Time for something new

tips for time management

Unless you count the obsessive speed with which I can power through two seasons of Sherlock in one weekend (in addition to a full social calendar, a movie and six episode of House of Cards), I can’t really boast “efficient” and “productive” as two words consistently high on the list for how I spend my personal time.

For instance, continuing my Italian education has been a goal of mine since college. My old textbook and verb tense flash cards taunt me from my bedroom bookshelf, but somehow seem to require far too much effort to actually pick up when the time to do so presents itself. The next How I Met Your Mother episode on the other hand? My Netflix’s placeholder at the end of Season 6 speaks for itself.

But with a glass of Turkish wine in hand and the glowing Bosphorous Bridge in the distance, I turned to my roommate during our trip and told her I knew what my next Big Goal is…making time for getting back to really learning Italian. Now, I’m fully aware the likelihood of me knowing Italian in Texas isn’t exactly going to break down language barriers anytime soon. For me, it’s more about the personal achievement and the satisfaction of *finally* following through. And if planning another trip to Italy becomes the ultimate reward for my efforts…well I think I can live with that.

Most people have way more free time than they think they do (according to Fast Company) and I’m guilty, too. These three words (also from Fast Company – are you picking up on my other obsession?) have gone a long way in inspiring me to re-evaluate how I spend my time and how I can make more of it or just feel like I do: Protect, Delegate, Automate.

  • Protect your time. My parents always told me as I rushed out the door breakfast, make-up bag and shoes in hand that I don’t give myself enough time for anything I do, resulting in over-scheduling and chronic late arrivals. After experiencing a pathological amount of “really bad traffic,” I had to admit that maybe there’s a tiny bit of validity to their observation. While all this running about is great for calorie burning, saying no every now and then and allocating more time for everything can go a long way in building in both more free time and more energy to make the most of that time. Another Fast Company article held advice from a CEO who never schedules meetings or plans to do any work on Fridays, therefore building in plenty of availability for when things pop up or get shifted. Interessante.
  • Delegate. I place a lot of responsibility on myself in the form of personal tasks, work and guilt, which don’t always need to be mine to take. Asking myself, “Do I really need to be doing that or can someone else excel at it, handle it or learn from it?” has gone a long way in helping my work team to succeed, my stress to subside, my trust in others to grow and finally, my to do list to shrink along with the time spent thinking about it.
  • Automate. What do you do often that can be streamlined to free up actual time and/or mental time? For me, this means setting up automatic bill payments, text reminders about non-automatic payments, email rules, calendar reminders on my phone for everything from taking out the trash to replying to an email…I think you get the idea.

Now all that’s left is to finally do it! I think I’m going to commit to one Italian session a week through the end of the year…that’s only 10, which is totally do-able. Google searching “learn Italian for free” has led to a few helpful resources, and of course, I always have those trusty flash cards waiting patiently.

Un giorno molto Italiano

“A very Italian day”

Today was a very Italian day, which is to say, I was in my element.

After going on weeks of eating out for every meal due to a gas leak in our old-fashioned oven (ah, the charming joys of old home ownership), I enjoyed a fresh lunch thrown together from cucumbers and basil from my mother’s garden, olive oil and a pinch (or two) of salt. Heaven in my mouth, I tell you.

The offending appliance.

I followed my summer lunch with a glass of “just got home from work during a stressfully short week” wine and what I’ll just call a ‘highly passionate’ conversation. My roommate and I ended the night with a long walk in our new tree-lined neighborhood (dare I say…passeggiata?) and gelato before dinner – also known as sorbet for my dairy-free self. It was literally all I could do to keep from telling the generous sample-giving high schooler behind the counter, “Posso avere un piccolo con limone e anguria, per favore.”

I don’t know if it’s all the Under the Tuscan Sun I’ve been reading lately, nostalgia or just my genes taking over (one can only hope), but I am always up for incorporating a little more Italiano in daily life. In my experience, the Italians are all about appreciating the little things, pacing themselves through life, loving on those around them and of course, doing it all with good food, wine and friends.

While Italy is a place that I miss often, days like this remind me it is also a mindset. Despite all odds, I can look back on my day now and see the good, which makes me breathe just a little easier and makes me feel like “Tiffany’s” might not be so out of reach after all.


Eat good food. Om nom nom.

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I’ve had quite the delicious weekend. It began with a birthday dinner on Friday, the boyfriend and parents meet and greet on Saturday, and an amazing brunch today. I was so terribly spoiled. Although I did a terrible job of taking any photos while I ate, I feel a need to divulge my  #foodporn adventures nonetheless. I also had the added bonus of great company for each meal – see what I mean? So spoiled.

For the Friday birthday, we went to Lark on the Park.

We started with a few bottles of Prosecco before diving into our meals. I had the Wild Mushrooms House-made Pappardelle spinach, creme fraiche and Parmasan. It was so amazing. The pasta is homemade and thick. Lark also specializes in supporting local artist and has 6 huge chalkboards that feature selected artist. Every few months new artists and their work are selected, and the chalkboards are changed up. It has a very urban and modern feel to it, with relatively high prices to match. In fact, as an added bonus, the birthday girl had a piece of work up on the wall!

On Saturday the parents and the boyfriend went to Farnatchis.

Farnatchi’s is a family favorite. Whenever my parents are in downtown around dinner time, this is where they go. The place is small so there is usually just one or two fulltime waitstaff. My parents visited here so frequently that they got to know the waitress and she remembered their orders and name. The new waiter of the restaurant is also super friendly and good hearted. Which only adds to the positive experience. The food was heaven. I had the lemon chicken special and never looked back. The chicken was so tender and went delightfully well with the cabernet my parents brought. Not to mention, the family and the boyfriend got a long great- phew.

Sunday afternoon my amiga and I went to Odd Fellows in the Bishops Arts District.

When we put our names on the list, they told us it would be an hour. But a girl at one of the galleries assured us it was going to be well worth our wait. She wasn’t kidding. First off, this place is adorable. My roommate and Sarah have both raved about this place, so my expectations were high and were easily met if not exceeded! I had the eggs benedict. Oh. My. God. Luckily it was 2 PM and the only thing that was in my stomach was a 9 AM banana, so I had no problem fitting that whole plate into my tum tum (not that this is ever a problem for me if we’re being honest). The food was so amazing, that I enjoyed a fantastic food coma upon my return to my bed.

Now I am fully aware this doesn’t exactly go along with my dedication to the diet. But don’t you worry, I made up for my binges on my other meals and work outs. Who can turn down amazing food? Not this girl.