Between the time I logged off my computer at the end of a work day last week and logged back on the next morning, I received 20 emails. Not an alarming number, but quite enough for the overnight. What I receive during the work day varies, but one thing’s for sure: there’s a lot to manage. Day or night.
More than I have time for.
And I’m really not managing all that well, truth be told. A fly-by read at 10 a.m. is almost always buried by the 3 p.m. inbox viewing, for example. So sometimes, I’ve been misremembering important dates, directives, deadlines, apppointments, and meetings or worse … not remembering at all. And folks wait … probably much too long … for my responses.
It’s hard to stay on top of the inbox and just as hard to find time to write for the outbox. Read. Act. File. Respond. Unsubscribe. Delete. The verbs of email. Notice “manage” is not among them.
So I scheduled a 45 minute chunk of time to do just that. Manage. In less than 60 minutes, here’s what happened:
Over 150 emails deleted
4 emails received responses
13 meetings/dates/deadlines recorded in calendar
2 emails filed in ongoing folders
3 notes taken for future action
2 emails printed for future action
Forty-three emails remain in my inbox, acting at this point as a filing cabinet of sorts. I’ll be needing to do something with those 43, just not today. I don’t want to file them … because out of sight, out of mind… so they’re in an email limbo of sorts, and I’m okay with that.
So here’s the new email plan I’m promising to live by:
I will only check email when I have the time to act on its contents, i.e., Read. Act. File. Respond. Unsubscribe. Delete. And manage.
There’s still corn at the farmer’s market, so chow-da’s on the menu tonight. Partnered with BLTs, it’s one of my husband’s favorites. As soups go, his preference runs toward a good chowder, and he’ll eat just about anything between two slices of bread.
More and more often, I’m cooking with what’s fresh, what’s in season, what’s whole, and healthy. I consider it our grand good fortune to live in an area with a number of farms nearby. In Vermont, the source of my new and most favorite cookbook, there’s farms aplenty and a hard-working, home-grown mindset I love.
from Kimball Brook Farm, a certified organic dairy farm in the Champlain Valley
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
5 cups low-sodium chicken stock, plus extra as needed
3 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 bay leaf
6 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 6 to 7 ears corn)
4 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh chopped basil – extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoon fresh choped dill – extra for garnish
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Leave the bacon drippings in the pot Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter, onion, and celeter; cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
educe the heat o medium-low and sprinkle the flour, celery salt, t teaspoon salt, and white pepper over the vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, increase the heat to medium-high, add the potatoes and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 8 minutes.
Add the corn kernels, milk, basil, and dill and return to a simmer. Continue cooking until the corn is just tender, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the diced bacon, and extra basil or dill, if desired, and serve.
My husband tells me I leave a trail behind me wherever I go. Bags. Books. Projects. Clothing. The deeper I get in the work week, the longer the trail. Our bedroom gets looking like a locker room, and the kitchen counter’s in piles of disarray.
Life goes on, hence the trail.
Life stacks up too. I could tell you about the laundry pile, the work pile, the bill pile, and the to-be-read pile. I’m sure you have some such versions of your own, so you probably don’t need to hear about mine.
Make no mistake: I’m all about order, but there’s only so many hours in a day (and I probably need to note that I’m none too perky during some of them.) Scheduling life helps. (I wrote about it here.)When push comes to shove, or I’m pulled in one way or pushed in another, order’s a little low on the priority list.
If you think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, however, I’m pretty knee-deep in self-actualization (achieving one’s full potential, including creativity,) which is a step higher on the pyramid than esteem needs (prestige and feelings of accomplishment.)
So it’s all good. But back to the trail.
Here’s a little trail I’m leaving behind here, so you know what I’ve been up to:
exploring in northernmost New Hampshire … all the wilderness a girl could want, and then some. We stayed here where you have your choice of accomodations from the lodge to your own lakeside log cabin. The food at both the Rainbow Grille and Tavern is just this side of scrumptious with a shot of tranquility all around.
shooting photography here, there, and everywhere … according to my husband, I spent 45 minutes taking photographs of frost-covered grass in Pittsburg, but that’s an unsubstantiated claim. Meanwhile … I’m back at studying my favorite creative outlet at our local evening adult education program. (See above link to Hierarchy of Needs and Self-Actualization.) I’m also using this book for reference.
writing about childhood memories with my Nana … picture book?
decorating for fall, and eventually Thanksgiving with pumpkins large and small, orange and white, dried Chinese lanterns, gourds, burgundy-colored eucalyptus .. and of course, candles … Did you know Walmart sellsthese in a 12-pack?
I hope you’re all well and pursuing your own trails! I’ll be around and about as I have time or something to say.