Plan B Nation on vacation

Main lakeA few weeks back, it hit me that I’m try­ing to do too much—especially given that I’m hap­pi­est with a good bit of down­time. How to rec­on­cile Type A ten­den­cies with my need for a bal­anced life? It came to me, a strat­egy: “Seven things in seven hours.” Rather than cram­ming week­end days with end­less to-do list items, I’d limit myself to one per hour. I’d be selec­tive, strategic.

But when I sat down to make a list, that’s not what I wrote. Instead of typ­ing the word “things,” I typed the word “days.”Seven days in seven hours. I had to laugh. It so exactly cap­tured the absur­dity of what I’ve been try­ing to do.

BananagramsWhich goes to explain why Plan B Nation is on extended vaca­tion. When I took a week off from my Har­vard com­mu­ni­ca­tions jobs last month, I’d planned to spend a lot of it catch­ing up on blog­ging. Luck­ily, I quickly deter­mined that this was a bad idea. Instead, I vis­ited Polly in Maine and pretty much took it easy. Banana­grams, dogs, kids, long walks, books—that’s pretty much what my vaca­tion looked like.

Then last week, with­out quite mean­ing to, I went on a writ­ing ben­der, result­ing in two pieces that went live yes­ter­day. Along with my Atlantic debut—a piece on women and drink­ing (includ­ing my per­sonal take on AA)—I also wrote about so-called “slash careers” on the Cognoscenti blog. Lawyer/writer, minister/physician–you get the idea. It’s a piece I’d had in the pipeline for quite some time, and it felt great to finally get it out of my head and onto the web.

Seven things in seven hours. Clearly, my efforts to pare down are a work in progress. There are so many things I want to write, and far too lit­tle time. But if I’m still tak­ing on too much, I’m also tak­ing breaks. This after­noon, I got a mas­sage. Tomor­row I have yoga. And as soon I get this post up, I’ll be watch­ing House of Cards.

dogs in maine





© 2013, amy gut­man. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Plan B Nation on vacation

  1. Lovely piece! I loved your piece in the Atlantic — if that’s what a weeks vaca­tion led to — then by all means take more vaca­tion because the world needs more of that!

    Also, Adam Grant’s new book GIVE & TAKE had some data about how peo­ple actu­ally feel bet­ter about their phil­an­thropic work if they bunch it up (“one morn­ing per week”) rather than do a lit­tle each day. I offer this to myself as much as any­one — a per­son who needs to live in suf­fi­ciency, not scarcity.

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