Tuesday, March 08, 2016

A Slightly Frazzled Hodge-Podge

I've been feeling overclocked, in that slightly frazzled, dropping balls sort of state I get when my mental load is too high.

Here's what it looks like when I get in this state: I screwed up the weeks of our summer camp schedule. Luckily, I caught it before I booked the wrong things, but it was still extra work to sort it out and get it right. We signed mortgage paperwork today (we're refinancing back into a "normal" loan instead of the remodeling loan we got to do the renovations). They sent us some paperwork to fill out ahead of time, and I forgot to bring it with me. I remembered it while I was getting Pumpkin to bed last night, but forgot about it by the time I was done with that and didn't think about it again until I was driving to the loan company's offices. I screwed up scheduling parent-teacher conferences, so we ended up with suboptimal times. I'm still waiting for confirmation that we at least got the conferences for Pumpkin and Petunia on the same day.

Basically, I start making mistakes and having to redo things.  Plus, I feel stressed out and worried all the time.

There are all sorts of reasons my mental load is high right now, most of which are not work related, although it doesn't help that I'm behind on things due to my recent illness and asthma issues. But the frazzled feeling is spilling over into my work hours and impeding my work. There aren't two versions of me, one for work and one for home. There's just one me, with one brain, and one set of emotions. When things are out of whack in one part of my life, I suffer in all parts of my life. I hear that some people can compartmentalize things to the point that this doesn't happen, but I am not one of those people.

So, anyway, I decided I need to fix this. Luckily, I know what I need to do.

I wrote a "home" to do list for the next couple months in a Google Doc and shared it with Mr. Snarky. (I'd love to keep this stuff on a kanban board, but he won't actually use any of the electronic kanban boards we tried, we don't have space for a second physical kanban board and I won't give up my work one, and he will use a Google Doc... so Google Doc it is.)

That helped a lot. Tomorrow, I'll go for a run. Maybe I can get some yoga in this week, too.


In completely unrelated news, I'll be in Portland, Oregon, on April 16. I am busy that day, but have some time around that day if anyone wants to schedule an in person version of one of my seminars or workshops.

Looking further ahead, we're going to New Zealand this summer, and if I could schedule something in without interfering with the primary purpose of that trip (relaxing and seeing friends and family), I would do that. I don't like to publish vacation dates ahead of time, so if you're interested, email me for my schedule (wandsci at gmail dot com).


When I started this post, I thought I might write something about the election, but bleh. I think I'll go read my book instead.


  1. I have been in a similar place the last couple of weeks, though the majority of my issues are due to work-related things. But, there are things at home that are adding to the problem as well - like C being right smack in the middle of being 2.5 and trying to decide about a big reno (I may email you about your experience!).

    The stress is coming out as me making lots of silly mistakes, causing me to do the same work over and over again. This, of course, takes up lots of time, which means I feel more stressed.

    One mistake I made was over-scheduling my time last week, and now everything is spilling over. Once I get it under control, I should be back on track.

    I also need to (re)set my priorities and boundaries. I have been replying to emails right away, and it's taking up a lot of my time. I also need to make sure I'm getting time to relax and do things I enjoy.

    1. It is so hard to dig out of a hole, and extra frustrating when you know you put yourself in the damn hole in the first place!

  2. I'm kind of a wreck today because we found out yesterday that DH's company is imploding. The CEO fired both of the middle managers (the business manager and the project manager) which means there's now no buffer between the developers and the crazy CEO. (Why did he fire them? Because they complained when he reneged on bonus promises.)

    I really liked being rich. It is going to be hard to go back to middle class. :/

    1. Oh no! Is DH going to start a job search? He is even more marketable than before, because now he has industry experience. That really matters to some companies, so he might find a job search now easier than the 1st post-academic one.

    2. If we were staying here in paradise it wouldn't be a problem, but I'm contractually obligated to go back to not-paradise this summer for the year. This job was so perfect, but bosses are so important.

      We'll see what happens. He does have an in-demand skillset, but the problem is can he get another telecommuting job using it. If not, his friend who got him this current job is thinking about restarting the startup they did 5 years ago running SBIRs, but that probably won't bring in much money off the bat (DH brought home 14K for that year). But he'll be able to continue doing good work.

      I ran the numbers last night and we really do spend almost exactly my take-home pay without additional retirement saving beyond the match (when we're not living in paradise). And we have a lot saved already for retirement and we'll be eligible for lots of college financial aid again. So we'll be fine. But it was SO NICE having more money than we were used to having. (And we're still getting his salary for now, but... I don't want DH to feel trapped ever.)

      Also I'm underpaid by about 20K compared to my similarly cv'd male colleagues which I am not happy about and am planning to complain about loudly.

      Anyway! I should get back to work because when I'm the sole breadwinner my cv is more important. Plus the coffee is starting to kick in. Good luck with your work.

    3. Update (for those following): the CEO brought back both the business manager and the project manager at half-time starting in April. And DH has agreed to do consulting for 10hrs/week for another company. So we may end up with more money than time in the short term. We'll see if anything happens with the consulting though.

    4. I hope everything works out well!

  3. I'm underpaid by about 20K compared to my similarly cv'd male colleagues

    Ugh. I know that feeling. Give them hell!

  4. I don't comment often, but this struck me right where I am right now. Dealing with so so many things at work & home and its leaving me overwhelmed and floundering on all fronts. I need to take some time to do some planning & list making so I can just "do the next thing" instead of flitting around and not getting anything done.

  5. I was feeling this way two weeks ago, so I braindumped on the blog. It didn't get anything DONE but it seemed to help unload my feelings about it.

    I hope the yoga and run is helping!

  6. EarthSciProf4:30 PM

    Hope you can reset quickly and get the to do list back under control.

    A trip to New Zealand is very positive and fun though!


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