In Defense of Productivity

by Katy on September 8, 2009 · 3 comments

I like laying around and doing nothing as much as the next person, (more likely a little bit more.) I even write entire columns devoted to the subject. But sometimes, I really like to have an entire day devoid of activities so that I can blaze through a to-do list.

Today’s was my sons’ first day back at school. I was sad about their impending absence  and even had to take a moment and compose myself in front of the school this morning. They really are such good company.

The one thing I had not realized, was now that my kids are at the same school, I now have an two extra hours every day to myself.

Let me explain.

For the last two years, one son went to school from 8:00 A.M. – 2:15 P.M., while the other went from 9:15 A.M.- 3:45 P.M. This meant I only had from 9:00 A.M. – 2:10 P.M. each day to fill. With bus schedules what they are, I now have from 9:00 A.M. – 4:20 P.M.

This is a big difference.

Even with a new parent’s meeting and futzing around the house for awhile, I still had the most enormous amount of time to actually get some stuff accomplished.

  • I took a long walk, which included putting money in the bank. (Found a nickel.)
  • Cleaned the living and dining rooms.
  • Did a huge grocery shopping trip, which I hadn’t done for a couple of weeks. (Found a dime.)
  • Chatted on the phone with my sister, which featured a good gossip about mutual friends.
  • Made myself a lovely lunch, (toasted cheese with fresh garden tomatoes.)
  • Listened to Amy Tan’s Saving Fish From Drowning.
  • Stopped by the library and picked up the second season of Mad Men.
  • Made snacks for school lunches, (chocolate chip bran muffins and rice crispy treats to use up the marshmallows bought for our beach trip.)
  • I also goofed around on the computer and played a little online Scrabble, (totally addictive!) and even made pizza from scratch for dinner.

What’s my point here? There is something to be said for letting downtime be a priority, but there’s also something so cathartic about knocking out that to-do list.

But I actually think I may finally have time to prioritize both the productive and non-productive sides of myself.

This may seem obvious, but I’m going to point it out anyway. I have this much spare time because of the frugal choices I make on a daily basis that allow me to work 16 hours per week.

Do you get enough time to fulfill your downtime and uptime needs? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie September 9, 2009 at 5:55 am

Great post! Sounds like you had a productive, yet fun day. I have a question, though, about being able to work 16 hours. Does your husband/partner work full-time? I’m working full-time right now b/c my hubby is in a PhD program and can only work (very) part-time. I’d love to lessen the amount I work, but I fear that we wouldn’t be able to survive. I’d be interested in your insights/discussion regarding being able to reduce the amount that you work as a family. LOVElovelove your blog:).


Karen September 9, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Interesting question. I’d love to work less too but would lose our health benefits. It’s frustrating that this “out of my control” factor determines so much. Still, I know I am lucky to even have a job during these times.


Melissa September 12, 2009 at 1:28 pm

My youngest is just about to start preschool, so I’ll have a couple of hours, a couple of days a week in which to do stuff (when I’m not parent-helping because it’s a co-op), and you are inspiring me!


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