Snowed under in Australia

Currently, I’m sitting in a coffee shop in a suburb of Sydney, scandalizing the owners by pouring my green tea into a cup of ice. They even came out and asked me questions about my iced tea, whereupon I listed all the different kinds of iced tea: rooibos, black, decaf, mango, green, etc. This makes up slightly for my embarrassment last night when I asked the server where the rest of my bento box was. (Answer: underneath the first half of the bento box.)

My task this morning is to merge the CiviCRM and PayPal databases of donors to get the addresses for sending people’s scarves, pendants, and stickers. I am doing this a week late. I am stricken with guilt but I had to finish other things before I got on the plane to Australia on Saturday. I finally sent the thank-you gifts to various people who were instrumental in starting the Ada Initiative this week, about 5 months late. I still need to hand deliver about half of them to people in San Francisco or Australia.

Next I am meeting my co-founder Mary in a few hours after the movers are done packing her house up, and we’re going into Sydney together to give an interview. Then we’re going to write several of the seven or so documents and presentations that are also a week late (or several weeks, or three months…).

The upside is that I love love love working with Mary in person. We originally planned to meet up twice a year, but we couldn’t swing it this year, so it’s been a year since we’ve met. We’re determined to make two visits happen this year. It’s like the sun coming up, working with someone else physically and in the same time zone, instead of toiling away on the Ada Initiative from my couch.

I theoretically had a week of vacation between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It was my first week off since July, and I needed to relax badly, but instead I moved to San Francisco, which is almost but not quite entirely unlike taking vacation. I drove through Joshua Tree National Park for a teeny tiny mini-vacation.

I’ve never worked so hard so long without a break, and I can see the toll it’s taking. I make more mistakes, I’m less creative, my judgement is off, exercise is a distant fantasy. I need a real vacation, but if I take one in the next month or two, I might kill the Ada Initiative. So I keep going. I’m not at my best, but I just need to be good enough, for a little while longer.

I’m learning to appreciate what I can. My shabby-chic little Victorian-esque hotel in Chatswood has a balcony looking out on to what is to me exotic tropical jungle. I sit with my cup of tea and listen to the bizarre “oook-ook” animal noises and the “thwock” of the unknown form of sportsball taking place on the other side of the enormous eucalyptus trees. I eat enormous mangoes of some variety that never gets imported into the U.S. I wear perfume.

Inbox zero used to be a weekly occurrence for me. Now I am failing to even keep up with my work email. If all goes as planned, I’ll be able to catch up in March, maybe even February. I suspect a normal social life will have to wait until we’ve hired a part-time temp to do things like merge databases.

I’m officially on retransmit status on email: If it’s important, and I haven’t replied – go ahead and email me again. I’m on Twitter a lot, too. Things like @horse_ebooks take about the amount of time I have available for wasting time on the ‘net these days.

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