As some of you know by now, last summer I cashed out the bulk of my retirement funds and bought a historic farmhouse on the Blue Hill Peninsula in Maine.
I now own three houses, a barn, a pasture, a blueberry field, and 27.25 acres of land.
That’s 12 bedrooms, eight toilets, three kitchens, two septic tanks, a well, and several acres of lawn.
All of these things require care and maintenance. I have a calendar filled with names of people whom I’ve hired work on the place in some capacity. Because I don’t really have the money needed to swing a venture like this, I am the general contractor and all-around boss of everything. When I have a minute, I Google things like “organic blueberry cultivation,” “casement window restoration,” and “arsenic in ground water.” I’ve already had to fire a chimney sweep and angered the spokesperson for the local historical society.
To promote myself and my fledgling business, I am learning how to use social media. I made my first ever Facebook page, and I finally checked out a Twitter feed. Some things are starting to make sense, but on the whole the concept of connecting on virtual platforms is still painfully mysterious. Is it even worth mentioning that my 11-year-old has more followers on Instagram than I do in my four-year-old LinkedIn account?
And Your Point Is?
I have a lot to do. And I suck at time management.
All day long I’ve been alone. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. Because I was sick yesterday, I cancelled the meetings that would have taken a big bite out of the day.
What have I accomplished in that time? Not nearly enough, I’m afraid. I’ve written one 400 word blog post in its entirety, the first in a series of 25 that needs to be finished by next Saturday. I’ve written this post and part of yet another blog post for the VP of a high profile invoicing website. (This last piece is a tedious slog through 25 productivity apps that I will never bother to use myself because the word “app” still makes me panic just a little.)
I’ve talked to the woman who mows my lawn in Maine and the guy who mows my field and a woman who is going to get a commission for renting the houses next summer. I sent her pictures of the place, so she can run some comps and tell me what to rent them for.
I chatted with my best friend and a colleague from work.
I’ve taken a shower and unloaded the dishwasher and done a load of laundry and walked the dog. I posted on my work platform and checked The New York Times for developments on those horrific attacks in Paris. I went grocery shopping.
Compare that with what I have to do this coming week:
- Grade 30 literature essays.
- Write the aforementioned 24 blog posts.
- Prepare and teach my two classes.
- Tutor my regular nine hours.
- Be a mom to my hormonal tween.
- Attend a breakfast meeting with the other officers of my association.
- Go to an association meeting.
- Have a conference call with the head of a nonprofit in California about a possible writing gig.
It’s going to be one of those awful, awful weeks, and I have only myself to blame because I had plenty of time to write the long assignment. I’ve also had the papers a long time.
Here’s what I do. This, gentle readers, is my entire life strategy. Let me know if it sounds familiar.
- I procrastinate until it feels like there is a two ton boulder swinging above my head from a piece of twine.
- I have an existential crisis.
- I work like a maniac until everything is done.
There Has to Be a Better Way
I can’t live like this anymore. Earlier this semester, I took a training workshop that included a lot of corporate exercises and diagrams, most of which were kinda wowless.
I did like Steven Covey’s quadrant model for time management, though:
It’s like this. You are supposed to spend the bulk of your time in quadrant II, laying a foundation and working to achieve goals. The more time you invest prudently in the things that matter, the fewer crises you’ll have to manage. Staying out of quadrants III and IV, meanwhile, is just a matter of good sense and strong character and perhaps a little luck.
I spend way too much time in quadrants I, III, and IV. I put out fires, do pointless busywork, and lie on my sofa playing video games or watching episodes of Worst Cook in America with C.
I’m going to muscle through this week as best I can. Then I am going to start shifting more of my time into quadrant II activities. More on this in the next exciting installation of the Klatch.
So What Happened with Last Month’s Weight Loss Goal?
On the one hand, it was an epic fail. I could not bring myself to think mindfully about what I was eating. Panic-stricken, I shoveled down everything in sight.
Fortunately, a gastritis flare has nipped that madness in the bud. And something good has come of it as well. I am now back to exercising regularly. The last two weeks I’ve gone to the gym four times. I feel more positive now that I’m lifting weights again.
Hopefully I can make a dent in one of my stomach rolls as well.
More from Renaissance and Real Estate
- Self-Care Klatch: Unpacking My Attitude Toward Food
- Self-Care Klatch: I’m Tired of Carrying Around My Divorce Weight
- A Day in the Life of a Working (Single) Mother
- A Place of My Own: Reflections on My 55th Birthday
The cover image is a detail from Agnolo Bronzino’s portrait of Lucreziadi Cosino.