Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One Thing at a Time

It feels like I've made this point multiple times before on both my blogs, but here it is again:

The fastest way to get things done is one thing at a time.

Multi-tasking simply splits your concentration, making everything you do take longer. With the exception of walking and chewing gum, it's usually not a good option. In the case of caring for young children and doing anything else, or texting and driving, or similar combinations, multi-tasking can be downright dangerous.

And the comments seem to indicate that multi-tasking means you do less than your best, and don't enjoy what you're doing nearly as much because your mind isn't all there.

I'm not a layabout. In addition to my normal schedule of taking care of the house (which is cleaner than it's ever been!), myself, and a 21-year-old disabled son who can't cook for himself and is not even completely toilet trained, volunteering at the church and at a retirement residence, swimming, bowling, orchestra, art class, church and library visits, I'm also this month half of a planning team for a re-gifting day that takes place November 26th, and one-third of a planning team for a city-wide Live Nativity Scene taking place December 3rd that includes over sixty volunteers, animals, decorations, a live band, and will see over 500 visitors. I had mole removal surgery yesterday. There are two concerts scheduled this month (already had one) with two dress rehearsals, and another two coming up at the beginning of December.

I am preaching twice, taking the place of a friend who's having shoulder surgery. If she's out for more than the two weeks, I'll be doing those too. At the end of the month, I start three paper routes.

I am only a little behind on my NaNoWriMo effort this year. Certainly not as far behind as I usually am at this point. And I've written at least five hundred words every single day.

I've kept up with my blogs.

I've had time to listen to and help out a friend who's going through a rough time.

I've had time to read books, laugh, and play computer games.

I've prepared all of my own meals except for the usual Saturday supper at Bill's place, but then he's at my place twice per week, so that makes up for it.

And I did it all one thing at a time.

I have emailed some people and said that dreaded word: No. No, I am concentrating on doing the things I have on my plate well, and I don't have time for anything new, at least until the new year.

I've delegated some things to others--poster making, volunteer scheduling, and what have you.

I've been very meticulous about checking my schedule every morning--I use an on-line calendar now, and it's my home page. (Possibly more about this later--it's a great tool).

I break my time into fifteen minute blocks. Sometimes 30 minutes is too long for an activity, and sometimes I don't have 3j0 minutes, but fifteen minutes of writing (as I did this morning) is better than nothing! (And now I'm absolutely certain I'm repeating myself...)

But I don't multi-task. I don't even listen to music while I'm writing, because for me listening to music is an active experience, one that uses my brain power.

If you really don't have enough hours in the day to get things done, consider delegating or saying, "No," rather than multi-tasking. Say "NO!" to junk television, ironing (if you hang things up right away and buy only wrinkle-resistant clothes, you'll be fine), and energy-sucking "friends" and activities.

Delegate those things that can be done and should be done by others. Your husband can pitch in, and so can your kids. Even your friends or the parents of your kids' friends may be able to help with some things.

Once you've cleared out the clutter in your schedule, you're left with only the important stuff, which you tackle, one person or thing or project at a time, fifteen minutes at a time.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to take fifteen minutes to declutter a closet and see what I can find for the re-gifting event.

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