Right now I’m overwhelmed with my research. My pipeline is messed up in that there’s too many new projects and not enough in the under review or even draft stage. I feel pulled in all different directions. And lots of things aren’t going smoothly. This means I’ve been having a lot of anxiety dreams (last night’s was that we’d gone on vacation and couldn’t remember if we’d left food and water out for the cats!)
So this morning I was musing, maybe we should do a no sugar challenge. The kids got awfully sugary cereal after we decided that cereal bars was too much like having cake for breakfast. (Cereal bars had initially been planned as a rare once in a while when they need food-to-go breakfst but soon we were going through 14 bars a week.) There’s so much added sugar in everything. We should stop cold-turkey just to see what we come up with. Of course, each time I’ve been trying to get pregnant or have been pregnant we’ve had no-added-sugar in the house, so it would really be more of a reminder challenge than a voyage of discovery challenge.
Then I wandered onto Mint. What if DH stays unemployed long term, I thought. How are we going to handle money? Maybe we should do a no-spend challenge to see how low we could go. I mean, there’s the $750/mo for daycare which will be going away except for more expensive day camps in the summer, but can we still stay under my take-home pay? What do we spend all that money on anyway? Do we even know? Let’s say for the sake of easy mental math, that my take-home pay is $6K, but that’s only for 9 months, which means we’d need to spend under $4.5K/month over a 12 month period. According to mint, we’ve spent under my (actual) prorated take-home pay in January and February, but not so much the rest of the year. But how much of the difference is reimbursed business expenses? Let’s see, Utilities average $300, Groceries average $800 (though we could certainly cut there), restaurants $300 (could also be cut), gas $100, entertainment $100, a nebulous “shopping” category (which includes some of DH’s reimbursable work expenses) is $700, and then there’s this huge nebulous “other” which includes a jumble of insurance, work expenses, taxes, car repair, dentist, kid’s activities, yard stuff, and so much more. I don’t even know where to start separating that stuff out. And when we’re not spending close to my take-home pay, it doesn’t really matter. Is it worth sorting out right now? Probably not. What would make the most sense would be to keep an eye on how much we have to transfer from savings to checking each month and if we never end up spending down too much of our savings or hitting the emergency fund, we can continue to not pay attention.
Of course, all of these potential challenges take time and mental energy away from the real problem, which is that I need to get a handle on my work. I need to finish papers and get them out so they’re no longer taking up mental space and keep my head above water on everything else.
So I don’t think I’ll be doing any of these challenges. I shouldn’t even be typing this post now. Except I’ve done it which means it’s off my mind and I have one fewer thing for my brain to try to distract me with when it should really be trying to make sense of the work I have before me.