that post…who knew photos were so bad nine years ago?). My husband and I have a date night scheduled, and we thought of hitting an art museum before going out to dinner, but we may wind up at Pottery Barn looking at rugs instead. There will be a seventh grade dance, parkour, karate, climbing, a make-up tutoring session, and swim lessons. Good times!

In other news: I was quoted in a New York Times article on using business tools in our personal lives. Personally, I think it’s a sign of emotional intelligence to have a rough outline of what you want to talk about when you get together with friends. Any sort of information organization need is going to be well-served by a spreadsheet (witness my camp spreadsheet) and plans made for specific times have a high chance of happening, whereas vague intentions do not. If that requires a calendar invite, so be it. I use a paper calendar but my husband sends me calendar invites for various things, which is great, because then I know it is on *his* calendar.

(Also, does anyone else find it funny that everyone’s ages are in this article except David Allen’s? Maybe it’s a big secret!)

I was also quoted in a Verily article on how working from home makes it somewhat easier to “have it all.” During Covid, many people experienced the not-great version of working from home (no school or childcare, so there were constant distractions) but in general, more flexibility means there’s more give. If a couple can both work from home, if a kid is home sick from day care, they can trade off and each get about 75% of a day in. If you work from home and a kid comes home and wants to talk about something, you can do so for a bit and then still be able to finish out the work day. I want to be clear that if you have young kids, working from home still requires childcare, but potentially fewer hours without the commute.

(Have you read my ebook about working from home, The New Corner Office? It came out during the height of Covid, but remains relevant, with various productivity and career tips.)

I saw some fascinating statistics this morning in an article on how active fund managers failed to beat the S&P this past year, even though the odds of doing so this year would have been decent (the decline in the index was largely driven by the massive decline in a handful of tech stocks, so if you simply didn’t choose those stocks, you could have come out ahead). It was close this year, but the statistics were that over three years, 74.3 percent of actively managed funds trailed the index, over five years, 86.5 percent trailed, and over 10 years, 91.4 percent did. That is…impressive. Makes me feel better about all my boring, very low fee index funds.

4 thoughts on “Spring fever

  1. We use calendar invites for everything and todoist for life admin, which feels really technical and unromantic but it works for us in keeping track of everything. We are both good at calendar invites, but I’m the person who uses todoist more.

    1. @Coree- I don’t have an electronic calendar, so my invites seem to just disappear somewhere (I’m sure they are somewhere I just have no idea where) but I can see how it would help with coordinating family stuff. In general, I think business tools are overused at work, but underused in our personal lives. A lot of family organization really is easier with spreadsheets. And family meetings can truly be helpful!

  2. speaking of rugs….I was just looking at a Wirecutter article on the rugs they tested and found it really helpful. Wirecutter is a great resource from the NYT with recommendations on literally all kinds of products.

    1. @Cynthia – definitely like their recommendations! We got a set of steak knives based on their advice…

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