Time. Time time time…

Time. Time time time time time! All of our discussions these days seem to be about time, and why is it that we seem to have so little of it. We have friends with kids and thriving careers; why do I consistently feel like I have no time to write? Why does Kevin feel...well, not the same, because he's doing his work, but he also wants more time for it. Without neglecting Kavi, or failing to enjoy her.

(Recent super-cute Kavi thing: We play peek-a-boo with her. I put my hands in front of my face, covering my eyes, and say, "Where's amma? Where's amma?" And she reaches forward and pulls my hands down and I say "There she is!" and we both laugh. And then Kavi pushes my hands up towards my face so I'll do it again. Which is cute in and of itself, but is not the super-cute thing. No, the super-cute thing is that a few days ago she started putting her hands in front of her face, so I would say, "Where's Kavi?" and play the game with her. Except that she completely fails to have the coordination to cover her face well, and so one hand ends up plastered over her forehead, and the other is balled up and jammed into her eye, and the remaining eye can clearly see me just fine -- but it doesn't matter, because she knows that she has symbolically covered her face, and therefore I can't see her. She's like an ostrich.)

Kevin was saying yesterday that we need to start cutting away the non-essentials, and become more efficient in our work. Which doesn't mean not relaxing, confusingly enough. Because we both need down time too. But it's about choices.

With an hour of free time in the evening, when you're too tired to do real work, do you choose to:

  1. watch a re-run of a mindless sit-com
  2. re-read a chapter of a Miles Vorkosigan book for literally the hundredth time
  3. take the baby and puppy for a walk, making them happy and getting in a little extra exercise?
  4. deal with some back-logged e-mails, the kind that are fairly mindless to answer
  5. read blogs
I want to start making those decisions based, at least a little, on how I'll feel after I do them. Lots of them feel good in the moment, but not so much when I'm done. From the list above, here are some general guidelines for myself (you need not agree for yourself!):
  1. sit-coms only while folding laundry (when I am trapped in the bedroom, and laundry is boring!)
  2. re-read bits of favorite books only while eating breakfast or lunch (eat dinner with Kevin/Kavi); it's pleasant to do then, and it's something I can pick up and put down again, whereas if I start reading something new then, I'll get frustrated if I can't keep reading it
  3. walks are excellent -- do at least once a day. Twice is better. Three times might even be justifiable.
  4. reducing my e-mail backlog makes me feel more sane; should do anytime I can make myself do it (except for dedicated writing time)
  5. here's a radical one -- I'm thinking of only allowing myself to read blogs in the evening. Eep. I'm not sure about this one, but I think right now I spend about an hour on the web every day -- and that's okay, if it's during low-key relaxing time. It's maybe not so good if it's during my high-functioning could-be-writing time. I've been trying to tell myself that reading blogs lets me ease into the day, and into writing, but I'm just not sure that's true. Scary to contemplate giving up my morning blogs (like giving up my morning tea!), but maybe I should try it. Just for a week. See how it goes.
7:30 update. Right after posting this entry, I watched a re-run of Mad About You. Sigh. I did super-glue two long-broken household items while watching, and brushed a week's worth of tangles out of my hair (ouch), so that's vaguely redeeming, right? Right?

2 thoughts on “Time. Time time time…”

  1. I thought this was an interesting post. I’ve noticed that you talk a lot about how you don’t have enough time to do what you say you really want to do, like your writing, but you have enough time to do the blogreading, t.v. watching, etc., that ultimately leaves you feeling less satisfied than the writing or walking might. Perhaps the housework issues wouldn’t make you feel as oppressed if you were able to rebalance how you spend your non-housework time. You don’t write about your partner spending hours and hours paying WoW and then saying he doesn’t have enough time for what he cares about. Is he better about/have an easier time managing his off-hours time?

  2. He also says he doesn’t have enough time to do his math (he’s getting the teaching/admin done just fine, as am I). The problem is that for both of us is that what we need is creative time, and we essentially need large blocks of it.

    I know some writers who can write in little ten-minute increments, but I’ve never been able to do good work that way — I need lots of time around the writing, so I can think things through. A two-hour block is pretty much a minimum, and even that feels too tight — 4-8 hours is much better. I think Kevin’s math works pretty much the same way.

    Also, my brain mostly shuts down by 4ish, so I can’t usually do good writing after that point, which is another limiting factor. Kevin can go later, but that’s mostly ’cause he gets up later. 🙂 And even he hits a point about 8-10 hours into the day when he isn’t able to work well on math anymore.

    But all that said, we probably both should give up some t.v. in exchange for long walks with the baby and dog. It’d make everyone feel better. Right now, I think we’re wathcing about 5-7 hrs of t.v. a week. It could be less.

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