I completed my sixth top for the Summer Top Project, and it does indeed look as though I’m ready for bridge at the retirement home.

I’m going to wear it anyway, at least on the weekends. We can’t be vain, can we?

I’m reading Julie Morgenstern’s Never Check E-Mail In the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work. I have a problem with work/life balance. Even though I work efficiently and am very productive, I still end up working ten and twelve hour days.

#1 daughter says it’s Parkinson’s Law: work expands to fill the time available. So if I make less time available for work, then I’ll still get it done, but have time for other things.

I kind of feel like I have to meet deadlines and that’s the reason that I have to work so much. However, I also agree that working that much is not a sustainable business model. I’m too old to be working really hard now in the expectation that I’ll get rich and retire early.

I’m also too old to ignore my health, and age has nothing to do with the importance of spending time with friends and family and taking time for things you enjoy.

It’s possible that Top #6 is causing me to think about how old I am.

However, I really want to be able to take weekends off without feeling as though I’m behind for the entire next week.

So I’ve made a lot of efforts to get my work schedule into a reasonable form, but I’ve also failed a lot. Not completely — I think I am having a more balanced life this year than I did last year, with more sewing and reading and social time — but enough that it still needs work. Morgenstern’s book can be useful for people like me, because she doesn’t just say, “Shut the door at the end of the workday” and leave it at that. She acknowledges that there are people who work a lot because they love their work, those who use work as an escape from an unsatisfying home life, people whose “sense of duty is in overdrive,” and people who just don’t plan for time off. She has sensible next action steps for all these people, and I think some of them will help me.

I took yesterday off. I went to the farmers market, did some baking and sewing, read, hung out with #1 son and talked on the phone with my daughters, worked out, and did a little shopping and housework. When I plan my work week tonight, I’m also going to plan some free time, or perhaps time to do things around my house that have been getting neglected. I’m going to make time for walks on the city trails before it becomes intolerably hot, and get those quilts started.

Morgenstern assures me that doing this will increase my productivity and the quality of my work.