Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Enough, already!--Month five

Last month’s “Enough, already” theme was multitasking. My experiment in monotasking was illuminating. For the first two weeks of the month I was able to follow my plan very well. Each day I focused on just one of my large work projects, cycling through them during the week. I kept my email closed most of the time and didn’t drop everything when small, urgent jobs came in, but instead allocated time to deal with them. I got way more work done than I normally do—I even got my invoices done for the first time in three months—and I felt much more in control of my time.

Then the last two weeks of the month brought all kinds of end-of-the-school-year activities as well as increased family pressure. The number of interruptions to my work time increased by about a zillion percent. I struggled (unsuccessfully) to get my work done. I went back to feeling scattered. I constantly had a knot in my stomach. In other words, I felt like I usually do: like I’m about to be swallowed alive by demands and worries.

So obviously I’ve learned an important lesson about the better way for me to work.

Now, somehow, it’s July. A couple of weeks ago, my kids and I decided (well, I decided and they agreed) that this would be the summer of getting things done around the house. The theme this month is “Enough stuff, already!” and our motto (well, my motto, since both of them went quite pale at the thought) is “Use it or lose it.” We’ve already started decluttering their rooms, which are much too small for their packratty ways, and I’ve started on the rest of the house.

This theme applies to the yard, too, where we’ve declared “Enough weeds, already!” My work has been so busy this year (and the year before and the year before that and . . . ) that I haven’t been able to keep up with the garden, so this summer I’ve hired the kids to do a lot of the work for me. Child One has recently decided to save up for a Gibson SG guitar—the cheapest used one we’ve seen around here so far is over $900—so he’s motivated.

It won’t be all hard work, though. In the spirit of using it or losing it, we’ll be digging out the games that have migrated to the back of the cupboard. We’ll be setting up the croquet and badminton sets, both of which sat in the shed all last summer. Child Two and I are going to try to use every type of art supply we own at least once before school starts. Our goal this month is not to get rid of everything we own, but to pare it down to the stuff we really want so that we can enjoy it.

And as for my work, I’m definitely taking last month’s lessons to heart.


Margerie said...

I wanna come play with you!!

I have a mess on my desk after vacation. I hope to catch up by the end of the week. But that means I have to assign some cartoon time for the kids.....awww the angst of motherhood.

Wishing you and yours a great load of summer time fun. What color guitar????

shannond said...

I love the idea of monotasking!! When I can I get that luxury? Too many kids, too many things to get done around here, but it sounds good!

Hayley Townley, Breast Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire said...

Somehow it's July.
Somehow it's 2008.
My garden is a mess too.
I can't believe I forgot to have children to help me.