Sleep Bank

Although Ezra’s stillbirth two and a half years ago prevents me from counting chickens at this stage, Laura’s impending due date in December has nudged me into a contemplative mood.

One object of contemplation is time. I’m told that my free time is due to take a nosedive come December. I already feel like I’m too short on time. Between a full-time job, my modest almost-weekly scuba diving (three or four hours when it happens), and standard issue home economics (money management, grocery shopping, cooking, and other household management), I have very little free time for projects (like blogging, and writing fiction) and a social life that I consider “important” but which are obviously secondary.

Hardly a day goes by where I don’t marvel at someone else’s ability to juggle a 50-60 hour a week job, creative projects, social relationships, and a media diet that far exceeds my own. Although I don’t feel as though I’m wasting my time anywhere, I don’t see how I can’t have a minute to spare and others can accomplish so much more than I do.

I have identified two factors working against me: I truly need at least seven hours a night of sleep, if I’m to be mentally effective, and I tend to execute creative projects in time slots of 90 minutes or more. I imagine that most hypercreative busy people can use much shorter time slots, and operate on less sleep.

I’m reminded of several years ago, where many of my co-workers seemed to have endless money to go out, go to concerts, buy clothing, and generally consume broadly if not conspicuously. By contrast, I just didn’t feel that I had the money to indulge in all of these things. Where was their money coming from? Sure, some of them were probably digging themselves deep holes of credit, but not all were. Later I realized that I was putting a full 10% of my salary into my 401K, and that perhaps in addition to credit, my colleagues weren’t putting aside enough money for a rainy day.

Unfortunately, I’m not “banking” sleep, or if I am, I’m overtaken by inflation and bank fees.

Here’s hoping that taking care of an infant will teach me how to be effective on less sleep and work in smaller time increments. (And here’s hoping that all goes well enough that this is the problem I want to solve.)