She’s ready to be normal again.

Well, not really NORMAL, but my definition of normal. Seriously, thank you for all the nice comments. They touched my heart. I love you all.

I’ve been feeling a lot better lately, like my old rip-roaring self, and I’ve started to get used to not having anything pressing in my schedule. In a lot of ways it’s really liberating. However I’ve found that when you have nothing you HAVE to do, it’s hard to do much of anything. Usually when you have a free day, a free afternoon, or even a week off from whatever it is you do, you think, “Oh! I’m going to get all these things done that I normally don’t have time for.” But when you have like 5 months of essentially free time, it’s easy to let the days pass by thinking, “Oh I can do that tomorrow, it’s not like I have anything else to do.” And then a week has gone by like SNAP and you realize the only thing you have done of note is watch all of ABC’s shows on their online media player.

That intro from About a Boy plays over and over again in my head. Hugh Grant’s character (I know it’s a book too) doesn’t work, he just lives off of royalties, and he talks about how he breaks his days into units of time. 1 unit=30 minutes. My days have been going about like this:

Roll around in bed deciding if I should get up: 2 units

Thinking,”should I exercise now, or later?” 1 unit

Waiting for the Comcast guy: 4 units

Talking on the phone: 6 units

Actually exercising: 2 units

Going to the grocery store: 3 units

Cooking some needlessly complex dinner and an elaborate dessert: 4 units

Working: 2-4 units

Swearing at my sewing machine: 4 units

Bonding with ABC’s Media player: 4 units

Deciding in what order to do all of the things I have decided to do for the day: 4 units

Driving around lost yelling at my GPS, while having to pee really really bad and trying to decide how to pee in a cup while not getting in a wreck in rush hour traffic: all remaining units not spent sleeping

See! It’s pretty easy when you break it up like that huh? I’ve started to sprinkle in some more productive units everyday. Let yesterday I think I spent 6-8 whole units designing my friend’s wedding invitation, and today I spent like 3 units trying to figure out how to make my new blog have 3 columns. Sigh, it’s the little victories friends.

It’s not like I don’t have plenty of work to do though. It’s just that 3 hours of actual billable time really represents about 6 hours of sitting at my computer trying to focus. The problem is, other than a few deadlines, I can do the work whenever, and wherever I like. With no one thing to schedule all others around, my workload is like a giant floating amoeba.

This is probably the least busiest time of my life. And I think at first it kind of threw me into shock. And I can bet money that most of you reading this want to string me up and shoot me because you’re thinking, “I’m so busy I could cry!”

And I’m sorry, don’t cry. Here are the conclusions I’ve come to:

As I have taken a step back from the hustle and bustle, I’ve been able to see how much time and energy we spend just TALKING about being busy. Commercials grab you with, “In your busy life…” people call you and say, “Oh I know you’re busy but real quick…” friends who want to meet up with you ask you to check your “busy schedule.” It’s like a rule that we all accept: everyone is too busy to see straight. Whether you have kids, work, go to school, all of the above, or just work out all day and spend time looking sexy as a trophy wife, it’s just understood, a universal that we’re SO BUSY. And if you’re not…you must be a loser! But, I’ve started audibly responding to any of suggestions of me being busy with, “No really, I’m not busy at all!” People honestly do not know how to respond.

Now don’t get me wrong, I for one, think being productive is probably one of the most important things in life. As we all saw what happened when I didn’t feel productive. (Terrible panic attacks, nervous break down, and my puppy now lives with an All State Agent named David, but at least he’s in good hands right? BAH!) But on the other side of the coin, there is a lot of value in just slowing down. There is a difference between being productive and being busy.

Since I have been so “open” I find that I have more time to help others. I am fully aware that this is a luxury. I also know how lucky and blessed I am to be in a situation for a period of time when I can really do WHATEVER I want. Instead of trying to get off the phone with anyone who calls, I actually let them talk, and, really LISTEN! (I talk a lot too, don’t worry.) I don’t screen phone calls, I answer emails. Sure I still haven’t followed through on a lot of commitments, but I’m getting there! I have a lot of projects I’m working on, businesses I want to start, I’m trying to be productive, but just not so busy.

Publicly announcing you’re not busy can be a dicey thing. If people ask something of me and I say, “no” they can totally hold this against me. However, letting go of the panic, and letting go of the schedule, is half the battle. I think we should hold ourselves to high standards, I think we should try to accomplish worthy goals everyday, however, I think a lot of us (big blaring neon letters reading: ME) just try to do too much. So, I’ve decided everyday to try to spend my time wisely. Whether or not that means spending all of it churning out work, or spending most of it looking for a 7-11. It could change everyday.

So, with all the said, let me know if I can help you with anything. I just helped a friend with a cover letter, and like I’ve said before, I love helping with those. Email: Or, let me know if you’re sad and need a little pick me up. Or just send me all the things you would do if you weren’t so busy, and I’ll do them for the both of us.

I love you all. It’s been a good break.

Now I’m going go be really productive for at least 4 units.




  1. mjb

    You’ll get the hang of working from home! I’ve learned that if I’m working a 6-hour day at home and spend 8 hours in front of a computer and get some school work done and write a few work emails, not to feel bad about more not getting accomplished during the day. It takes some practice though!

    May 8, 2009   |   Reply
  2. Tim

    dedicate a unit or two to the “homey’s”

    May 8, 2009   |   Reply
  3. Edward Quist

    Thanks for giving Justin and me three units this morning! It was a great run on a beautiful trail.

    May 8, 2009   |   Reply
  4. Jake and Jenna

    i understand you oh so well. love you ali.

    May 9, 2009   |   Reply
  5. Kat Green

    I just spent two interesting weeks managing (correction: trying to manage) the calendars and coordinate the events and media demands of a couple of general managers at Microsoft.

    Honesty, those guys spend every waking moment (and they seldom sleep) charging around the globe like misguided missiles.

    I admire their drive and focus, and sort of wonder, privately, if that’s a desirable balance. They’re crazy-rich, and they have stimulating, creative jobs, but man, they can barely breathe, and they’re almost always expected to be at least two places at once.

    Granted, most people spend most of their time fiddling around and fussing about what they are not doing that they should be.

    I’m interested to hear about your stolen months of “not being busy at all.”

    May 9, 2009   |   Reply
  6. Jen Clark

    Let's pencil in at least 6 units of Ben & Jen time really soon! We want to come visit. Let us know what days you guys are free and we'll be there!

  7. Matt and Jennae Porter

    Be careful here. If someone from your new ward gets wind of the fact that you’re not busy… WHAM… all of a sudden you have 3 callings. But seriously, ENJOY a few months of down time. We rarely get them! The East Coast is amazing. Plan some fun weekend trips for you and Eric to take. And eat a crapload of philly cheesesteaks for me, will ya?

  8. JenErik

    you are always welcome to call me. I’ll just put darla on the phone and she’ll jibber-jabber your ear off. love you.

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