A full-time work schedule has recently plopped down into the middle of my life, sending everything else hurtling toward the edges. I’ve always wondered how anyone manages to tend to the stuff of life when business hours are reserved for, well, business. What I mean is, how do you get to the bank if you are working during all of the hours when the bank is open? The answer, as far as I can tell so far, is that you stop going to the bank. You start doing everything you possibly can online (if you weren’t doing it that way already), and you do it in the margins. It’s not that I haven’t worked long hours before. It’s just that I’ve generally been able to leave my work and tend to other tasks and thoughts as they arise. Lately, though, I can feel the various pieces of my life shaking loose from their cozy overlap and settling down into neat compartments.
While chipping away at a spreadsheet last week, an article I’d read over breakfast came back to mind. I pulled out a Post-It and stuck it to my phone, adding it to my post-5pm to-do list: “Follow Hillary Clinton on Twitter.”
I can’t say that the shift is necessarily good or bad—at this point, it’s just funny. On the one hand, I am probably increasing my productivity as I learn to interrupt myself less. On the other hand, my mind has not caught up with my newly compartmentalized schedule (will it ever?). This means that I end up sending myself a lot of emails for later and sticking Post-Its to my phone (am I the only one who does that?).
I’ve written before about how much I love the margins, so I’m watching closely now as they change. The margins have become the place where my home self sifts through notes from my work self, trying to decipher what she really meant or why on earth she was thinking about Hillary Clinton at 2:55pm.
Besides writing notes to my future self, I’ve been venturing into the past as well. A recent letter from Erin Anacker to her younger self prompted me to go poking around in the ancient archives of my blog. I had the funny realization that if I wanted to find out what my younger self was thinking and offer her some advice, I didn’t have to conjure her up. I could dig up her posts and shake my head at them, though I’d stop just short of leaving any “what were you thinking” comments.
I’ve been smiling just as much at the notes from three hours ago as I have at the posts from years past. We’re never entirely the same from one moment to the next, and I’m thankful for the breadcrumbs my yesterday self keeps leaving along the path toward today.