The Struggle Is Real: Power Hour

power hour
The (handmade, terribly thoughtful) holiday gift from my sister—a pottery box with my favorite Avett Brothers lyric + my favorite animal—that I hadn't acknowledged with a proper thank you note. Not cool, Dimity, not cool.

I was struck down by the sinus crud for two-ish weeks. Grateful it wasn't the flu, I vacillated between feeling decent-ish and wanting to lie on my side, instruct my one of my kiddos to get the power drill, and have them take it to my temple so I could drain.all.the.mucus.

I didn't exercise for about two weeks, which was the right call physically—lord knows, there isn't enough chlorine to kill the snot snakes I was producing—but was tough mentally, especially when I was feeling semi-normal. I missed the regular taste of accomplishment, the crispness and momentum of finishing a task that I might not have necessarily wanted to start, but once I got it, I was so glad I did.

I did use the time to go on a little Gretchen Rubin streak; I have tried to read her books before, but something just didn't click for me. But Ellie Kempton, nutritional guru in the Train Like a Mother Club, regularly refers to different strategies Better than Before, Rubin's book about creating habits that stick, so I gave it another go.

Two things stuck with me:
First, writing down a daily schedule. Time for writing. Time for social media. Time for exercise. (Easy to lose when you're not on a specific training plan.) If I don't put a time around things (either a specific time or an amount of time), I tend to let one thing (usually social media) gobble up hours without even realizing it.

Power Hour

Second, the Power Hour, 60 minutes of time that she devotes on a regular basis to tasks that don't have a deadline, yet somehow never seem to disappear from the todo list (and, as such, continually demand mental energy). Because she speaks the truth when she writes, Nothing is more exhausting than the task that is never started.

I commenced a Power Hour on a Saturday morning, and tackled these exciting (albeit disgusting) chores:
—Cleaning out the bathtub drain with a tweezers (my daughter's hair is crazy thick; despite having a plastic "cap" on the drain, plenty of stragglers get through
—Cleaning out the compost bin in the kitchen (to be sure, I do this pretty regularly, but I dread it)
—Dropping off a pile of toys + too-small clothes at Goodwill (a 3-minute drive from our house)
—Writing a way overdue thank-you note (and finally removing my tail from between my legs)
—Registering 11yo for two summer camps (slightly deadline-ish, but there was wiggle room)

I gotta say, it felt surprisingly good to pull clumps of hair out (and not have to buy another bottle of Draino), get rid of the Goodwill piles sitting next to the door, actually put some words on paper that I have composed in my head for weeks.

I checked my watch regularly as I whirred through the tasks. The challenge of getting in all of it within an hour was oddly thrilling, in the same way that going to a new grocery store is thrilling. (Will they have different flavors of my favorite yogurt? The suspense!)

Was my first Power Hour the same as soaking a sports bra? Not quite. But it was beyond lovely to have those tasks cleared from my mental slate. I highly recommend it, especially if you have the sinus crud or another sidelining situation.

I'm back to exercising, so my head is now clear in more ways that one. But not for long...I'm slowly accumulating tasks for my next Power Hour.

Have you Power Hour'ed before? If not, what's your strategy for getting to those tasks you'd rather not do?

5 responses to “The Struggle Is Real: Power Hour

  1. Thanks, Dimity. I can hear your voice too when I read your posts. I’ve read one of Gretchen’s books but not this one. I could probably use it. I like her podcast. She and her sister keep the conversation going at a nice pace for heart rate training.

  2. I NEED to add this power hour back into my life! My “someday this stuff will get done but it’s going to have to get done by itself” list is LONG. I love hearing Dimity’s voice in my head when I read it too… and I’m kinda sad ya’ll will be in SF in May when I CAN’T come down to see you because that’s my kids 16th birthday. Boo. Maybe next year a retreat or race unless you come to Sac or something.

  3. An hour sounds daunting to me at times (when not talking about running haha)… so I’ve found that if I do 15 minute chunks I do much better. I’ve followed the method for about 15 years now, and she’s huge on setting a timer for 15 – “you can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes.” I also have an anti-procrastination day several times a year – where I plan to do all that I have been putting off.

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s important stuff. xo

  4. Yes, I do enjoy the power hour when I remember to do it! By the way, Gretchen’s podcast, “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” is really good too.

  5. A Bamr book club just finished reading the Gretchen Rubin book “The Four Tendencies”. It was eye-opening. I need to read her other books.

    That giraffe is beautiful! What a wonderful, thoughtful and meaningful gift. It embodies the spirit of gift-giving in every way. And it sounds like you’re embracing its message. You’re still a leader and role model for all of us, Dimity. For most of us, there will come a time when running is more damaging than helping and you’re showing us how to adapt with grace.

    Thanks for all you do for us. Xoxoxo

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