Drop it like it’s Hot

Almost every morning when I get on the bus, I have the same set of thoughts about my fellow commuters: How do They Do It?

And by “It” I mean, how do they keep it all together, get everything done, manage to blow-dry their hair in the mornings (one of my own shortcomings these days). What are they letting slide?

I’m not sure how it happened, but in the last few years I have managed to go from having a bunch of girlfriends who seemed to have similar lives and goals, to having girlfriends who have less and less in common with me as life goes on. Mostly on the work front. Namely, that most of my close girlfriends just don’t. Or if they do, it’s not full-time. They’re having babies, taking breaks, going back to school or focusing on other hobbies and goals.

Hobbies? Hah. I don’t even delude myself into thinking I have time for hobbies.

Anyhow, I find myself without anyone to truly commiserate with on this particular state of affairs, so I’m opening it up to the internets: How do you do it?

Here’s what it seems I do have time for these days:

06:00 Alarm goes off
06:09 Snooze one goes off, coffee starts
06:18 Snooze two goes off, coffee’s ready (Neil still brings it to me in bed… awww)
06:40 Stumble into shower
07:15 Ok, I lied – this is when I normally stumble into the shower, because I’m absolutely knackered and have trouble dragging my carcass out of bed.
07:55 Leave house (with wet head if I’ve not gotten up until 07:15)
08:30 Arrive at work
18:30 Arrive at home on m/w/f (sometimes because I’m working late, sometimes because I’m running errands after work)
19:00 Arrive at home on t/r (after the gym)
19:30 Eat whatever we’ve created for dinner
20:00 Walk dog, clean up from dinner, make lunch for the next day, tidy up house, throw in a load of laundry, try to get one or two wedding-related tasks taken care of (none of this is solely my domain, Neil and I switch it up and both do all of these during the week).
20:30 Sit down on couch with Neil to hang out with each other a bit
21:30 Fall asleep on couch
22:00 Off to bed
03:00 Wake up, toss, turn, curse. (This only happens about 9 out of every 10 nights – the 10th morning is when I actually get up in time to blow-dry my hair before work)
04:30 Finally fall back asleep
06:00 Alarm goes off…

And so it goes.

So, for all the working girls out there (and heck, the boys too) – how do you do it? I love what I’m doing for work, and have no desire to do it less, but I still feel like I’m missing some crucial element on how to manage to fit a few extra things in there like the blow-drying (oh how I long for good-hair days), running (off that wagon again), better blogging, more picture-taking and maybe, just maybe a social life.

Or maybe it’s just an illusion and you don’t have it together either?

Enlighten me.

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19 thoughts on “Drop it like it’s Hot

  1. erin

    I’ve never worked a Mon-Fri 9-5 job so I’ve never had a set schedule for my life. That kinda sucks on the insomnia front sometimes but it also is good for getting chores done. Being done work at 2pm means that I can get a bunch of running around done in the afternoon and still make dinner at a normal hour, then spend the evening doing nothing, blissfully snuggling with my cat.

    I find I go through phases, though, where it seems like everything I do is work work work, and then that will ease off and I suddenly find time to do other stuff too. I bet once the wedding stuff is over and done you’ll find more free time.

  2. donna

    I currently leave the house between 7 & 7:30, and get home between… well, 7 & 7:30. I just don’t socialize during the week. Even better, I live in the freaking suburbs, so socializing on weekends takes more effort, too.

    Basically? I spend a lot of time with my dog and play a lot of warcraft. And… my hair tends to look like shit.

  3. Chris

    I work a 9-5 job and have no interest in blow drying my hair πŸ™‚

    I think I “have it all together”, by my own measure at least (and that’s the only one that counts). I go to Tai Chi classes once a week. I grocery shop. I clean the bathroom and do dishes. I play some video games, hang out with friends, brew some beer, play with my cat.

    Now, most of these things I do on the weekend, and weekends are something you didn’t mention in your post. Also, I’m not planning a wedding πŸ™‚ If you can remember back before the wedding planning began, you probably had more free time.

    So, you can look forward to a few months from now when the wedding stuff is done, that should add on a few hours to your day (and stop you from thinking about it when you’re doing other things). Other than that, you can try getting an alarm clock that is ultra loud, ultra annoying, and requires you getting your ass out of your bed to turn off. That would add an extra hour to your day πŸ™‚

  4. peechie Post author

    erin: There are some days I really miss working or going to school odd hours, just because it means I can get some errands done when the rest of the world isn’t trying to do them as well!

    donna: Your commute sounds kindof awful. And I’m glad I’m not the only one with bad hair πŸ™‚

    Chris: It’s true – I do have weekends. And right now they do seem interrupted with a lot of wedding-type stuff, and catching up on things that didn’t get taken care of during the week. So once the wedding is done I’m guessing things will simmer down for me, at least a little.

    And you also have someone at home more often than not (with some exceptions) who can pick up the non bathroom and dishes related tasks. I’m starting to think it’s more than coincidence that everyone I know who has two full-time employed people in the house and are really happy about it have some sort of housekeeper (and/or nanny if they have kids).

    I should also seriously get back to the sleep hygiene thing and work on squeezing out the extra hour in the mornings.

  5. Courtney

    My day looks fairly similar to yours except I set my alarm for 6am, hoping one day I will get up early, and hit snooze until 7am. I also specify a wash and wear style when I get my hair cut because most days I just flip my head upside down and dry it a bit. I do far less than you (I’m just lazy and don’t have a wedding to plan) and don’t feel like I have it together either. Don’t worry, you are not alone.

  6. knemesis

    It takes me 30 minutes to get ready in the morning from open eyes to out the door. How I feel when I wake up depends on how I work my timeline.

    One of the best purchases I ever made in my life was a hairstylist’s hairdryer. So sometimes I switch it on to heat while I go shower, then when I get out of the shower I sit under the hooded dryer for 5 minutes and let my hair dry. This, admittedly, is the “I give up” hair and what I do on mornings when I really cannot stand the thought of styling my own hair.

    Another good trick? A good hair dryer. This is pretty sad but actually properly styling my hair takes me as long as the sitting under the hair dryer takes. Five minutes. Yes, that’s right. And I have more freaking hair than God.

    Tips:
    – Your hair won’t style until it’s 80% dry, so rub the ever loving shite out of it with the towel first, otherwise you are just wasting that time. I usually actually wrap my hair in a towel and go do my make-up.
    – For the love of god, get a decent hair dryer. SO WORTH IT. They really aren’t all created equal (The one at my mom’s house? 25 minutes. YES. TWENTY FIVE MINUTES TO DRY MY HAIR THERE)
    – Section your hair to dry it. When you’re trying to dry it all at once it’s just not as efficient. I know it seems like it would take longer to section a bit, dry it, then do the next bit, but it really is quicker.
    – Product. Yes, believe it or not, but some products make your hair dry faster/slower.

    Now. Make-up takes me 3 minutes to apply. 5 if I do something fancy on my eyelids, but you don’t even mention make-up in your morning routine so I am done with the tips for today πŸ˜‰

  7. peechie Post author

    Courtney: you have no idea how much better that makes me feel. We are certainly not alone!

    knemesis: You may be onto something with the good hair-dryer thing. It seems to be the only thing I am missing. I already wrap mine (hair, not dryer) in a towel for about 15 minutes (time to towel off the rest of me, moisturize everything, brush teeth and apply makeup – which is really only a 3-minute undertaking, I’m awfully quick with it), and I blow-dry in sections as well.

    So now you must not leave me in suspense any longer! What products can I use, and what kind of blow-dryer should I acquire? I don’t currently use a pre-blow-drying product, and I have a Conair 1600 drugstore-grade blowdryer.

  8. Riann

    I don’t know if it helps, but I can tell you what the daily routine was when both Brook and I were working.

    6:45-7:45 — wake up, shower, leisurely bowl of cereal and cup of tea in front of the morning news, get dressed and style hair (all 2 inches of it, it dries while I’m eating breakfast, and takes about 60 seconds to fluff).

    7:45 — leave house, 30 minute walk to work

    4:30-5:30 — arrive home (walking to and from work makes for a lack of guilt about a formal exercise regimen)

    For the rest of the evening we tended to putz about the house, watch an embarrassingly large amount of television, feed ourselves somehow, and try to maintain the house and a livable condition. Socializing on a weeknight was quite rare, as was doing anything productive. We tried to make up for this on weekends.

  9. gillian

    I just let my apartment reach pitiful states of uncleanliness so that I can still sleep a decent amount of time each night.

    Having hair that looks best when air-dried certainly helps. Also owning tops that don’t require ironing (though I prefer crisp blouses, I tend to just iron them all at once, meaning that there may be long periods without any of them wearable).

    Trying to combine several things at once, like: ironing + talking on phone. Commuting + exercise (when I used to cycle to work). Sex + socializing (same thing, really).

    Can you delegate any more of your life for someone else to do? Like housework, grocery shopping, dog walking, etc.? Maybe you should find some refugee kid to do all that and pay him with food scraps.

    I’m going to guess/hope that after the wedding’s over you’ll be able to sleep better, too. Surely the waking up at 3 am isn’t a normal thing: you don’t have a cat (mine wakes me up 4:30 am).

    And don’t expect so much of yourself. There are things to perfect and excel in and other things that really don’t matter. Decide what matters and concentrate on that.

  10. Ryan

    I too suffer from “the insomnia” which started around the time when I began the 9-to-5 grind after university. Three years later it’s still going strong. For me it’s all about getting to bed early which never happens except for a rare occasion about every two weeks I sleep a 12 hour shift. Wow does my attitude change when that happens. The very next day the cycle repeats.

    So if I put down my mouse and keyboard I think I can solve this problem. The only issue now is that I don’t want to do that just yet.

  11. Crissy

    Well, things could be worse – just imagine not having a dishwasher or insuite laundry!! It’s pretty lame, lemme tell ya … πŸ˜›

    But don’t worry, you will have more time once the wedding is over. It’s likely taking up way more time than you think it is. Hang in there!

  12. Helen

    The body shop has a small super absorbant towel, and I find if you wrap your hair in those it will cut drying time in half.

  13. Sue

    First, if it makes you feel any better, I often ask myself “how does Jen manage to have her hair and makeup and clothing look so awesome all the time? And her house is always clean when I come over. How does she do it?” So even if you feel like a duck (smooth on the surface, paddling frantically underneath) rest assured that you have at least some of us fooled. *grin*

    When me and the hubby were both working, the housekeeper was SUCH a good thing. I’m considering having another one, as soon as we get through the current mayhem. Some people are cut out for keeping their own house clean, and others aren’t: PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS.

    Ease up on your self-expectations. What I try to do is choose something I’m going to care about a lot for a few weeks, and let everything else slide. Right now it’s sleep, so the dishes go undone and the laundry is all over the place, but I’m practicing good sleep hygiene (and working on getting Simon to sleep in his own bed too!). In a few weeks, I’m sure the focus will shift to something else (Artos is hoping it involves a presence in the kitchen but I’m making no promises). I have a few “non-negotiables” like the toilet and sink MUST be cleaned at least once a week, but those things take all of 2 minutes.

    You can’t meet all of your self-expectations all of the time without going absolutely batshit. And besides, if you did score perfect all the time you’d be an incredibly boring person and we’d all hate you. πŸ˜€

    After your wedding, cut your hair off again. πŸ˜€ The shorter it gets, the less time it takes to get ready. And the world needs more short-haired people, hee hee. Of course I may be biased.

  14. Derek K. Miller

    I’m less concerned that you can’t get some stuff done than that you, like many people, seem to be running on too little proper sleep and too much other stress. Waking up for a time in the middle of the night actually seems to be a natural human event — it used to be called “the Watch,” and divided “first sleep” from “second sleep”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segmented_sleep

    Like an afternoon siesta, the Watch got squeezed out of most people’s lives in modern Western societies with the prevalence of artificial lighting and regimented work schedules that ignore sunrise and sunset. It’s still common in non-industrial societies, apparently.

    If you wake up and are not actually agitated, it might be worth embracing the wakefulness and maybe reading a book or doing something else, or just thinking rather than stressing about not being asleep, since you seem to be getting at least a tolerable amount of shut-eye if you go to bed at 10 and get up at 7-ish. On the other hand, it sounds like you might be sleep-deprived if you’re dragging in the morning and falling asleep on the couch at night.

    You’re also working nine and a half hour days, from the looks of it — that’s pretty much a full extra day’s work on top of a 40-hour workweek that might otherwise go to things you enjoy, or your hair, or whatever. You may not be able to change that right now, but you should be aware that’s what you’re doing: it’s something like a month and a half over the course of the year. Excluding business trips. My workplace has a nap room, and if it’s possible (and doesn’t disrupt the hair too much), as little as 20 minutes’ rest (not necessarily sleep) in the day can help:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siesta#Biological_need_for_naps

    Some of the stress and time pressure are likely from the wedding planning — what a curse our expectations are for weddings, especially when planning for a one-day event gets stretched out over months and months and the wedding industry pressure is for things to be Just So — so maybe that will ease afterwards.

    I don’t have any real solutions here, but I’m sensing some rat-race undertones here, even if you do like your job, and that might not be good in the long term.

  15. Chrstina

    If you can’t manage to get up in time to wash and blowdry your hair, wash and dry it before you go to bed. This, admittedly is only possible if you have a style that isn’t too high maintenance. My hair is poker straight and doesn’t require a whole lot of styling.

    Also, don’t wash it every day if possible. I wash my hair every three days. It looks fine but I don’t use a lot of product. I usually wear it up in ponytails on day three.

    I freelance and work from home so my schedule is pretty flexible. I have committed to keeping more or less the same schedule as my clients though (M-F 9-5), but it’s a lot easier to accomplish daily tasks like dog walking, grocery shopping, etc when you live close to shops and parks are already home. No commute. I highly recommend it. Maybe your work would be open to you working from home one day a week? Can you do flexi work, you know, stay late two or three days a week and take a Friday off every two weeks?

    It looks like your alarm goes off 75 minutes before you actually get up. How about trying to sleep until 7:15 and give yourself the extra time to snooze uninterrupted. You probably won’t fall asleep on the couch in the evenings then. It’s amazing what one more hour will do for your energy. You might not even need coffee in the mornings.

    I’ve never planned a wedding but it sounds difficult and very time consuming. I’m thinking your time will free up once the big day has come and gone. And didn’t you just move into a new apartment? You need to go easy on yourself Peechie. Cut yourself some slack.

    Lunch hours and coffee breaks are great for making calls, planning appointments, etc. I would use those to your advantage. If your work is anywhere near grocery stores, go do a bit of shopping on your lunch break if you can.

  16. Maktaaq

    I agree with Derek and Christina. More sleep is needed and none of that snoozing business. Weddings are needlessly stressful thanks to the silly bridal industry. It continues somewhat after the wedding, what with writing thank yous, but generally that’s the part I think is more important than the stupid flowers and chair covers.

    Oh, what I would give for a nap room at work…mind you, knowing my luck this week, I would be interrupted every five minutes.

  17. peechie Post author

    I was trying to respond to everyone individually – but I was going to end up saying the same thing seven times over.

    It’s obvious that I’m striving for some self-imposed, unattainable standard. It’s okay for my house to be messy. It’s okay to look a bit unkempt some days. It’s okay to turn down invitations (not that I don’t already – I’ll just feel less guilty about it).

    First order of business upon returning home will definitely be to up the “hired help” quotient around here. My level of tolerance for dust and dirt are far too high to keep up with myself. Especially living with a hairy, dirty dog.

    Also, the wedding stuff really is probably taking more of a toll than I’m acknowledging. If I really think about it, I’m pretty much consumed with thoughts of tiny details during most waking hours.

    Hopefully the lack of wedding will also help with the lack of sleep, and I’ll become less acquainted with 3am infomercials.

    And for those concerned with my workload: not to worry. I really do work very reasonable hours, for a very reasonable company. I don’t have any set hours I must be in, or even must work for that matter. I put in anywhere from 30 to 50 hours a week, depending on what needs doing. We’re measured solely on results, not “time-at-desk.” I run plenty of errands during “working hours” during the week.

    Most of my crazy these days is planning to be absent for 3 weeks, and putting together enough background info and project plans to delegate while I’m gone, attending umpteen wedding-related appointments which are rarely tough to take (oh no, another dress-fitting where I’m told how pretty I look, or going to the spa *again*?).

    So yes. I definitely need to be less hard on myself, realize I can have everything I want if I change how I expect to get it done, and get on that salon-quality blow-dryer thing.

  18. joann TX

    lets see, after 20 yrs in the same industry, just different locations i am up for the work week at 4:10 A.M.
    out the door by 5:15
    i towel dry my hair and go/ minimal makeup.

    work an 8 hour day and try to catch the 3:30 bus out of town.
    getting home about 4:15.
    only me and the dog and i’ve got to get home a.s.a.p. to let him out!

    i’m in bed early, usually by 9:00 pm. but now its day light savings time? no telling that will bring?

    i too live just outside the city limits. … i wouldn’t call it the suburbs. but i do live in houston where the temps are a lot warmer, so the hair drys faster. and i just got it cut a lot shorter than i’m used to.

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