Friday, October 15, 2010

1 dress and 168 hours

the polls have closed . . .

and i am pleased to announce that the winner is option B, otherwise known as the buttoned watercolor dress!

the oldest frock of the bunch, this dress is by moulinette soeurs (for anthropologie), circa 6/2009

the sash is actually stolen from the phosphorescent dress, but it matches the pattern well enough (i think). i will fancy it up a bit with some dressier shoes.

while i have worn this dress to a wedding (and a rather fabulous one at that -- thank you aimée!) previously, that was friends and this is family, so there is no overlap. my rewearing can remain a secret between me, josh . . . and all of you :)

thank you for voting -- if you could get it to work, that is (it sounds like internet explorer is not accepting of the polldaddy widget). interesting that it was supposed to have been limited to 100 responses (since i only have the 'free' version), but didn't cap! weird.

more thoughts on 168 hours
overall, while i did NOT agree with everything laura vanderkam wrote, i thought this was a very interesting and thought-provoking book.

she maintains that:
"168 hours is enough time to work 50 hours a week, sleep 8 hours a night, and still spend massive amounts of time with your children." -- p. 145
evidently, the way to do this is to outsource every chore, from doing laundry to buying groceries, and to sit down to work most nights for 2-3 hours after putting your children to bed. oh, and don't forget to squeeze some quality time with your spouse in there, too.

judging from your responses to my panicky post the other day, you all probably see a few holes in this plan. even i do, and i haven't even tried it yet! and i don't necessarily believe in outsourcing every little mundane chore. i would rather find some peace and fun (!) in most of these activities, something i believe to be possible.

however, grandiose declarations aside, the book made me think about time in a number of different ways. some positives:

i enjoyed starting my list of 100 dreams.

i found her notes on work interesting. she writes:
"a great way to clear your professional calendar is to quit projects or give up responsibilities that are leeching time that you could devote to core-competancy activities."
although i can just imagine my program director's response to my request to quit such time-leeching responsibilities such as, you know, call. perhaps i'm just not high enough on the totem pole to be able to implement this sort of advice yet, or maybe the medical field is just . . . special.

i liked this quote:
"do not mistake things that look like work for actual work."
time spent in meetings, surfing online in the office, incessantly checking email -- these things may eat up time during the work day and make one feel productive, but you're better off just getting done what you need to do and getting out of there! at least that's how i took this piece of advice.

i enjoyed the section on flow, something that i am always seeking. she notes that
"people were happiest when they were completely absorbed in activities that were difficult but doable, to the point where their brains no longer had space to ruminate on the troubles of daily life."
an interesting way to put it, but this rang true to me.

whether this is a function of her engaging writing, my own idiosynchrasies, or just related to excess time from my media cleanse (!), i found myself wanting to engage in her suggested exercises, from listing the activities that find my flow (both blogging + clinic make the list!), to analyzing my future work goals, to tracking my own time to look for ways i can improve my usage of each 168 hour block.

i even found myself inspired to do a calming lunar flow yoga session with a block of downtime yesterday evening after listing 30-minute activities that bring bits of joy.

so, in summary: i recommend 168 hours, but taken with a grain of salt. it may have annoyed me at times, but it made me think, which had an overall positive impact. if anyone else has read it -- or something similar -- i would love to hear your thoughts!

media cleanse report
number of time i checked email yesterday: 3 (oops)
number of times i wanted to open my google reader: many (but i didn't!)
how badly, on a scale of 1-10, i wanted to watch glee and/or desperate housewives on hulu yesterday: 9

yes, i will be excited when this little experiment draws to a close! i wish i could say that my desire for online connectivity has waned over the past few days, but in actuality the novelty of being 'disconnected' has worn off and i'm thirsting for a nice juicy zen habits post or a peek at the latest sale offerings at anthro. i can (and will) make it 3 more days, though!



workout: 30 minutes lunar flow yoga session (not really a workout, mostly just stretchiness, but it felt great)

real simple PLUS this may be a bit bold, but i think that my ravioli creation was a step up from the official version.


yes, i suppose this looks pretty good . . .


i subbed green beans (since we had a hefty sack of local ones in our CSA box) for brussels, used butternut squash ravioli, and added some fresh sage. the result?

pasta perfectly fit for an october evening

at least i thought so!

board prep: 10 more PREP questions + review of derm + muscuoskeletal. today is basically my last real study day!! (!!!!!) i suppose i should get started . . .


  1. Interesting to hear your thjoughts on 168 hours. I might have to pick up a copy of that book. I am deep in life/work-organization-frenzy right now, so I am very interested in time management books etc I am reading "7 habits of highly effective people" right now. It is much better than the title led me to believe, actually.
    Maybe you could still influence other "time-suckers" than Call, like not attend some meetings or presentations that are out of your interest area?

    About combining family with the work week, both Emil and I work for a few hours most nighs after putting Ingrid to bed. It is doable, absolutely. I have the following daily schedule these days: up at 5:15 am for workouts, breakfast with the family at 7 am, off to work at 8-8:30. I pick her up at day care at 3:15 or Emil picks her up (we do alternate days) and I work until 5 pm. Diner at together at 5:30, then she goes to bed at 7 and we work until 9-ish. That way we get to spend some quality time together every day, eat our meals together and still get 40-50 hours of work in. What would your schedule be like when the baby comes? Can you modify your schedule a bit yourself?

    Wow, sorry for the novel! I am just really interested in this stuff! Take care,

  2. To me the idea of finding peace and fun vacuuming while I'm stressed out about work, sleep deprived, and trying to tend to a small screaming child who wants my undivided attention is fiction. But that's just me. If I had more money than time I would 100% for sure outsource things like cleaning.

  3. I am so glad you posted on 168 hours - I read this book recently and honestly, I found myself somewhat annoyed by it at the end, though while I was reading it I felt engaged by the activities. As a lawyer in private practice, tracking one's time becomes second nature. When the book arrived from Amazon, my husband skimmed through it for a minute and said "why don't you do a breakdown of your time in a week now based on what you know of your schedule and activities and then compare it to the breakdown you come up with after tracking your time." - and it was kind of scary how similar the two were, except for obviously a couple of non-typical days.

    Like you I do not want to necessarily outsource every chore - and her chapter on cooking is actually what got me annoyed. She advocated having your kids buy school lunches every day (clearly she has not read the school lunch blog Fed up with Lunch) and other pre-packaged food habits I don't want to advocate as an everyday solution. Then again, for me, cooking is a relaxing activity (most of the time) and has always been.

    The other three things that I don't think she addressed well were the following:

    (1) while she acknowledges she leads a privileged life, I am not sure she understands that amongst privileged people she leads an extra-privileged life. I have friends with crushing JD debts and sick parents whom they are supporting who will not be able to outsource things the way she advocates, despite good incomes.
    (2) the family aspect. I know an increasing number of people who care for small children and at least one elderly family member - she never even seems to know that scenario exists (though admittedly by the second half of t he book I was not reading every page)
    (3) the job aspect. Like you, I have a job where there are time-leech responsibilities I can't just simply quit doing (and those responsibilities are part of my field, not just my job). And I actually (mostly) like my career, so I don't necessarily want to find a whole other career just because of those time leech responsibilities.

    Wow - I had a lot to say. Sorry about that. love the pick of the dress.For me it was a tie between b and c so though I voted for c, I loved both :)

  4. PS - I would recommend the book with the same reservations as you - i.e. it made me think. That said, I wish there was a book on the same topic that addressed some of the things she just left out completely.

  5. Anonymous11:46 AM

    Where did you find butternut aquash ravioli?- sounds wonderful.

  6. I ABSOLUTELY outsource mundane tasks and highly recommend it (if you can afford it). Usually, increased responsibility comes with increased responsibility, and less time to do these things. You could spend your time doing these tasks, or spending time with your loved ones (like C!) It seems extravagant at first, but sometimes there is just no way to do everything... It makes my life much easier...

  7. I agree with Valerie. I thought she downplayed the importance of cooking good food for your family. I also thought she didn't really address the importance of downtime. Yes, I could split my work day into two "shifts" but I can't go right from working from 8-10 and then be ready to sleep at 10:30 to get enough sleep for 8 hours.

    Also, I'm on day 5 of tracking my time for the project and I can see where my time is going (as I suspected). Like Valerie, I'm a lawyer and used to tracking my time. Keeping that downtime, I don't see how I can gain a lot of time.

  8. I really like the "flow" concept. I think is the best way to be really productive and save lots of time. I recently read a book about it "The flow: the psychology of optimal experience". I don't know if anyone have heard it but I loved it. I wrote about this book here:

  9. anon: i got it at whole foods, in the freezer section! it was whole foods brand actually and about $3.50 -- worth it i thought!

  10. That sounds like a great way to raise little narcissists. Speaking from my vast experience, of course ;)

  11. "people were happiest when they were completely absorbed in activities that were difficult but doable, to the point where their brains no longer had space to ruminate on the troubles of daily life."

    This somehow makes me think of my last job...although many times I didn't consider it "doable" (at least not to the extent that I thought I was providing good care for patients). However, I did do most of my best work when I was so involved that I couldn't think about anything else. This is probably not related, but with so many distractions at the fingertips of people who sit at desks/computers all day, I wonder how productive the work force really is. Gchat? Facebook? Twitter? Online shopping? Vacation planning? Blogging?? How much time is wasted each day? If I spent all that time doing things like that at my job, bad things would have happened!

    That was quite the tangent, but it's something that's on my mind at times when I realized that people spend alllll day on twitter.

    I need to make a list of my 100 dreams.