Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One tab only

I am a multi-tasker. And it's not always a good thing. It's hard to do one thing well when you are balancing 5 other things at the same time. But it's how I work. I frequently am cooking a meal, cleaning up a mess, talking on the phone, feeding a baby in a high chair, fixing a child's hair, and pouring another child juice at the same time. There is always a project going on in my head.

I was doing something last night that really showed how inattentive my brain is at times. Usually when the kids go to bed, I feel like I need about 2 hours of "down time", which is usually time vegging on the computer reading blogs, message boards, and taking care of emails. Last night I started by going through emails and starting to respond to some things that needed my attention. But once an email message needs my full attention, I switch to "veg-out" mode and make another tab on my browser to start reading some blog or other "light" reading, while that email message waits for me to complete it. Then I start to respond to someone's blog post. I get stuck in the middle...how do I want to word that? So I open a new tab and start reading something else. Pretty soon I have 5 or more open tabs and have not completed any of the messages I was trying to write! Then I have a baby up for almost 3 hours crying and I really get behind! My new rule...only ONE open tab! I think that could go for other areas of my life too!

I currently have several big projects/activities going on and things are falling by the wayside! First of all, I am wife and mommy. I have housework and cleaning that are rather urgent...dishes to clean, about 12 loads of laundry to fold, clean bed linens that need to be put back on beds, and a playroom that needs supervised cleaning by the girls. Don't dare to ask when my bathrooms last got a good cleaning!

Then I have Mary Clare's schoolwork. A necessary daily event. I am still working out our schedule and received a few more materials in the mail today. So I'm pondering how I will fit in Saint stories, Latin chant, and narrative writing...I'm really already doing all those things so it's more how I will add some of the suggested ideas from those materials into what I'm already doing. I'm trying to be consistent and steadfast with Mary Clare, who is still testing limits and sometimes outright refusing to do what is asked of her. We're improving though! We got through all our work with no breaks this afternoon! And hopefully she'll have her new poem to perform for the blog later this week.

Then I have my other homeschool group duties. I am leading the First Friday class this week. I have a lesson to finalize, supplies to get together, all kinds of charts and things to print out, and I need to check up on several people who are helping me put all this together. I need to have everything ready tomorrow night so that we can get there early on Friday morning. I am also planning a new member social next week along with a family camping trip. I offered to host a back to school swim party, but that may not end up happening. As you can tell, my plate is full!

I am involved in a lay movement which thankfully helps me to put this all in perspective. Tomorrow we are having our first meeting at our "center" instead of at my home. This will require a very early wake-up and drive, plus the purchase of a snack to bring with us to share. I am helping to plan the morning monthly retreats for this year. I just completed most of what needs to be done for September's retreat. I have prayer commitments which are sadly the thing that has been suffering, which would make all the other things on my list to go much smoother if I had my first focus on Christ and my reflections and discernment about the day's activities to happen first thing in the morning.

And I have some side work projects going on. We do packaging and other work for my parents' business, Candy Spirit. There are 2 candy stick orders in my living room waiting for packaging. I have some wooden crosses that I am planning to handpaint and sell on their website. I am talking with some families about arranging to be a childcare provider for one or two children during the week. And I also have a homeschool project which I am hoping to submit for publishing in the next few months. So I need to put together a basic proposal for that in the near future.

So if I haven't exhausted you already, I also have two walls I've started painting in my bathroom. This needs to be completed so I can put the bathroom back together! Would it surprise you to her me say that I'm not really stressed out? Sure, I'm busy and my mind is VERY busy. But I think I actually thrive when I have a lot of things to do. They may not be done perfectly, but they are completed eventually. My life is a little crazier than normal right now, but I'm sure once the initial beginning-of-the-year hype dies down, things will smooth out and I will no longer sound like a soap opera character to my poor friend Veronica! She never knows what new crisis will be shared the next time I call her!

In the time it's taken me to write this post, I have entertained a baby, comforted him after a head-bonk, nursed him, taken 2 phone calls, and wiped 2 hineys! I think it's time I get to the laundry mountain and check that off the list. Hopefully writing this out will help me to organize my thoughts a little and help me to discern the way I handle all these obligations. I hope it wasn't just another way for me to waste some time and avoid my ever-growing list of to-do's! I'm sure many of you out there have a life like mine...how do you make it all come together? How many "open tabs" can you handle at one time?

6 comments:

Lillian said...

I can only handle 2-3 tabs AT MOST!! After that I turn into a wreck which usually involves screaming. I admire how you can do all that calmly. I'm definitely not a multi-tasker by choice. I like to do one thing at a time. Even while homeschooling, I focus on one child at a time. LOL!!

Can't wait for the camping trip. I'll be waiting for more details through email! LOL!!

1206080502s8438 said...

You are amazing, Blair. I need a nap now!

Anthony Jamison Baskette said...

I love this post. It made me smile. Now I remember why we have always been such great friends. I have a minimum of 5 tabs open at a time, plus instant messenger, plus my work emails and also run ideas in my head all day long on how I will attack "each new thing." My Steve can't even write a note without turning off the TV for complete concentration. Gotta go...time for my treadmill and tivo time! :)

kelly said...

Ugh, wow, that made me tired just reading it! You are definitely one talented lady :-)

Currently I have three tabs open, in a literal sense. In an allegorical sense, I have about eight thousand. I am really in over my head right now and getting stressed about it...but I think I have way less to do than you do. I'm just not very good at handling multitasking anymore.

Jack-a-roo's Mom said...

I love your posts! I think I have four or five open myself right now!

Lerin said...

Ever read "A Mother's Rule" by Holly Pierlot? It changed my life!

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