What’s the saying? “If you want something done, find the busiest person.”
Turns out, now that I’m working 100% again I’m back into the groove of getting sh*t done. I’m not talking at work, although I am feeling pretty productive there too. I’m talking about life in general. I’m back to being a multi-tasking, taking care of business machine!
I had expected the time at Starbucks to provide me with incredible productivity once off work each day. I had worked my full 6 hour shift by 11:00 am after all.
But instead, the schedule, combined with the time of year created the perfect storm for turning me into a bit of a zombie. All be it a well caffeinated zombie. By 8:30 PM I was so tired I could barely form sentences and more often than not, I fell into bed long before the kids did.
Looking back I can’t really account for how I spent my afternoon’s. This blissful “free time” was consumed by grocery shopping, meal planning and prep, cleaning up from said prep, laundry (whenever the heck I want! Man I love our new apartment.), applying for jobs online, hockey-mom-ing, some yoga on the really good days but nothing to be overly touted as productive. These tasks are merely all the things that are necessary simply for living; nothing which contributes to the concept of digging into ourselves to discover our greatest potential, feeding our best self. I didn’t even achieve progress in my German learning outside of the coffee-related vocabulary I picked up at work.
I will admit that these “free” afternoons, where I had all the time in the world for self optimization, were set up to disappoint. Once the kids returned to school after their TWO HOUR lunch break (which still seems like an absurdity to me) they were only there for an hour and 3/4s. Just enough time for 1 load of laundry, one batch of cookies, maybe a quick 30 minutes of yoga.
On a good week I would have 3 of the 5 afternoons to myself. (Wednesdays both kids are done at 11:50 and the afternoon is filled with hockey. Thursdays Helena is done then as well.)
However, the number of times that schedule changed was mind boggling. It turns out that in Switzerland if a teacher is sick the kids simply stay home. The number of times that Helena has come home for lunch saying “I have no school this afternoon” is astounding. I’m pretty sure her situation, while common, is not the norm. Her teacher is particularly “fragile” for lack of a better word and Helena’s schedule has been impacted a great deal. A substitute teacher is arranged eventually but there is a (frustrating) assumption that there will be someone at home whose plans can be dropped in a moment’s notice – or no notice whatsoever.
Contrary to my high hopes and good intentions of how my extra time would be spent, it turns out that my productivity seems to be increasing now that I’m working 100% again. The evening hours, in the quiet after everyone has gone to bed, appears to offer the greatest potential for creativity and productivity. (I am imagining mom’s everywhere raising their coffee to me in a toast saying “truth sister.”) This is the time when I can achieve all the things one needs to achieve in order to feel that they are winning the battle with the mounting to do list inside their head.
In retrospect it was a dangerous combination. Exhaustion, coupled with the literal darkness of shorter days and dreary weather was snuffing out all light of motivation and hope. Partner that with the loneliness and isolation, albeit somewhat self created, of expat life and you find yourself on the slippery slope of depression.
Even the solace I used to find in writing my blog transformed to more of a duty during that time; another nagging entry on my to-do list with a lack of inspiration for creativity and reflection.
But that spark has returned. The weather and daylight are slowly allowing me to find time for walks in our woods again, the self care that always tops up my cup again.
With the feeling of productivity and motivation returned, there’s no limit to what this new year has in store. I’m even back on board with my German lessons. “Ich bin bereit.” I am ready.