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.

Similarly

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

Thoughts

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" and...it 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

Better

 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

Slushy

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. 



Monday, February 22, 2021

Where is the joy?

I have't written because I honestly had nothing to say except the same old blah. I mentioned that we are struggling, and we are. We really are. I have reached some level of burnout with work and parenting and I really need a break, but I can't take one, so I just numb myself in (mentally & physically)) unhealthy ways just to be able to make it through another day. Truly stupid and time-wasting stuff like social media, games on my phone, online window-shopping (I haven't bought anything). Or my go-to of salty, crunchy snack food and wine.  I haven't even been able to read much lately, I can't get into the story. This makes me sad, because reading is usually my go-to source of pleasure.

Its been very cold---which is fine, but also cloudy---which is not. I need sunshine like a plant. We had some this weekend and it was such a mood boost! We've had more snow than we know what to do with---it was fun at first, but now just a hassle, and is timed just right to mess up my busiest clinic days, and now I'm having to scramble to add patients into days I had blocked off for deeper work.

There are some little things I enjoy---I've been making filling and healthy soups that I look forward to eating for lunch, we made it through the 8 weeks of Liift-4 and I feel stronger (we are starting over), and I've gotten pretty good at Mario Kart with our new evening routine of a quick pre-bedtime family game. But I'm tired of my "3 good things" journal having the same highlights every.single.day (except the days where I literally have nothing good to say...there are those days too).  

I did have the forethought to realize we had gotten into a rut of doing the same things every weekend (i.e. nothing), so I planned an outing last Saturday morning to a local arboretum, and lo and behold! Despite relentless grumbling all around, we all enjoyed it once we got there! So I need to keep planning new adventures. One weekend, G and I used the time the kids were on their screens to have a little mini-date afternoon, we sat and chatted and ate fancy cheese---it was really fun and a nice break. I'd love to do that more often, too. And I always feel better after some easy socializing with friends during a playdate, so again---need to make that happen. 

I got a new planner---the one I had was too small, and the paper was thin and smudgy. I realized I deserved nice tools for organizing my life, and bought a cheap but cute one with full size pages and beautiful thick paper. I spent some time this morning transferring the rest of this week's activities onto it, and I made sure to add a line for "weekend planning" on Wednesday. I guess its up to me to find the joy and make it happen. 




Friday, February 5, 2021

Friday Faves

Guys, every member of our family is struggling these days. Work, school, home, etc... its all hard.
So lets talk about some great things we've been watching & reading to unwind...

Adult TV Show: Ted Lasso on Apple TV. Seriously, watch this. Its amazing. Its funny but has, as they say, "a lot of heart". Very mature take on relationships of all kinds. I've watched the whole thing twice already. You can get a free week of Apple TV and finish the 10 30 min episodes in that time. Worst case scenario---you have to pay $5 for the month.

Family Show: Its so completely weird but we all love "Wanda Vision" on Disney plus. And they are releasing one episode per week so we actually have something to look forward to watching on Friday night! 

Books I've read: I've read several amazing ones this year so far. My faves: 
  •     Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. I LOVE her writing. This is a tough one, though.
  •     Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty (is she Leanne's sister? I think so?) More lighthearted, completely weird and unexpected. 
  •     The Most Fun We've Ever Had by Claire Lambordo Multi-decade family drama with varying points of view, all very insightful 
  •     The Antidote to Everything by Kimmery Martin. Ooh this one was a page-turner, and also covered some important issues, and I liked the focus on friendship. I didn't love the ending, but I'd still recommend it. 
Books I'm reading to the kids: Front Desk by Kelly Yang, and the sequel, Three Keys. Really fun book dealing with tough topics, written in the point of view of a 10 year old. My kids LOVED the first book and we are making our way through the sequel.

I also love that my 9 and 11 year old children still like to be read to every night. Its one of my favorite times, even though I'm usually exhausted, and getting them to actually get ready for bed is...a challenge. 

I hope you all are keeping on as best you can. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Progress

 Happy Inauguration Day!!!!

I had an all day leadership seminar that got cancelled, I feel like I got a gift of time so that I can catch up on work, watch the inauguration with the rest of my family, and just generally take a breath.

I didn't post about goals this year, because I didn't really make any. I just want to continue making progress on the things I'm working on, and keep up the good work on the things I've got under control.

Working on:

-Unplugging in the evening

-Not eating/drinking after dinner (its Pavlovian, if I sit down to watch ANYTHING after 9 pm, I feel the NEED for a drink or snack. I can avoid it by just going to bed, but sometimes I want to stay up!)

-Meditation habit 

Got down:

-Getting outside

-Exercising 

-Writing in 5-year journal (I had to buy a new one, cuz I started in 2016! There are some stretches I completely skipped for some years, but since 2020 I've been consistent)

Per my therapist, the only thing I need to work on is pausing, breathing, and being in the moment. I think a lot of the above is related to that general theme---being present, doing one thing at a time (i.e. watching a show and enjoying that without needing a snack), pausing and thinking before I react.

I feel like I have one big fatal flow---the frequent need to be distracted from my life---and if I could figure that out, I'd be golden. But of course it can't be that simple? 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Showing Up

I've had so many reminders this week that how I show up to things makes a huge difference in how it goes---for myself and others. Tough things tend to go better when I intentionally decide the energy I am bringing---kids' homework, difficult patients, team meetings, even early morning workouts. 

Its something I discussed with my therapist yesterday re: the kids' homework (omg, its killing us all, why why WHY do they have to get so much to do????) and with my leadership coach today re: team meetings (with many challenging personalities). 

I come into the homework every evening tired from the day and just wanting to be DONE and so I nag and push them to go faster and am constantly irritated that they aren't moving at MY pace. Yes, they do need some parental guidance and supervision to get it all done---they got very poor grades on their last report card--they definitely are not able to navigate it if left to themselves. I need to take a moment after the work day to change clothes, make a plan for the next day, have a snack if I'm hangry, and then leave behind any expectations or time pressure on how things are going to proceed. 

I rush into our weekly team meetings right after a half-day of patients, hungry, thirsty, frazzled and my hair and face a mess after wearing PPE. So I'm not ready to put on my "leader" hat, and I flounder and the meeting loses track. I need to take a few minutes to compose myself, fix my physical appearance, have some water and a snack, and go over the agenda. I may have to suggest pushing back the time a few minutes so I can do this, but I think we will finish earlier if I am more able to take charge. 

Its not a perfect answer---homework time will probably always suck, and people will go off-topic at meetings---but its the one thing I can actually control.  Now its just remembering to DO it, ha! 



Monday, January 11, 2021

The Good

Overall pretty blah weekend full of work and chores, and some bad news from extended family, but did have some highlights:

  • FIREPIT! We finally got the backyard firepit we ordered last fall, and had a great night roasting marshmallows and just sitting around, chatting. I suspect we'll be using it often, thankfully we found a wood delivery service that sells it much cheaper than the grocery store
  • Dumbbells. G and I are doing LIIFT4, which I LOVE, but limited by the fact that the heaviest weights we have are 15 pounds. We actually only have: 2, 8, 12, and 15 lb weights.  We've been searching for MONTHS, and I finally found some online and ordered 10, 20, 25, 30, and 35 lb sets. Hopefully they are shipped soon
  • Family run. We took over an hour to go 3 miles, what with all the stopping, playing, fighting, but I got a nice interval workout in, and lots of sun & togetherness
  • Reading: I finished the Penelopiad---how have a never read this before? Its hilarious and maddening, and a very short book.
  • Takeout night of Thai food. I am so happy my kids like this, and we have a fantastic place just 3 blocks away (though we are lazy and get it delivered usually)
Busy day, back to it. Hope ya'll are OK.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Surreal

 I...honestly I can't say I'm surprised (you start a fire, you expect things to burn), but I am horrified by recent events. I'm really not in the frame of mind to talk about my "process goals" so I'll put that off for a bit.

On the good news front: all I wanted for Christmas was my vaccine and the senate. And I got them in the span of 48 hours! I should maybe have been more specific...maybe "and please not an attempted coup"?

The kids continue to struggle mightily with virtual school, and we in turn have hopped back on the struggle bus of trying to keep track of their assignments and encourage them to do them, in the face of their rotten attitudes, back-talk, and general recalcitrance. 

I did/do feel a little refreshed on the work front. Everything isn't so dreadful and exhausting, so I know the break was much needed and helpful. I'm sure this feeling will wear off soon enough, but I'm riding with it, trying to keep on top of stuff and feel good about the work I'm doing. 

Anyways. Hoping to never have to talk about "unprecedented times" and "dark days in American history" in reference to the current day again.