I've made it a point lately to read the newspaper (or a book, or a magazine) in the morning with my coffee rather than jump straight onto the computer. I was up watching the Presidential debate on Monday while simultaneously working on the podcast website, and ended up staying up until 11:30. When I did finally go to bed, it was immediately after I'd turned off the laptop and brushed my teeth. My head was spinning when I laid down. I slept horribly, and was tired all day yesterday.
Mia has started tracking my good and bad days in her calendar. A good day - one in which I sleep through the night and wake up feeling refreshed and excited - is marked with a small smiley face. A bad day - when I wake up feeling like I never went to sleep, and have trouble catching my breath - gets a sad face.
I feel like I get more smiley faces when I'm on the boat (I was going to start that sentence with the word "oddly," but its really not odd at all). During the six weeks we spent crossing the Atlantic with Kinship earlier this spring, and then the eight weeks on Arcturus at the end of the summer, I felt refreshed and energized all the time (well, maybe not during the first few days of a passage. But once I settle in, I'm usually good to go).
There is a theme here. On the boat, I rarely spend time on the computer, and that's only when an article is due. I'm focused, in the moment, enjoying myself. And I sleep soundly at night.
At the moment, I'm involved in a million different projects. The Ocean Research Project non-profit. My Two Inspired Guys podcast with Ryan. The Caribbean 1500 (I'm writing this from Hampton, VA. The event program starts on Saturday and the fleet is due to sail on November 4). My own writing.
I love them all, and therein lies the problem. I get so caught up in what I'm doing that I spend way too much time on it (and not enough time focusing on the other parts of my life that need focusing on - namely exercise and sleep). The danger is that by spending too much time on too many things, none of them will ever realize the full potential. I'll have a myriad of mediocre projects.
I'm having trouble compartmentalizing everything right now. It's all mixed together, and most of it is done online (which is a blessing and a curse at the same time). It's harder to stay in the moment, harder to focus on one thing and harder to unfocus when I want to do fun stuff, or relax (or sleep).
Installing the Cape Horn windvane
I kind of have that same feeling I had in the summer of 2011 when Mia and I were working on getting Arcturus ready for the Atlantic crossing. Back then, work was real - it was 8-4pm at Southbound Yacht Rigging in Annapolis. I could mentally forget about it when I wasn't physically there. But work on the boat was something else entirely. We had so many projects going at the same time it was impossible to focus. Windvane installation. New rig. New chainplates. Insulate the cabin. Fix the centerboard. Convert from wheel to tiller steering. It was overwhelming, and I slept like crap that summer too (and to top it off, we were getting up at 5:00am to train for a half-Ironman triathlon). I was exhausted, and miserable.
Me and mom splicing the windvane control lines en route to Nova Scotia
There is a solution here, and it's (hopefully) going to start with Mia's smiley faces. To that end, I'm creating a 'workday' and forcing myself to stay off the computer outside of my 'work' hours, which I've roughly sketched out as 8 in the morning until 6 at night. I did it last night, and went to bed at 9:00pm after reading about China's new leadership in TIME magazine. I slept great, and I'm a ball of energy today, and even went to the gym this morning.
I feel like I have to emphasize that I love all of this. I love being busy, I love being involved in all this cool, creative stuff, and I love spending time on it. But as with everything else, there has to be a balance to make it all work. Right now my sleep and my fitness is suffering (I've gained five pounds since the marathon ten days ago). Time to change.