The Luxury of a Catch-Up Day

Photo credit: Peter Herrmann on Unsplash

Don’t misunderstand me—it’s definitely a luxury. But if you can carve it out, Catch-Up Day is one of the loveliest gifts you can give yourself.

It’s not glamorous or exciting. After all, the entire purpose of Catch-Up Day is—well, catching up. The myriad of tasks, errands, and duties that keep getting shoved aside in favor of more important and/or urgent obligations. All appointments you’ve been meaning to make, the phone calls you need to return, the emails that require responses—Catch-Up Day is the day to check all those things off your list.

Scheduling a Catch-Up Day is probably ideal, but in my case, Catch-Up Day generally just happens. Take today, for example. In some ways, it’s the perfect choice: first day of the month, first business day of the week. Excellent time to take the calendar in hand and make schedules. Plus, no pressing deadlines. (Hard to beat that.)

I’d love to say I planned that well, but the truth is that after a gray, rainy weekend of dress rehearsals and exhaustion, capped off with a glorious performance of Brahms’ German Requiem (not that my specific performance was glorious—far from it—but the overall experience was magnificent), I needed to catch my breath.

Maybe the final straw was trying to read shelf labels in the supermarket while wearing glasses that really, really need updating, except that my former eye doctor retired at the beginning of the pandemic and I didn’t care for his replacement. Or maybe it was the second time I received a bill from a doctor’s office for the full fee rather than the copay even though I’d previously contacted them about the error. Possibly it was my discomfort with carrying the laundry basket down the basement stairs and my awareness that I might lose my balance. Whatever the trigger, there was no more room to argue: a thousand little things needed to be tackled.

I’d allowed myself to sleep late despite feline protests that breakfast was overdue. Once all the morning routines were complete, I settled in at my desk, prepared to begin work–only to see the inappropriate bill lying next to my keyboard.

And just like that, Catch-Up Day began.

Now, it’s past six o’clock. I’ve sorted out the inappropriate bill (which required phone calls to my insurance company as well as the practice’s billing office), made long-overdue appointments with a new eye doctor and my long-time dentist, arranged to have medical records sent to the new eye doctor from the former one, signed up for a senior tai chi class this summer (apparently excellent for balance and strength), confirmed that I’ll need to get a new swim pass (still free!), answered a friend’s email, talked with a local bar association about an upcoming event, mobile-deposited a check, updated all the calendars (kitchen, desk, and pocket), responded to a potential new client, researched local sources for mulch, begun researching house painters, and committed to writing a bio this week for a seven-year-old shelter cat who was taken by her former owner to be euthanized simply because she was unwanted. (Luckily, the vet refused and simply kept her, but was unable to find her a home—hence her presence at the shelter and her need for a bio.)

There’s still a lot more to do, primarily housework. (It’s mortifying how long “vacuum LR [living room]” has been on my to-do list.) At 7:00 p.m. this evening, the next session of Bible study starts; one thing I love about it is that it’s on Zoom, which not only means I don’t have to change clothes and drive, but also means a dear friend from across the country can also attend. In the meantime, I can either pursue catching up (filing, organizing, straightening), or I can pivot to work on Draft #3 for an hour.

Or I can work on Draft #3 now and do the filing, organizing, and straightening later. After all, I’m behind on Draft #3, so technically, that will count as catching up, too.

If you can, I strongly encourage you to grab (or plan) a Catch-Up Day every so often. If nothing else, it’s a great way to clean out the space in the brain that used to be reserved for I need to schedule this/make that call/find a new ___/respond to that message/etc. Sort of like cleaning out the attic, but far less dusty, and it won’t leave you with stacks of garbage to haul to the dump. Mind you, I probably should have put “clean attic” on the list–but to paraphrase Scarlett O’Hara, that’s a project for another day. Tonight, I can rest in the knowledge that a few more areas of my life are under control–and that’s plenty for one day.

Photo credit: Christian Lue on Unsplash

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