Sleep and Time Management

Back in Cyprus, during my conversation with the local organizer, I told him I had one complaint about the hotel – the fitness center opens at 8 AM. He looked at me with amazement and asked: and when do you go to workout? I shrugged: at 5 AM. He looks at me inquiringly: when do you sleep? And since I hesitated for a moment, he continued: or are one of those people who do not want to waste time on sleep because there are better things to do?… I nodded: precisely! He continued: oh, I know! I once had a girlfriend like this; I couldn’t stay long with her, I need my sleep! We broke up!

Mind you, that conversation was happening next to Boris and before this gentleman said that my husband is lucky:)

Nevertheless, one resolution I made when in Cyprus was to get my sleep back. First, for a very long time, I was sleeping 4 – 4.5 hours a day, and that was way too little even for me. Second, while monitoring my sleep when I did not need to be ready by a specific time, I figured out that my natural sleep need had shifted a little bit. Instead of the previous 5 – 5.5 hours, I now need 5.5-6 hours. And trust me, this is not a fictional difference. 

Since I still want to be up at 4-30, because it fits my schedule better, I resent my evening alarm to 10 PM, which means I am up from my computer at 10 PM, no matter what. The maximum delay is to finish a paragraph. Since I still may need to get my tomorrow’s lunch and/or breakfast ready and to get prepared to sleep in general, that means I am in bed between 10-30 and 11, not close to midnight or past midnight, as it used to be in November – mid-January. So far, ten days after I returned from Cyprus, it really works. 

That’s to the fact, that a New Year resolution does not have to be attached to January 1 

Life is Still Crazy

This week was even worse than previous. Although I work through most of the weekend, I didn’t have enough time to prepare for all of the training I wanted to run this week in the office. Thereby I constrained myself to not doing anything, except necessities, and spend each and a single minute I had “extra” on the training development. 

I didn’t help much (maybe partially because, in reality, I was doing something extra, like going to the performance of Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra on Tuesday). So now, at 11:15 PM, I have a little bit more than half of tomorrow’s training ready. I’ve already booked 2.5 hours tomorrow morning to complete it, but I am ashamed of myself. 

Still, today after work as was at the Open Door Shelter. Last week, a group of youth from the Open Door Shelter had a field trip to the Christkindle Market, and I asked to message me when they will be close – my work is just a block away. We had a really great time at the market. One of the girls mentioned how much she loves German potato pancakes, and I told her we can make them next time. 

Today was the next time:), and we peeled and grated 10 lb of potatoes, and made beautiful potato pancakes. And I had truly amazing conversations with some of the youth. And when I was walking out of the shelter, thinking about these conversations and smiling, I felt that this is something I can never let to disappear from my life… 

I feel Proud of Myself Today:)

Recently most of my days are very intense, and I continuously feel that I am completing only about half of the tasks I need to complete. But today, it was even worse. 

I worked from home (which I do not like that much these days) because I had myl physical in the afternoon. I’ve started my workday earlier, at 7-30, hoping to be mostly done by 2-15, when I had to leave for the doctor. I had a long work to-do list, not mentioning my still-in-progress training. 

And I ended up doing zero in course of these seven hours. Absolutely nothing productive. OK, I’ve reviewed two commits. I’ve dialed in three meetings, but just about 20 minutes total of them were somewhat productive. 

Several people were reaching out with the questions, which took harder to get resolved from home. And when you have twenty minutes in between things, it’s nothing you can do. 

I was mad. And I thought that nothing could make me feel better. And guess what I did then. “Then” – after I went to the doctor, went to my Mom, and finally got home. 

There was one thing which was on my to-do list for several weeks, and I was keeping postponing it and avoiding it. There were several forms which I needed to download from the Russian consulate website and help Anna and Vlad to fill them in. I was saying for weeks that I didn’t have time, but in reality, I was pushing this activity back. 

So when I came home, under the motto that I am late with everything anyway – I did it! And I felt soooo good about doing it, that suddenly the whole day didn’t feel like wasted!

Six Hours Short

Last weekend, I measured exactly how much time I needed to complete all the tasks on my list. I was six hours short. And it’s not anything “nice to have,” which could be postponed for the next weekend. All those were the tasks with deadlines; there were reasons why they should have been completed before today. Unfortunately, I am also 100% booked during the workday today, and I am entertaining important guests of the Postres community after work. Thereby, I do not even have my usual extra two to three “grace” hours on Monday to complete unfinished weekend tasks.

That’s what you get for taking too much on you:). And if I even had any slack time past weekend, it would be no more than an hour. And I do not include in these six hours a couple of my family history post I planned to write.

Just too much of life is going on 🙂

How I Reorganized My Life

It has been a week since I’ve returned from my trip to Helsinki, and I made some positive improvements in my life this week. I can’t tell for sure why these changes would be connected to my trip to Helsinki, but I think they are. Most likely, the reason is that as it usually happens, such trips allow me to look at my life from a distance, to judge better, what’s a real source of stress, and how I can deal with it.

One positive change I made was getting back to my 5 – 5.5 hours of sleep per night. That had been my norm for many years, and I know that even half and how less affects my productivity. However, for about three weeks before ai left for my trip, I would sleep only four hours or less a night, including the weekends. I was telling myself that I do not have an option since I have so much work every day. But the reality was that I could not be productive. So for the whole this week, I’ve followed a simple rule: when my “time to go to bed” rings, I would stop whatever I am doing (maybe finish a sentence or a paragraph first) and proceed with all my before bed to-do list. That helped a big deal because I would wake up at my normal 4-30, not tired, and was way more productive during the day.

The second thing might be questionable for many people but works perfectly for me. I m always saying that my work-life balance is such that my work is my life :). However, for several weeks before my trip, I felt like I can’t do anything besides work if there is still some work to do, and this would last forever. I didn’t like it because it would take away other vital parts of my life, but I didn’t know how to break the cycle.
So what I finally decided was that I switched to one “master” to-do list. I think I am enough big girl to judge how important are different things in my life relative to each other, and I know how to prioritize. And if I feel OK doing some work stuff at 10 PM, because it is important, I should also feel OK to do some non-work stuff at 1 PM, if this is the right time, and the task is high enough in my priority list.

That was a life-changing decision. This week felt like no other. As I like to say, nobody gives me more than 24 hours a day, but I felt like I’ve accomplished a lot this week, and didn’t leave any essential tasks behind.

This Week Started Crazy and Ended the Same Way

It was an incredibly intense week. Each day at work was packed with meetings from 9 to 5, some days covering the lunchtime as well. The two days which I worked from home were even more intense, with my and Mom’s doctors’ appointments and the same amount of work which had to be done.

All my time was work because when you have meetings all day long, you need some time to do the actual work. Oh, and on the top of it I was dealing with the consequences of the loss of my Jumpcloud password, and subsequent reset of my Apple ID, all passwords on the computer, and finally – a disappearance of “My Documents”…

Continue reading “This Week Started Crazy and Ended the Same Way”

Time Management and What’s Not

Recently I’ve been telling everybody that I am busier than ever. And everybody is asking, why, and what I am doing, and why I can’t delegate stuff to other people.

My friends who followed my previous blog are used to my “timing” posts with a detailed description of my day. It’s time to look at what has changed for the past several months.

Yesterday was a very typical day of mine as they recently are. Got up at my usual 4-45 and went to a gym for a relatively quick (45 min) workout.

Audiobook during a 5 minutes walk to the gym, emails, Instagram and Chicago Tribune on iPad while on elliptical, audiobook on the way back.  

WBEZ morning news on the iPhone while in the shower and putting the makeup on. 

Continue reading “Time Management and What’s Not”

An Interesting Week So Far…

Same as “matter does not disappear” one can say that “time does not appear” from thin air. We all have 24 hours any given day, weekday, or weekend, and nobody gives us more than that.

That’s about my wonderful micro-vacation last weekend.
I had a great time in Ann Arbor, but not being at home for a weekend meant that I didn’t do anything around the house and that I didn’t catch up on work, which I also do on weekends.

So since Monday afternoon when I returned, all this bites back :). I am not even trying to separate work and not work, primarily because lots of my activities do not fit in either of the categories. I had tons of emails to reply related to the conference where I am on the talk selection committee, to the September and October meetups, regarding all my volunteering activities, and what’s not.

I hope it will be better next week!

Not My Usual Day, Not My Usual Mood

I am mad about yesterday, and this week in general so here is an unlikely rant of mine. This week Vlad is in Finland, ridiculously precisely at the time when Boris is not. Vlad is flooding his Instagram with the videos of Finnish forests, mushrooms, rowanberries, moonshine, and salmon smoked on the plank.

At the same time, Boris is in Croatia, participating in a workshop which I believe just being an excuse for spending time on the beach :). He is sending me panoramic views of the harbor, the Medieval town and the mountains.

And I did not manage to go to any of four conferences I could go to in late August – September; work is being crazy, and Mom has been difficult. And yesterday I’ve canceled my after-work activity to make sure I am done with one extremely important thing at work and managed to mess up and spent all this time fixing without advancing any further. And on to of that my trainer canceled today’s morning session. 

That’s the day you need to work hard on staying positive and not to yell at people 🙂

About My Stay in Madison

To cover the past two weeks: it was crazy at work. An interesting fact is that it was mostly good stuff. Good things were happening, and some decisions I’ve been waiting for for a long time were finally made and approved. But it was tiresome. When you need to sit at the meetings for 6 to 7 hours every day, and not just “sit,” but actively listen and participate, you are done by the end of the day — so done, as if you worked 16 hours straight.

There was also a lot happening outside work — things related to the December conference in Chicago, which I am heavily involved in. Boris and I were finalizing yet another paper submission. I was trying to make sure my direct report will present our work at another conference, which I am unable to attend. All stuff with my Mom. All things with my volunteering.

And then I took two days off and went to Madison to babysit my granddaughter Nadia. I can’t remember another moment in my life when I would gladly disconnect from my work email, Slack, etc. I checked what was going on a couple of times (literally!), but without any hesitation replied: this can wait till Tuesday.

It still took me some time to relax, but by midday Saturday, when I was leaving, I already felt pretty good.

I returned home to my long weekend to-do list, but I am keeping thinking about everything that happened during this visit, most about my conversations with Anna.
A couple of months ago, I started to write a post about Anna’s and my parenting styles, and then put it aside. I think now I will be able to finish it :).