How Do You Fit It All In? #4

The fourth instalment in a series in which I answer the ongoing question “How do you fit it all in?”, which people ask me when I tell them what I do.


I woke up feeling less than stellar, but not as bad as I’d feared. I decided to skip swimming since I had a meeting in the afternoon and I wanted to make sure I had the energy for it.

I spent the morning working, mainly on client stuff which needed to be done. I was feeling very behind on everything, which was a pain, and I also wasn’t feeling very productive.

After a while I stopped client work and instead wrote my post about the British Book Awards, since it was scheduled to go out the following day and I hadn’t completed it yet. This is unusual: normally I write my blog posts a week in advance, but since my body’s been a bitch lately I’ve been falling behind with things.

In the afternoon I wandered to the café at the garden centre, where I had a business meeting over lunch. Then I walked home, feeling increasingly like I was melting in the heat. I’m not very good in the sun.

When I got home I had a couple of client calls. I’d been itching to get in the pool all day, but by the time my call finished I realised just how exhausted I was, so I had a quick bath and got into bed instead. I started reading The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong, and it’s so gripping that I was annoyed with myself for falling asleep. In the end I had to surrender to slumber, though, since I was just too tired to concentrate.


Woke up, went swimming, came home, started work. I made a conscious decision not to panic about how far behind I am with everything, and instead to just work down my Omnifocus forecast until I’m up to date again.

I got pretty far down, actually. I did all the things that were overdue, and all bar three of the things that’d originally been on the list for Tuesday. I find it much easier to work when I set myself time limits, but only if they’re not arbitrarily defined. In Tuesday’s case I set alarms for various points throughout the day: just before I had to leave for an appointment; the time I’d have to go to the pool if I also wanted to go to choir; and the time I had to leave for choir rehearsal. This meant I wasn’t clock-watching throughout the day but instead was working in shortish bursts of productivity until an alarm went off and told me I should start doing something else.

In the evening I went to choir, then came home and finished The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong. IT WAS SO GOOD. When I discovered she’s written other books, I immediately wanted to read them. Apparently this is the first to have been translated into English, but others have been translated into French and German, so I might visit one of the local French bookshops and see if I can pick some up.


Woke up, watered my plants, went swimming, came home, realised I’d left the door unlocked, went to buy eggs + bananas at the supermarket and came home with an entire bag of food, sat down to work, decided to make a coffee, forgot to put the coffee grounds in the cafetière. I think it’s going to be one of those days.

I got quite a bit done despite my brain not fully functioning, and then over lunch I studied for my theory test, which is next week and I am in no way ready. I might have to postpone it. I then had a driving lesson and I drove on the West Cromwell Road! It’s huge. And scary.


When I got home I was a nervous wreck so I did some singing to try to calm myself down. I thought it’d worked but then directly after I’d finished I seemed to be pouring myself a large glass of wine, so perhaps not.

I spent the evening in bed going through my Feedly, which is how I keep up to date with all the wonderful blogs I follow. Then I put on Scrubs in the background and fell asleep at some point.


I woke up feeling like I’d had a bit too much wine, but Drunk Scar had bought Sober Scar a tiramisu to find in the morning so that was quite exciting.

I started the day by writing a review of a digital forensics book, then sat down to work out what I still had to do from several days ago. The #1 thing was blog content for the next week and a half, so that was what I focused on for the rest of the day.

I worked pretty much non-stop from when I got up in the morning to when I went to bed. I took a brief break to go to the supermarket and pick up some garlic, and then another one to have some tomato soup for dinner. By the time I finished work it was 8pm, so past my bedtime; I’d actually been working from bed for most of the day, so I just changed position and watched Despicable Me, which people have been recommending for years.


I’d fallen asleep at the end of Despicable Me 2, having fallen head-over-heels for the character of Gru, who basically is me: someone who wants to think he’s a badass but whose heart completely melts when he reads a story about kittens to a bunch of parentless kids.

I woke up, went through to my kitchen office, and worked on client projects until the early afternoon. At 2pm I went swimming and for once had the entire spa area – pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna – to myself. I did twice my normal amount of swimming and spent some time relaxing in the steam room and jacuzzi too.

When I got home I had lunch / dinner / whatever you call it when you eat for the second time at 5pm, and then checked through my emails. There wasn’t anything super urgent. I had a client call with America, created a to-do list from that, added it to my master to-do list, then got into bed with the remainder of my work for the day.

The late afternoon / evening’s work involved repetitive tasks that used no brainpower. I like these because they give me a chance to listen to podcasts while I work. My current favourites are History of Philosophy and Let Me Google That.

At about nine I decided that’d do for the day, and I watched Despicable Me 3 followed by Minions. I think that’s all there is for now. My life will be Gru-less until the next instalment comes out.


I woke up, had that delicious feeling that since it was the weekend I didn’t have to get up, rolled over and went back to sleep. I woke up again a few hours later and decided to spend the morning catching up on my to-do list, which had taken a beating during the week but still hadn’t been completed.

Work was easy: editing some web pages for one of my clients using some simple HTML. It took a few hours, and then I wandered lazily through the house. Arriving in the living room, I realised just how much my tomato plants had grown. “Any minute now they’ll fall off the windowsill,” I thought to myself. And then they did.

Since I was standing near them anyway, I managed to lunge and grab them before the earth scattered everywhere, and all they suffered were a couple of broken limbs. Now that they were standing on the ground, however, I could see that they were almost as tall as me.

When I stepped back, they leaned drunkenly towards me: they couldn’t stand on their own. The stakes I’d bought originally were only a couple of feet high and they must have been being supported by the windows for the past couple of weeks, during which time they’d shot up to their current towering heights.

I leaned them against the wall, changed into some non-pyjama clothes, stuck some classical music on for the tomato plants to listen to while I was out, and headed to the garden centre. There I bought some five foot tall stakes, and explained what had happened to the person who served me.

“They sound like monster tomatoes!” she said. “What variety did you buy?”
“I dunno, I just picked them up from Wilko.”

She gave me an incredulous look, and I wondered if my mother hadn’t been exaggerating when she said it sounded like my tomatoes were supernaturally enthusiastic.

The plants were still leaning tiredly against the wall when I got home a while later. I switched from instrumental classical music to the list of songs we’re currently rehearsing in choir, and sang opera to them as I inserted the bamboo stakes into the soil and tied them to the plants with twine. Then I topped up their water trays with tomato feed and stood singing to them for another hour, just to encourage them out of their pots a little more.

Not that they need encouragement, it would appear.

Looking at the clock I realised it was 7pm, which meant I had just enough time to fit in a swim. I’d been planning not to go, since I’d woken up with a nosebleed which is a classic sign of too much clorine in your nasal passages, but I could hardly resist. Plus, on Friday I’d swum backstroke, which is the easiest way to get nosebleeds from swimming, so today I’d stick to breaststroke and all would be fine.

It was indeed fine, and I arrived home an hour or so later feeling quite content. I had a nice bath and read Let It Go by Clare Mackintosh, which was pretty good, and then got into bed.

At the moment I seem to be watching a lot of movies, which isn’t like me at all, but for some reason I had the urge again on Saturday night, so I watched Hampstead which turned out to be a lovely film, and then I fell asleep.


Woke up, rolled over, went back to sleep. Woke up again a few hours later, stayed lying down, read a book. Eventually was forced out of bed by needing the loo. Went to the loo. Made coffee. Picked up laptop from kitchen. Got back into bed.

One of my computers was in the kitchen, fiddling around with some videos I needed to download and then upload and then put somewhere else. It was a frustrating 2TB-worth of work and it took eleven hours, but at least it’s done now.

Naturally it was the high-powered laptop that had to do the difficult work, so I was left with the little purple HP Stream to do the less taxing work on. I spent most of the day sitting in bed with that one, mainly writing blog posts. Once every half hour or so I’d go upstairs to fiddle around with the videos on the other laptop, and switch laundry loads or do some washing up or clean the bathroom.

Bed + work + wine = good.

At one point I wandered into the living room and looked despairingly at the few little bits of wallpaper that still need to come off the walls. About 30% of me was like, c’mon scar, just turn the steamers on and get it done. But the other 70% was like… or you could just go back to bed and hire someone to finish it for you next week. The 70% won.

By 8pm I was back in bed and asleep. I say “back in bed” but really I never got up. Not properly, anyway. By midnight I was awake again, and now it’s 2:08am and I’m finishing off my blog posts for the next couple of weeks.


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