Get more time in your day…

We all want more time in our days. How often do you hear others say (almost daily) there are not enough hours in the day? It is true. I feel it and I am sure that you feel it too.

Did you know we each have 168 hours in a week? In some ways it does not sound like a lot, but if we work 50 hours, and we sleep 56 hours a week (8 hours a day), that leaves 62 hours to do everything else. Whether that be hanging out with kids, family, housework, errands, exercise, you could divide 62 hours over the rest of the week and you would have another 8-9 hours. Or 6 hours each day on weekdays, and 8 extra on the weekend. Where did all this come from? I just finished reading: “I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time” by Laura Vanderkam who discusses the idea of how to utilize 168 hours in a week in the best and most efficient way.

One particular area where I know I could gain time back is during my work day. I am literally always in back to back meetings all day. What if I could change the amount of time I spend in meetings? What if they were cut short? Vanderkam says:

“You can also schedule meetings for shorter slots. Just because Outlook tells you meetings should take 30 or 60 minutes doesn’t mean these blocks have been determined by divine decree. Shorten meetings you can’t kill. Two 60-minute meetings turned into 45-minute meetings buys you 30 minutes a day. Personally, I like the idea of 22.5-minute meetings or 37.5-minute meetings. Everyone will assume you have an incredibly detailed, thought-through agenda.” Page 44

I think the idea is plausible. Not only could I benefit from it, so could those involved in the meeting(s). A ripple effect. The key though is that the freedom of shorter meetings means that you get more time to do the things you need to do, and not instead go to more meetings. (I need to listen to that advice). I am going to try this and see if it brings good results!

Administrative Caca

Last weekend I was a book-reading fiend. I finished about four different ones over the weekend. One was short and the other three just had me completely sucked in. It was a gorgeous weekend with warm weather and sunny days which meant that other than errands, house chores, and yard duties, I tried to sneak as much time as possible to hide in between the pages of the books that captured my attention. The shorter one (at about 75 pages) is a book by Calvin Trillium who has been with the The New Yorker since 1963 among many other noteworthy achievements and books written.

Many of his books somehow connect back to his wife Alice. In the book I read over the weekend, “About Alice” it is a modern-day love story, but not in a cheesy, romantic style way. It is a genuine over-the-years deep love for his wife expressed over the 75 pages of this book. It is a quick read, but it left me with a deep contentment that love can and does last for that long, and only gets deeper with each passing year. I loved this idea on page 24:

“When we were in our early thirties, it occurred to me that one way to divide people we knew was that some of them were still dependent on their parents—financially or emotionally or some other way—and some of them had seen that role ended or even reversed. I never embarked on a study to see if that distinction was a predictor of how people handled what has to be handled to get through life—the small matters of logistics and maintenance that were known around our house as Administrative Caca, or serious issues of, say, catastrophic illness or financial disaster—but I suppose I always assumed that Alice’s early responsibility for her parents had something to do with her tendency to sit down and systematically deal with whatever problems came up.”

I obviously have never embarked on such a study, but for someone who began taking care of my mom at the age of twelve, I saw early on what it was like to have roles reversed. At twelve and sixteen respectively, my older sister and I were the mother to my mom at too young an age. When she passed, that role was then passed to my grandma who was in her nineties and needed more care than she let on.

I do think the shit life throws at you, as Trillium says the “Administrative Caca” (which is a new phrase I think I will adopt in my own vernacular), is telling to how we handle and manage our lives day-to-day. Maybe that is why I am a take-no-shit, deal-with-it-as-it comes kind of woman. I do not like things to fester. I like to deal with it and move on.

How do you divide? Have the roles reversed in your life?

Goodness and gratitude

I cannot help but be grateful on this Christmas Eve. There is so much to be grateful for in life. An amazing husband, job, home, the happiest of nieces, my family, friends, laughter, just so much. While I am stuck at home with this awful gunk that has been going around, and snuggled in bed or on the couch, I still feel such immense gratitude for all the good that is happening in my life.

Yesterday (and the day before that too) my sister Facetimed me so that hopefully Charlie and her playfulness and laughter would cheer me up from feeling so horrible. Charlie has recently found sneezing (and I just found out burping) to be funny. Mind you she has a sense of humor because she is 10 months old today. To add to the sneezing and burping, my horrendous cough was making her giggle. Multiple times throughout our chat I would cough (you know the deep, uncomfortable kind that hurts) and she would giggle. While not fun to cough, it was fun to see her laugh and giggle. See goodness while feeling like shit.

Chris has been taking good care of me. He ran a few errands for me yesterday that should have taken an hour, and due to the holiday hell out, it took 3 hours. A good friend came to visit and we hung out for a few hours. I feel loved. While it will be just Chris and I for Christmas Day this year, and we have no idea how we are going to spend the day, I am actually looking forward to the quiet, no obligations to anyone, no plan, and selfishly to sleep in and be lazy together. And…hopefully to be done with this bug. Goodness and gratitude.

What are you grateful for on this Christmas Eve? Will you be with your family or friends? Flying solo? Regardless of where you are, what is good in your life and what are you grateful for today?

WDWDWF (What Did We Do Without Facebook)

During these weeks that fly by with such crazy speed, I find it harder and harder to keep up with life, emotions, and the state of the world. I have not watched the news in months. I stay connected with morsels of information from Chris, whatever pops up in my Facebook feed, and the few moments I am at my desk at work with glances to see what is happening on CNN on the television in our area. Not too connected you might say?

Well, Facebook always tells me when a famous person dies, with friend’s status updates stating: “RIP, ________.” Or if there has been a plane crash, weather disaster, or incident in the world, my Facebook feed might say: “You are in my thoughts, ________.” I even know what job, home, or city my friends would be suited for based on the quiz they just took and shared. Or what level of Candy Crush they just completed. And, worst of all, whatever product I just searched for on Google, will now show up in my Facebook feed as a “Suggested Post.” So the news just follows me, I rarely have to go find it.

I almost forgot, I started following the No Poo group on Facebook, and now every other post is about someone who has failed or succeeded at removing toxic shampoos and conditioners from their personal care routine. Don’t get me wrong I have learned tons of new insights, but it is a lot of information and crazy amounts of people chattering on my Facebook feed. How to dye hair and stay “no poo”, how to get rid of frizzy hair and not use toxic product, how to start out on low poo, or mothers that have never washed their kid’s hair. I can only imagine what other “groups” discuss and at what frequency. It is like Dear Abby on steroids on every topic imaginable.

At the end of the day, some of it is worthless, some of it is so-so news, and some of it is just hilarious. WDWDWF? (What Did We Do Without Facebook)? We sent more texts, emails, and picked up the phone and talked to each other. Go figure. Before that we wrote letters (yes, I miss the lost art of letter writing). These days the only items I get in the mail are junk and bills. An occasional letter, yes, but that is the exception.

In any case, I am grateful that it is Friday as I look forward to a few extra hours of sleep tomorrow, time to catch up on emails, clean my house, run some errands and eventually curl up with a good book. Not too much to ask right? Oh, and I will probably take a few moments to peruse the mindless chatter on Facebook. Either it will be a waste of my time, or I will laugh, share, and like what you have bestowed on my feed.