“Next week sounds great,” I say confidently over the phone to the administrative assistant to the Baptist Convention of New England, while searching through my calendar for a free 30-minute slot in my schedule.
Added event: Pick up writing tables for the Hub from Baptist Convention. Check.
Since placing the deposit and first month’s rent on the new space for The Learning Hub, I have become ever-so immersed in the process of getting to my launch date. I mean, I have literally started a race against the clock. Now, every second must be accounted for. For every moment I schedule a new meeting or event, I lose time in other areas on my to-do list.
They call it “opportunity cost” but I call it, a losing battle of priorities.
Completed task: Scratch off “scheduling writing table pickup.”
You see, The Learning Hub is my passion. Finding myself in the right space to impact and influence the lives of children who will be our future – as clichéd as that may sound – has been my number one goal for several years. And for years, I convinced myself that there would be no way I could add more time to my day to even think about starting a tutoring center.
I always wonder, how do the great pioneers of our time, carve the time into their schedules to fully embrace their passions and uncharted goals? Where does the energy come from?
Walt Whitman, the father of American poetry, worked as a journalist, a teacher and a government clerk. With the lack of a Google calendar in the 1840s, how did Whitman stay on tasks? My days and weeks melt together. Mondays are the same as Saturdays. There is no divide between weekdays and weekends. The days are packed with endless tasks, meetings, phone calls, pickups — oh, did I mention I have two children?
I read these entrepreneurial blogs to keep my spirits up when I am feeling overwhelmed by the weight of life itself and all of its required pressures, and they all seem to imply the same message: Be amazing at time management!
They emphasize this concept of time management and the notion that, if everything is scheduled and you are able to stop and start easily between tasks, then life will be prosperous and you will succeed in all that life contains. So, here’s my spin on time management:
Mondays … well, Mondays used to be my only day off. The only day l had to myself. Sounds like pure bliss, right? Well, that was before I embarked on quitting my job in May, starting up as a student at Worcester State University, freelancing for the Sun and trying to open The Learning Hub.
Try to keep up.
The “I did it, so you can do it” blogs emphasize utilizing every single minute of your day, so that’s what I do.
6 a.m.: Wake up – or at least pretend to be awake. Make breakfast for my two daughters.
7 a.m.: Pack lunches. Make sure to always leave a sweet little note saying: “Mommy loves you … be sure to eat all of your lunch!”
8 a.m.: Drop Brooklyn off at school, wave goodbye and embark on my next drop-off.
8:30 a.m.: I am driving through a Starbucks begging for something fresh and full of energy. “Can I have the grande of anything that will keep me awake until midnight? Thanks.”
9:35 a.m.: I have arrived at little Evian’s school. Kindercare in Concord – yes, it is far. Trust me, I drive more miles in a day than most people in a week. I used to manage a (property) portfolio in Concord last year and enrolled Evian in school to keep her close to me and to always be able to make the pickup time of 6 p.m. It made sense at the time. Now that I no longer work in Concord, I find myself in a constant battle to switch her to a closer Kindercare, but she has made such great new relationships with teachers and friends, that I cannot bring myself to take that away from her. She is now 4 years old and will be entering Worcester Public Schools next September, so I will continue to count down the days.
OK, now between the drop-off and about 10:30 I make calls. The “I did it, so you can do it” blogs emphasize utilizing every single minute of your day, so that’s what I do.
I call department heads at Worcester State to seek further involvement for The Learning Hub, I leave messages for my subjects of the week for the Sun – many businesses, like restaurants, aren’t open at 9:36 a.m., so I leave a lot of messages in the morning — and I follow up on doctor appointments for my family and touch base with the PTO.
10:40 a.m.: I arrive back in Worcester and usually head off to my first interview of the day. These interviews are always interesting and last about 30 minutes to an hour. After a couple of laughs with my subjects and some more strong caffeine, I stop the voice recorder, close my notebook and save the page to start writing my articles.
Noon: This is where I stop for a moment, gather my thoughts and cross off completed tasks on my to-do list. The moment where my dopamine levels shoot through the roof. Also, my moment of peace and quiet, so I grab some lunch and listen to some TED Talks. This time slot, though, has turned into picking up furniture this week for the Hub.
12:30 p.m.: After feeling reenergized from my morning accomplishments and a great, one-sided pep talk from TED, I head to campus. I connect to the Wi-Fi and hit the ground running. I open eight tabs, mostly because I know that eventually I will use all eight of them, and start going over school assignments. I am currently enrolled in Principles of Management, Corporate Finance, International Marketing and the dreadful, Mathematical Principles of Economics. I complete as much as possible, close my laptop and drive across the street to Chandler Magnet.
1:15 p.m.: I participate in the PTO meeting and start answering some emails on my iPhone to ensure that my time is being “properly maximized.” The emails never fail around this time. It seems that everyone in contact with me has also increased their dopamine and are now highly productive and blasting emails at a rate of 2 per second.
2:30 p.m.: Meeting adjourned! Time to pick up Brooklyn from school.
3 p.m.: We have now started to drive back to Concord to pick up Evian. Brooklyn is enjoying the ride and I am on the phone, per usual. (On Fridays, the schedule is different as I have class from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
4 p.m.: We have arrived in Concord and are turning around to head back to Worcester.
4:30 p.m.: “I need caffeine in my life,” is what I usually mutter under my breath while sitting on 495 in traffic beyond belief.
5 p.m.: Home sweet home!! Do you think it ends there? That would be too good to be true! I am now racing and rushing to cook dinner, be sure the girls have done their homework correctly and are bathed. I cook dinner, eat — or rather, inhale — my dinner, and am back out pounding the pavement.
6 p.m.: I have just arrived at Worcester State for my Mathematical Principles of Economics class that runs until 9.
9 p.m.: “Back again?” says the woman in Starbucks. “Yes …”
9:30 p.m.: Back at home … now it is time to pull out my notebook and voice recorder from earlier, open my laptop, sit on my bed and start writing my week’s assignment from the editor at the Sun.
Every day, I start fresh. But my first thought in the morning is always, “How am I going to get this all done?”