November Tips: Grisham, Gingerbread, and Guide-to-Me

Nov 15, 2022

Dear Together Friends, Fans, and Family

First of all, thanks for your grace and love notes from my non-newsletter last month. It was delightful to hear from so many of you personally. Our Big Blended Family escaped to my second favorite place on earth (the shores of the Chesapeake Bay) for a long weekend and it was just the rest I needed. Dr. Together captured this magical photo of our herd on a balmy fall day.

Over here in the Together-verse, we just wrapped four of our fall 2022 Together Courses, and more than ever, our participants are staying after class and sharing stories of overwhelm and overwork. We feel you and I knew – when I couldn’t muster the energy for one of my typical Halloween costumes (my personal barometer for overload is when I cannot put equal energy into my personal life compared to my work life) – that I am in a similar place.

All of this to say, I went down a rabbit hole exploring how we stay Together-Enough in particularly busy seasons – and I don’t necessarily just mean overwhelmed-busy, but also good-busy like those weeks I find myself leading a Girl Scout outing to the spy museum AND hosting an education-lady-boss Sangria & Snacks party AND hosting a book club! Whew, that was quite a week!

And all of the above is what led me down a path of exploring the concept of Minimum Daily Requirements – a commonly-used nutrition phrase designed to define how much of certain vitamins and nutrients a human needs in a day. (Sorry, not a scientist, so I probably didn’t get this exactly right). My loose understanding is these requirements are intended to ensure your body is kept in balance, so I’d like to expand that into the realm of time – my own personal area of interest.

The headline is that when times are tough or seasons are busy – however you personally define busy – you still want to hit your Daily Requirements. I see these as different from our Play Lists of several years ago, but I bet they could go hand-in-hand.

So, I got to thinking about this a bit, and my own Daily Requirements are:

  • 1 piping hot cup of coffee made in my Chemex with beans from a local Delaware roastery out of my favorite Maine mug each morning
  • 30 minutes of time outside (and I’m not scared of weather because #mainegirl). This could be a walk, a run, a sit on the deck wrapped in a blanket or tossing a baseball with my littlest big kid.
  • 20 minutes of reading escapist fast fiction (currently working my way through every single John Grisham novel) or literary mystery
  • Something physical with my hands. This could be chopping vegetables, spending time with a grown-up coloring book, or even breaking down the cardboard recycling boxes.
  • Some kind of non-transactional (Dr. Together, can you take out the trash? doesn’t count) communications with friends or family. A real thank you note or a phone call, or something. I’ve taken to folding (uhhh or shoving) my laundry away while chatting with my sister (Together Farmer) on the phone.

If you want to take this analogy even further, you can see my own Daily Requirements fall in the categories of spiritual renewal, mental breaks, physical movement, and social connection. So, as the holiday sprawl is upon us,

I’m curious if you have any Minimum Daily Requirements for yourself. Share them with me here in five or so bullets, and I’ll pull together some tips to share with others in coming months. And if you are not sure WHAT you need, I’m extra intrigued by my favorite essayist’s (Anne Helen Peterson of Culture Study, a newsletter well worth paying for) recent newsletter about Personal Emergency Guides or Guide-to-Me. I mean, she even made a Google Form, and you can bet I’m implementing this with my girlfriends stat. So, if you need help with your Daily Requirements or are in a tough season, let’s gather together and make and share some Guides-to-Me.

#clipboardsandclogs #togetherforever


PS If you are in a prolonged period of Too Much, you can also borrow my current strategy where I set myself to have a Deliberate Downgrade period from now through February 15 where I’m not committing to anything new on my calendar, not taking initiative to host or fix anything, and outsourcing as much to my kids as possible.

Together Treasure Box (From the Blog!)

  • What do purple feather boas have to do with Togetherness? The purple boa is a key Togetherness Tool for Mrs. Frazier at Coney Island Prep!
  • Is it time to say “Let’s circle around in the New Year?” I hit that time right around Halloween when the Great Annual Calendar Chop happens. You can find my process here.
  • Drawn to analog rather than digital tools for your calendar and To-Dos?  Here is a fantastic model of a Weekly Worksheet which allows you the flexibility of a digital calendar but the satisfaction of listing out those tasks and time blocks by hand.

Top Together Tributes  

I didn’t spend much time on the web this month (or maybe more accurately, my online time was focused on those midterm elections), but these books are on my list to work through – and you can be sure I’ll share any takeaways with you as it relates to Togetherness.


  • Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. I love, love, love his newsletter (and I know I’m slow to read this one) and I’m trying to feature him on the blog, so if anyone has a connection, let me know!
  • Laura Vanderkam’s Tranquilty By Tuesday. Full disclosure, some of my own anecdotes were anonymously featured in previous publications of Laura’s, and I think her books could acknowledge the privilege that comes with entrepreneurial life that doesn’t always apply to those in schools. But, I like the focus on working moms.
  • Jenny Odell’s new one. I liked her previous book, How to do Nothing, and it piqued my interest in bird-watching, so I’m curious to read her new publication. Pre-ordered!

Read anything good related to Togetherness lately?