Friday, February 17, 2017

The Sum of Its Parts

Sarah's post had me thinking...what's missing from my life? Do I want/need more time in a day? Honestly, I'm currently in a phase where I'm feeling OK with my allocation of time and energy and feeling positive about what I'm fitting into my life. Would I like more time? Sure! I regularly wish I needed less sleep, so I could spend more time with G, or read more, or get up early enough to meditate each morning. There are endless lists of things I'd love to do with an extra hour or two in each day.

But those hours aren't there, so I compromise. I read for a little while on weeknights before I go to bed, which means I'm not hanging out with G---so on weekends, I stay up later & put aside the book. I exercise 4 days a week, and sleep in the other days so I stay fit AND well rested. I have been leaving work 10 minutes later to fit in a short meditation before I pick up B and begin the evening routine (which is often the most stressful part of my day, so I need the zen!)

I've also been trying to take a bigger picture view of life. Its not about what I do or don't do in any given day or week. Maybe today I didn't work out or meditate and spent too many minutes on my phone. This past week I haven't read or spend one on one time with anyone in my family. I may think I'm failing at my explicitly stated goals. But take a step back and look wider and the perspective is much different---this MONTH I've mediated 90% of days, had 3 one on one dates with each kid AND my husband, read 2 amazing books, and exercised 12 times.

I've actually been using the "monthly" page on my planner to visualize this better. I put in entries for events/plans to make sure we have overall the right amount of activities and white space, and I went back and color coded days I worked out/meditated/etc... so I can see the picture as a whole and assess more accurately how I'm meeting my personal goals.  I want to figure out a similar strategy for looking at my work progress---not just what I crossed off my list each day, but at the end of the month, how many hours did I spend on major projects vs. minor tasks, what % of time was truly on research vs. clinical vs. administrative (this is super important because it should be in line with my job description and if not I need to discuss with my chief).

I think a lot of us are perfectionists, and high achievers to boot. We want to use every minute wisely and cram as much into each day as we can. Its hard to let that go.  I have to remind myself that my life goals are NOT to be productive every minute but to do meaningful work that makes the world better and make my family and friends feel loved and be as healthy and present as I can so that I can do those things.


  1. So many of us (in this Internet community) ARE perfectionists. We wouldn't be here musing if we weren't constantly trying to think about how to make our lives better. But I think it's important to remember sometimes that the very act of doing that is already a step in the right direction. As long as we keep trying, we do keep improving. Then we don't need to beat ourselves up for not being perfect.

  2. This post is so LV of you. She would be proud. ;)

    It is important to see our lives by the week or month or year or years, or maybe even decades (for profession/creative endeavors).

    I feel like I'm still trying to figure out what I want my life to look like, identifying what is satisfying and what is just stressful, what brings me joy and fulfillment and what ends up missing the mark. I'm still not really there yet, but I'm more mindful about how I feel after things. Hopefully soon I'll know myself well enough to make choices that reflect what really makes me feel content. We'all see.

    In the meantime, I'll keep copying plays out of your book. ;)

  3. The monthly angle is a good one... I could be more aware of that larger architecture of my time, esp. as I feel like I've lost many days lately! Always appreciate your thoughts on these matters.

  4. I've been feeling similar. I'm an adult with a job I like, I'm supposed to feel tired at the end of the week. When my work hours creep closer to 80 I feel like I'm drowning, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with my balance. I think it's natural and healthy to want to do more than we have time for.

  5. Well shoot, my phone just ate my comment. Here from Mel's round up. Great post and a really interesting perspective. I think I might need to try this myself especially now that I really need to be doing research around the baby. Thank you for making me think this morning!