Sarah: Last week I ran a marathon and juggled burning batons.
Not literally in my running shoes plus fuel and matches of course, but it felt just as massive.
I had taken on a huge writing job for a new client, and it coincided with the second week of school holidays during which I had previously scheduled multiple allied health appointments for me and my kids.
Looking back, I’m amazed it actually got done. With early wake-ups and late nights and very high levels of screens and ignoring healthy cooking and being cranky with my children and pet, somehow it happened. A typical day looked like this:
5.30am –> awake and sitting at computer
7.30am –> love and breakfast for kids
8am –> load of washing on, then walk dog
8.30am –> more work for me, kids play and fight and play
10am –> hang out washing, dash to dentist
12pm –> buy and eat sushi for lunch, play at the park on the way home
1pm –> more work for me, kids on screens
3pm –> yell at kids to get off screens and do something active, they walk dog
4pm –> hair appointments
5pm –> more work for me, kids on screens with intermittent yelling
6pm –> take kids and dog to the local oval for a run and kick of the ball
7pm –> OMG what is for dinner?
8pm –> more work (husband cleans kitchen, plays with kids, gets them into bed)
10pm –> yes, still working
11pm –> suppose I’d better sleep
Why do I do this to myself? Why not just say no to the client, or delay the work, or opt for a simpler life with more sleep and lower income?
I love being busy and am at my most efficient and effective when I have a lot on. But every now and again I wonder if this is not the best way to operate. Things would be a lot simpler if I got a fixed job, walked away from the house to a set office, used more Out of Hours School Care and babysitters, ate takeaway and threw the clothes in the drier every day.
But then yesterday — as I took a deep breath and hid in the laundry and actually found pairs of matching clean socks — I listened to Radio National’s Life Matters program. In this episode, guests of host Cassie McCullagh were Professor Ross Anderson and Associate Professor Susan Bartlett of McGill University in Montreal. Speaking on the risks of heart disease and joint problems, Professor Anderson said:
Individuals who sit for prolonged periods of time, without interruption, are at greater risk.
A lot of Australians commute to work passively, in a car.
Most of us sit behind a desk or at a computer for the entire morning, and in many cases we don’t get up to take a break.
We sit at the cafeteria eating lunch passively, and then we go back to work and back home in our cars.
This is not the way I work. I suppose that’s good.
I also wonder if I would be as efficient if I knew I had endless hours in each day to dedicate to my writing tasks. Even today, when deadlines are less pressing, I can feel myself drifting off, thinking too much, checking out clothing online, seeing what everyone’s up to on Facebook.
Snatched windows of time in-between physical tasks forces me to focus and deliver. And it helps me lose my inner smart-arse.
Now excuse me, the dog needs a run. And so do I.
PS. I’ve written previously about the need to sit less in several posts: Sitting and standing, Making a stand, and The walking meeting.
[image thanks to Ky: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ky_olsen/]