This summer, I shared a few days of my life with you after someone on Facebook asked how I went about organizing my time. But since summer is a weird time for me because I am not teaching and my work slows down some, I thought it would be good to redo that exercise during the school year. Hence, here are a few more days in my life.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
6:45 am Wake up. This is way late for me, but I had an awful night’s sleep the night before and so I had decided before going to bed that I would sleep until the last possible minute this morning.
6:45 am Go through email, quickly, just to give it a quick once-over.
7:10 am Shower, get ready
7:30 am Happy’s up and at ‘em. BF is home until 7:45 am this morning so he starts to get Happy ready for preschool while I am getting ready. When BF leaves, Happy hangs out with me while I finish getting ready, get breakfast ready, etc.
8:15 am Sit down for breakfast.
8:40 Leave for preschool (Preschool starts at 8:45).
8:55 am Pick up a CdL board member to run to a meeting in Charlotte about our program for next year.
9:20-10:30 CdL Meeting
10:30-11 am Drive back to town. Get home, change, straighten a little from breakfast.
11:15 am Head out to Sugar Shack. Clean out email. Check Facebook, Twitter. Pack bag for aware workshop on Wednesday.
11:30 am Write Wednesday blog post.
12:30 pm Check personal and university email accounts, Facebook, Twitter.
12:45 pm Circle de Luz emails, paperwork.
1:00 pm Head inside for lunch and to meet up with BF bringing Happy home from preschool. We eat lunch, process preschool backpack stuff, do chores like emptying the dishwasher, etc.
2 pm Quiet Time starts and goes until 3:15 pm.
2 pm I do more Circle de Luz work.
2:30 pm Check email (personal, university), Facebook, Twitter. Then I work on one of my new projects.
3:15 pm Quiet time ends. Happy loses it because he doesn’t love his choices for things to do today (he REALLY wants to go to the library but we went yesterday and, if he had his way, we would go everyday (as a writer, yes, this should thrill me but the primary reason why he wants to go to the library is because it is only there that he can play on a computer and he likes to play the educational computer games. Awesome, yes, but I am not up for raising a kid whose only sense of what to do with free time is to play video games. So the library is a Monday in order to give it some balance and to give us time to do some other things like art, play ball, cook together, etc).
3:30 pm Happy is still losing it so I take him to his room and tell him he can come get me when he is no longer wailing, thrashing, and is ready to apologize to me for hitting, pushing, and kicking.
3:45 pm Happy recovers, apologizes, and we bake muffins, call my parents to check-in, practice writing our whole name, eat a muffin for snack, fall down from the chair (Happy), comfort (me), color, make a video on my iPhone, listen to music and dance, etc.
5:15 pm BF is home and we start cooking dinner.
6 pm Family dinner where everyone shares 3 good things that happened today.
6:30 pm Bath. One of us bathes, one of us does house chores. Whoever does house chores always feels like they won the lottery.
6:50 Get ready for bed, brush/ floss, say prayers as a family.
7:15 pm Bedtime (which would typically involve reading 5 books but Happy lost all his books earlier in the day when he wasn’t so happy and took out all his anger on me. As it turns out, part of parenting is finding out your kid’s currency. Happy could care less if he got time out (although sometimes he gets it anyway just so he can regroup) but he does care if he loses books at bedtime so that’s the first currency to go if we’re working with him to get to a better choice and give him some control).
7:15 pm Chores.
8 pm Retreat to the bedroom to start winding down for the night– do a few chores, a little work on the laptop, some tv watching, reading.
10 pm Lights out
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
5:45 am Wake up, clean out email, make Happy’s lunch, clean up bedroom, get ready, chores, etc.
7:15 am Happy is up and at ’em. BF and I tag team to get him ready, fed, out the door. Because I have the first aware workshop today and because BF can’t pick Happy up from preschool (I usually take Happy and BF picks him up), he volunteers to take Happy so I can have some extra time.
8:15-8:45 am Work on email and a few to do items before leaving for aware.
8:45 to 12:45 pm aware set-up, an amazing first aware workshop (with a great yoga class!), hanging with Kris and the horse for a bit at the farm before leaving to go get Happy from preschool
1 pm Preschool pick-up. Happy and I head home for lunch, preschool backpack processing, chores, etc.
2 pm Quiet Time gets started. I burn though as much of my to do list as I can– everything from prepping blog posts to grading papers.
3:30 pm Quiet time over. Happy and I decide to finger paint. I have ideal visions of how this is going to go. It starts that way. Then all the paints get mixed to make a red brown and well, finger painting devolves into red brown swirls. From there, we work on cutting, writing, identifying patterns.
5:30 pm BF gets home. We cook dinner while Happy plays on his own.
6:15 pm Dinner. Followed by bath and bedtime.
7:30 pm Chores
8:00 pm Grade papers. Enter grades in gradebook. Pack bag for school tomorrow.
9 pm Head to the bedroom: clean out email, get ready for bed, a little tv, some reading.
10:30 Lights out
Thursday, October 25, 2012
6 am Wake up. Clean out email. Shower. Get Ready. Get lunch ready for Happy.
7:20 pm Happy wakes up. BF and I tag team until 8 and then he leaves for work. Happy and I finish up, eat breakfast and then I take him to preschool at 8:45.
9:00 am Pop into the sugar shack for one quick hour of work. Rush through to do list as best I can.
10:00 am Leave for university. Thursday I teach from 12:30 until 3:15 and get home around 4:15. BF takes his lunch for an hour with Happy then a neighbor sits Happy from 2 pm until I am home. Today, I have to get to the university by 11 am so that I can meet with a grad student about ways she might get involved with Circle de Luz.
11 am Meeting with grad student
12 pm Wrap up meeting, start walking across campus for my meeting. Get voicemail from sitter saying she can’t sit. Find alternate sitter while walking across campus.
12:30 Class starts. While my students are taking a reading quiz, sitter texts that she can sit. Apologize to my students, furiously text sitter, alternate sitter, and BF to work everything out. That right there: life of a working parent.
Class continues. Today we are talking sexuality, sexual orientation, sexualization and body image. As you might imagine, not one dull minute.
3:15 pm Class ends. Hoof it across campus to car. Stop at grocery store on way home. Make it home by 4:30.
4:30 pm Happy and I hang out.
5:45 pm BF comes home. We head to some friends’ house for dinner. We have been eating with this family practically weekly for 10 years. It’s always a good time.
7 pm Back home from dinner. Bath, bedtime.
8 pm Chores. Grading. Clean out email. Plan next week. Pack bag for tomorrow.
11:30 pm Lights out.
Some general rules I follow in managing my time:
1. I break everything down. When I have a bigger project, I typically break it down into little parts and just handle one piece of it a day. This is especially helpful because I often don’t have big chunks of time.
2. I plan ahead. Every Thursday, I look at my master to do list and assign tasks to each day the next week on my daily to do list. I always do this planning with an awareness of how much time I have. For example, if it’s a day that Happy is home all day, my tasks assigned to that day are not big, comprehensive ones that require critical thinking. There might be 10 things on my to do list that day, but they are easy to accomplish (send an email to so and so about X) and don’t require very deep thinking. There are a few to do items on every week day’s list: clean out email, Twitter/ Facebook, write the next day’s blog post, workout. Everything else is relative to the day and what’s due, what meetings I have, etc.
3. I plan with my energy in mind. I am now pretty aware of when I will have energetic highs and lows. I typically can’t do more than 2 meetings in a morning, I am usually too wiped to think deeply on a Friday so I do more business-keeping than deep writing then, and I don’t like to have meetings on Monday as I am easing back into a week. I keep all of that in mind as I place things on my daily to do list. A lot of Circle de Luz business happens at evening meetings and there are always workout classes that I want to go to at night but I don’t allow myself to take more than one night away from home during the work week (unless it is impossible to avoid). I like our family rhythm at night and don’t want to miss it.
4. I pick my battles. I know I have a very finite amount of time. I know that there’s more that I want to shove into it then I can and so I have chosen my battles. I don’t have a personal Facebook account because I would disappear into it. I am not on Twitter much. I do very little social media or email over the weekends. I don’t surf the internet as much as I would like. I read less than I used to before becoming a parent. Heck, I work out less than I used to but still try to work moving my body into every day. I’ve tried to make everything as simple as I can.
5. I am not a perfectionist. I could probably make everything I do more bright and shiny and powerful, or I could stop at good enough and keep going. If it only really affects or bothers me, I stop at good enough. I don’t have the breathing room to be perfect in my life. So my blog posts aren’t perfectly formatted. I don’t sit on posts for days to make sure that a better way of expressing things doesn’t come to me. I just go with what I got. That said, I do always evaluate the work that I do and consider how I can improve and work those strategies into my life. I just don’t paralyze myself trying to be perfect. I don’t have perfect in me, and I know it so I save a lot of time right there by not worrying about it.
6. I don’t wait until I feel like it. It used to be that I had the luxury of waiting until I felt like doing something. But I don’t anymore. Every morning that I get to work, I look at that day’s to do list and prioritize what has to be done by the time Happy is home from preschool. And then I do those things; even if I don’t feel like it (and a lot of times, I don’t feel like it, I want to do something more creative or cool than, I dunno, type up annual report addresses but, whatever, it needs to get done and it’s only going to happen if I do it. So I do it). So, everyday, I do the most time sensitive things on my to do list even if I don’t feel like it.
7. I’ve accepted that I am constantly trying to catch up. Yes, there is so much more I want to do, but here’s the thing: I have about 12 prescheduled (preschool hours) hours a week to work outside of teaching. It’s not enough for what I have going on so I am always going to be behind. I am always going to have things on the dream list. But the exchange is this- I love the time I have with Happy in the afternoon, and Happy has some needs that make it better for him to be with me in the afternoon as opposed to in a full-time day care setting. I just choose to recognize that it is what it is.
8. I fess up. Because I am not a perfectionist and because I know that I am always behind, I try to fess up about my goof-ups and communicate what my challenges are (when appropriate). If someone needs something from me, I communicate my limits. When I goof up, I say, “My bad” and “I’m sorry.” I just try to be as real as possible that I am not a superstar and find that plenty of grace comes with that.
9. I realize that I am not alone. When I was young, I thought life got easier when you became a grown-up. But the truth is we would all like to be doing more than we are able to do and so all we can do is give life the best that we got and accept the rest of our reality. It’s easier to do this when you realize that you aren’t the only one struggling to find the right balance. So talk about it with others and keep it in mind as you try to evaluate things for yourself.