Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Work Related

 Some things I've been struggling with lately:

Management vs. Leadership. This concept is new to me and very eye-opening. I spend a LOT of time on "management" of my program---handling day to day issues, schedules, staffing, increasing patient volume. I spend little to no time on "big picture thinking"---i.e. articulating the long term goals for the clinic. Things like research ideas and collaborations, optimal care models, enhancing our education strategies, etc...

And that is what really counts. When people look at my performance as a leader, they will not see the fires I put out, or the optimization of schedules & fill rates. They will look at the research output, the novel care models, the recognition from trainees.


Deep Work. I have been time-block planning before I knew it was a thing, and it used to work pretty well, but lately my "blocks" for writing/research are being consistently encroached upon, and I have a lot less of them overall given my clinical work & meetings related to the admin role. Its all about hyperactive hive mind here (Cal Newport's term)---checking emails or EMR and reacting. I actually lost a 2hour block of writing time yesterday morning and tracked what I did in that time. Its boring but it was related to rotation schedules for student, editorial role for a journal, scheduling meetings, and patient messages. Those things didn't take up the WHOLE time, but the constant task switching made it impossible to actually make progress. 

Other things that take up my deep work blocks: appointments for myself or kids (they can't happen during patient care so...) and other similar "homing from work" activities. And then...general laziness/distraction. If 85% of my week is taken for, my brain sometimes sees this time as a break. 

I know discipline is the answer---discipline to not schedule things, check email or EMR, and just DO the thing I'm supposed to do without wasting time. 

I'm also still working on the "showing up" part. 

Damn this year has been hard.

Just writing this out was motivating. I need to do better here. 

Monday, April 12, 2021


Spring break was wonderful. I had not completely disconnecting from work for a whole week (no email, EMR) for YEARS (since I got a phone with email on it, basically). Honestly what we did doesn't matter,  it was just the feeling of freedom and ability to think only of myself & my family that was refreshing. 

We did have a great time though. We hikes & biked, played a lot of board games, read, and even watched TV the one rainy day (Great British Bake Off and Gravity Falls---which is actually pretty good!) There was obviously whining and fighting and the dog got into the trash and made a mess TWICE (we did not learn from our mistake) and also ran right into a icy creek and scared the crap out of us all (she has NEVER swam in her 15 years of life), but everyone survived. 

I've been feeling very anxious the past few days, and it took me a while to figure out that I'm a little nervous to be letting go of our cozy pandemic life. We are planning for the summer, and going to visit family and ugh. Obligations and stress. Logistics and calendars and flights. Back to school, camps, more activities, etc... Its all good. IT IS. But its also a huge mental load that I didn't have for a whole year and realized HOW FREEING it is. The kids are home all day with G, no travel except for camping trips, and there was nothing to figure out. 

The kids have finally gotten into a groove with virtual school---report card conference last week was a complete 180 from the last quarter . We've gotten used to unstructured evenings and weekends---planning things like park playdates & hikes at the last minute based on how we feel. Now we have soccer and running club to work around and its...different. We were all relieved that running was rained out yesterday even though it was the only thing on our agenda. 

There are definitely things I'm excited about, but along with that excitement is a bit of wistfulness. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Random Things on a Friday

Yesterday we heard that they are planning hybrid (2-days a week) for 3rd-5th graders beginning late April. We are all very (but cautiously!) optimistic, since K-2 has been going well for a few weeks now. 

So I mentioned I bought a new planner after the Wonderland222 didn't quite meet my needs---the other one didn't either. I am very picky and want specific things and I'm having a really hard time finding it! I need some planner matchmaking help. Calling SHU

I am off next week, for the kids' spring break. We are staying heading to some mountains and staying in a "deluxe" (heated, with bathroom) cabin for 4 nights. We can hike and play games and read books and basically anything besides work. I do NOT want to work.

My phone broke and I got a loaner for work, and I've added minimal things to it (just adding things as I need them) Plus it uses touchID which...omg is so much better than faceID when you are always wearing a mask. I am getting a brand new phone sometime soonish so I hope I can keep things minimal longterm. 

Reading "Ready Player Two" took me a long time to get into it. And I'm not sure what I think about it so far. Some of it is hilariously awful. But on the other hand, I keep going back for it and have raced through most of the 2nd third, so it must be captivating? 

I am getting really tired of LIIFT4. We just finished week 5, our 2nd time through (without a break in between). The workouts are long, and I truly want to die sometimes. Today we did legs, and had the full weight session, then HIIT, then abs and I was so freaking tired, but had my whole entire day to still get through! 

Random enough? 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Family Weekend

I'm spending some time this morning tying up loose ends from Friday and planning for the week because I left work early Friday to drive the boys and I down to visit my family! We saw my parents and my sister & BIL (and the cousins of course) and it was really really nice. 

My parents moved in January to live near my sister, so now they are a very manageable weekend trip (instead of two flights or one flight + long car ride) away. COVID and winter kept us away until now, but all adults (except my sister) have been vaccinated so we deemed it safe. G stayed home for some much much needed alone time (and dog care, since she wasn't allowed to come, and we couldn't find a sitter).

We ate (a lot), went a little nuts shopping at the Indian store (I have NEVER seen such a big store, SO MANY varieties of snacks and sauces and spice mixes!), played games (the adults played "Ticket To Ride" and I had so much fun I ordered it for us), and ate some more. The kids played a boatload of video games, but also made a Lego "restaurant" and served us food, played board games, and ran around at the park. It was lovely.

Doing the trip alone was liberating for me---I've never driven long distances myself with the kids--and everyone was all "YOU? YOU'RE driving? Are you SURE?". But obviously it was fine, I even managed to navigate a puking situation, terrible traffic, and the usual fighting. 

We listened to "The House in the Cerulean Sea" in the car and the kids are obsessed. Even after getting home yesterday, we hung out in the back yard and listened some more. Then we played a long ass game of Monopoly, ordered burritos and ate them around the fire pit, and the boys watched some TV while I continued to sit by the fire pit with my wine.

It was a very good weekend. Really really needed some fun, with no work or chores mixed in. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Three Times

I'm starting to see some (faint) light at the end of this tunnel. Our school has opened its doors (not for my kids, but the younger ones), and the playground is open after hours for all kids. The NYT graphic on how many have received their first vaccine goes up each day. Its just feeling like we have finally, finally, turned a corner. Not in the home stretch yet, but...a little bit closer. 

So...lets talk about Goals/Habits. I'm doing great with exercising, though getting bored now on the second time through of Liift4 & may start doing more running instead. I'm reading, I'm getting outside, meal planning & cooking and doing a tiny bit better at not putting off annoying but not major stuff at work. 

One thing COMPLETELY fell off my radar--meditation. I'd been doing 10 minutes of Calm almost every day last fall and then I just...stopped. I realized that Liift 4 takes longer than the 21-day-fix workouts so I lost the time I had set aside for meditating. Since I do it with G, and its hard enough for him to get up as it is, I am reluctant to suggest doing it earlier. 

I do want to restart this---it makes me feel a little less crazed--so I'm going to go with Laura's "Three Times a Week is a Habit" rule and will do it on 3 days that I have a later start in the morning, and see how that feels. While I do like to a see a streak in the app, I remind myself that 3 times is better than zero times, and it DEFINITELY feels less daunting. 

Will report back. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021


 Ha! What a rant. I was super cranky last week, just some annoying things piling up, the "pebbles in your shoe" type thing that you live with until you can't. I went home, had take-out and wine, and went to bed and felt 100% better in the morning. And I spent a couple of hours catching up and planning on Sunday & didn't even have that "Sunday scaries" feeling that I've been getting for a few weeks. 

I did a LOT less cooking last weekend and a lot more ignoring my kids. Got some social time, when L's friend and his mom came over for a play date---we all sat by the fire pit outside while the boys played Nintendo and the mom & I drank wine and chatted. IT WAS SO SO NICE to have adult conversation! I also finished my book & started a new one (which I've since finished), so I'm out of my reading slump. 

This week has been much better, even though I've had more clinics/meetings. Honestly, I do love my job. Its challenging but very rewarding, and I love that I get to do so many different things---clinical, administrative, research, teaching/mentoring.  Though it does take a lot of mental energy and planning to keep all the balls in the air, and I notice I need more down time these days.

I haven't planned anything concretely for this weekend, but have a vague idea of going for a hike Saturday, another fire pit play date (different kid and parents!), and playing a very long game of star wars monopoly (the kids have been obsessed with playing this, but we can't ever finish a game because we just don't have enough time on the week days). I'm also going to go to an in-person indoors barre class (!!) at my old studio---they are doing a trial run with a handful of vaccinated clients (and a vaccinated teacher), 6 feet apart the whole time, bringing your own equipment, with temp checks and masks. I'm mostly doing it to support them because they are a great neighborhood biz and contribute a lot to the community. But also, it seems fun.

Its a constant give and take of me recognizing what I need to feel happy sane, and finding the time/energy to do it in the midst of the usual work/parenting/life stuff, but I need to remind myself of how horrible I feel when I let things slide (sleep, alone time, reading,  planning, delegating, talking to colleagues/friends to vent, and effectively complaining when its necessary instead of just "sucking it up" and letting it fester) so I'll keep that rant up (I was so ready to delete it when I woke up and felt better!)

I need to go tell B to stop bouncing his ball so freakin' loud on the stairs. He's supposed to be in school!

Friday, February 26, 2021


Its been sunny and much warmer---the snow is melting away, leaving mud and slush behind. Thankfully I was able to get outside yesterday to soak up some rays, because its going to rain ALL WEEKEND. 

I tried to make weekend plans---but the weather made it really hard and I gave up. So we have nothing scheduled, as usual. I can't even plan a run with a friend. G is being cagey about planning some time to hangout this weekend, he has a list of projects around the house to do and he is cagey about making plans in general. I guess I'll do chores and try to entertain the kids while he does his projects. 

I worked hard to stay present and engaged with everyone this week. It absolutely made the evening go better, and helped me feel more connected. But I'm still tired of the same old thing every single f-ing day, weekday/weekend, fall/winter/spring. I'm tired of the same old &*(&* at work too. That realization that in outpatient medicine, its the squeaky wheel (with the most time/savvy/resources to ask and ask and ask and demand and complain) that gets the attention, not those that are most needing or deserving it. I'm tired of my kids complaining about school, and homework, and asking for junk food and dessert and video games all the damn time. And they are constantly hungry! I'm cooking and making snacks constantly and I AM TIRED OF IT. 

I won't even go into the cluster*^$# with our school district. I will regret whatever I say. Or the extended family annoyances, but UGH. Haha should I mention the absolute bull#*%((#^$ that was our "division retreat" to foster "engagement" and "communication". My head nearly exploded from rage. Yes, lets make things easier for EVERY SINGLE PERSON except us, because we will always do what needs to be done for the patients, we don't have it in us to let things go, so sure, I can take on everyone else's jobs. No problem. 

I think its the one year anniversary of this shit coming up, and remembering how naive I was, how "its only 2 weeks!". OMG. On the other hand, I'm glad I didn't know what to expect because how can you possibly go on knowing there is no end in sight?

Sorry for the rant. Only 2 hours until I go home, pour some wine, and lock myself away for an hour.