Thursday, October 19, 2017

Time Tracking! Any tips?

I am always amazed when I hear Laura discuss her time tracking.  She's been at it for over TWO YEARS!  And then Siobhan discussed it on yesterday's podcast episode as something she loves, so I am doubly inspired.  I imagine it might be valuable from a few different angles:

1) an enhanced awareness of time as it is actually happening

2) the ability look back and see our lives more objectively than we otherwise would

3) data analysis that might allow us to come up with new/creative solutions for time dilemmas

I've tried to do it so many times, but am terrible at it.  I'm absolutely a tracker/recorder/cataloguer* at heart, so this is always surprising to me.  But then the days slip away again and I'm back at square one.

I may just have to accept this.  It's not like documenting one's time is essential for a successful or happy life.  But I'd love to do it temporarily to gain some of the insights noted above, and absolutely see how it might be helpful once I have a newborn (and have to come to terms with a whole new array of challenges!).

So, for the past few days, I've been doing it the old fashioned way -- yep, paper.  I don't really want another app to fiddle with on my phone.  Perhaps I could just use paper and then put some things that I want to pay attention to (sleep, exercise, time with kids, time at work, etc) into Excel for analysis?

If anyone has successfully done this for longer than 3 days (which is about my current record), I'd love to hear tips and whether it was helpful -- or not!

* Things I track in some fashion: books I read, how I'm eating, clinical productivity, concerts/shows attended, new restaurants we try, finances (every expenditure).  Also workouts when I am training for something!  But time eludes me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

new podcast episode, work thoughts, blank space & more


Episode #11 will go up this morning -- and it might be my favorite so far!  It's our first episode featuring a guest -- and a very very special one at that.  Siobhan is a brilliant genetics professor and mother of two, and also my treasured friend from our time in NC.  We met at a local run club meetup, and sealed our friendship over the coming years with many miles run together.  

Our lives have both definitely changed since then, including moves to opposite coasts.  When I searched the blog for pictures of us, all I could find were shots taken when one of us was extremely pregnant (2009 it was her; 2012 me!).  Still, every time we chat it remains clear that we are the same old type A running nerds that clocked miles over the Tobacco Trail over a decade ago in NC.  We have kept in touch, but I definitely miss the days of seeing/hearing from her all the time.  Visit soon please, Siobhan!

Anyway, in this episode. we talk (as usual) careers, family, and logistics; we also get into fitness, travel (S's travel schedule is amazing!), and intentionality.  She even motivated me to try to start tracking my time again -- something I am interestingly terrible at, despite previous efforts.

If you haven't listened yet and were wondering where to start, I highly recommend this episode!  We will definitely do more 'guest spots' in the future, interspersed with our regular style.   And feel free to leave any comments/thoughts on this blog, Laura's blog, or the show's Instagram!

In other news:

Work musings
I'm on call.  But more than halfway through the week (yay!).  Despite the fact that I am really trying to stay away from the countdown mindset when it comes to this pregnancy, I cannot help but note that I have 14 total days of call until March.  Counting today!  This sounds like a lot, actually, but at least it's finite.  

As we get closer to launching our new residency program (we have started interviews! it's very exciting!), I have done more thinking about the nature of my job, and learning, and balancing both long and short-term responsibilities and goals.  

In short:  it's not easy.  I found OMDG's recent post thought-provoking -- she notes that when she first started training, she thought her attendings knew it all . . . and is now figuring out that everyone has deficits, some more gaping than others.  She is thoughtful about which gaps she wants to makes sure are filled for herself, and sounds like she is going to be an excellent anesthesiologist.  

I find myself wanting to have more blank space time at work for keeping up with the latest research, developing my own projects, and the like . . . but it is SO hard to protect that time, and admittedly even harder because I am not willing to work as many hours/week as some others.  I am actually incredibly excited that our residency program will force additional study to some extent (preparing to teach = learning!).   However, despite my own gaps, I think that I have developed the following (important) skills:

- ability to critically read research studies (though my stats knowledge could definitely improve significantly)
- ability to prioritize and to understand when I can be super-efficient and when I just need to take time with something
- understanding of 'the system' and how to get things done 
- a fairly deep understanding of the common things I see (growth, diabetes, puberty, etc) and a good sense of how to explain these topics to patients

Do I know everything?  HELL NO.  Do I wish I could cloister myself away for several weeks and study the latest?  Kind of.  Do I think I'm doing an overall good job?  Yes.  Thank you OMDG for helping me do this self-evaluation.

Blank Space
On (ironically, perhaps) the Day Designer Instagram:

Love this.  Simple and gets the day started off in the right way for me.  Well said, Day Designer Team.

Music Mondays
Yesterday I listened to St. Vincent's new album MASSEDUCTION on my commute.  Love it.  I am settling into a new rhythm of music in the mornings and podcasts in the afternoons.  This balance seems to suit me and gives me a bit more mind-wandering time, which I really like.  

not the most fam-friendly album cover (or lyrics) but . . . I think it's really well done!

Last but not least . . .

Pregnancy week #32
(all runs treadmill.  I am not running outside until it's under 75 degrees which at this rate may never actually happen.)

M - 6 min run (5 mph) / 2 min walk (3 mph) x 5 - 3.2 mi total

T - rest

W - 5 min run (5 mph) / 2 min walk (3 mph) x 5 - 2.8 mi total

R - rest

F - 8 min run (5 mph) / 2 min walk (3 mph) x 3.5 - 3 mi total

S - rest

S - more rest.  (it was a rough weekend!)

Going to attempt some barre3 now after quite a hiatus.  Definitely a prenatal one though!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Various Thoughts & Updates

Podcast Corner

* Best of Both Worlds now has its own Instagram.  Find us here!  I am not always good at publishing a weekly roundup post on the blog (though Laura has definitely picked up the slack on that!) but figured I'd want to do an 'announcement' with each new episode and create another space to add comments, suggestions, etc.

I will also share pix if they are relevant to an episode!

* The next 3 episodes are probably my 3 favorites so far!  Next week (#11) will features our first guest -- who happens to be one of my favorite people -- and then #12 is on TECH (inspired by Manoush Z. and my blog post) and #13 is on keeping joy in your life as a parent of young toddlers (i.e. not the easiest time).   Stay tuned!

Apparently it's fall.
Does it actually feel like fall anywhere?  With the series of natural disasters that have occurred (and are still occurring - my thoughts are with you, beautiful California!) I hope that someone out there is enjoying crisp mornings and colorful leaves.

Here, well . . .

Just wow.
(Although to be fair that particular source waaaaay overpredicts thunderstorms for this area -- I think the graphic is displayed even with a 'chance' which is essentially present all of the time in the summer/fall.)

I will be honest -- when I first moved here, I was so excited to ditch winter.  I hate being cold -- it's true.  But the longer I've been away from fresh cool non humid air -- the more I've been missing it.  Social media is NOT helping in this regard -- seeing all of you picking apples and wearing boots and such.  Eat something pumpkin for me . . .

More tech musings
Your follow-up comments continued to roll in throughout the week -- thank you!  It seems like the role of tech/our phones is definitely having a cultural moment right now, and I'm (clearly) fascinated by the topic.  

One reader posted a link to Nick Carr's WSJ article from last week: you can through twitter to read for free (otherwise it's behind a paywall).  One highlight (and backed by studies mentioned in the article):
"Smartphones have become so entangled with our existence that, even when we’re not peering or pawing at them, they tug at our attention, diverting precious cognitive resources. Just suppressing the desire to check our phone, which we do routinely and subconsciously throughout the day, can debilitate our thinking. The fact that most of us now habitually keep our phones “nearby and in sight,” the researchers noted, only magnifies the mental toll." 
I feel this.  I really do.  Maybe this isn't true for everyone, but it is for me.  I feel it, and have come to hate that little attention tug.  I also see parallels between my need to be very complete in my planning/task management systems (to get swirling thoughts about to-do items out of my mind a la David Allen's Getting Things Done) and the need to get the notifications and digital distractions down to a manageable minimum.

Things I am going to keep working on:
* Incorporating more blank space/thinking time into my life.  One concrete way of doing this for me is to not listen to one of my beloved podcasts on my morning commute (at least for 2-3 days/week) but instead to put on music and keep my phone in my bag.  Yesterday morning I did this with Andrew Bird's Echolocations: River which is filmed by an actual river and is entirely instrumental.  It was really really relaxing and refreshing.

the rather zen album cover

* Continuing to read + journal on paper (yep, I still do that!) with phone nowhere in sight. 

* Spending more weekend days in digital detox mode.  This weekend is not a candidate as I am on call, but after that.

I love many things about the iPhone.  The camera; FaceTime; Google Maps (truly a life changer for me).  Even always having a phone nearby -- not something to take for granted, as my colleagues reminisce about having to answer patient calls from pay phones whenever they left home base!  But I am determined to keep that little box in its rightful place as much as humanly possible.

It's the weekend!  I am looking forward to ours even though I am on call -- it's one of those 'special' ones where Josh is off (due to a switch) and I'm working, so I should be able to get a lot done but still enjoy some family time.  Will report back Monday.