Multitasking For Dummies

Yes, I could write that book, but first I’d have to find my glasses so I could see how to pull my head out of my ass. I screwed up big time this week. It’s my own fault. I forgot it was that time of the month. No, not that time of the month, the other time of the month. The time of the month when I usually do two things: thoughtfully plan for the month ahead and realize I have completely over-committed to the point of hallucinating that the nice young men in their clean white coats are coming to take me away to the happy home where life is beautiful all the time.

Smarter women than me, I’m sure, have lost track of what time of the month it is. I mean, birthdays and anniversaries alone are proof positive that not knowing what day it is can lead to, well, things like pregnancy and marriage. No, I’m not pregnant. I don’t know how I would manage to accomplish much of anything if I was the mother of small children at this point in my life, but there are women in their forties who do it. God bless ‘em.

The semester is two-thirds of the way over and up until now I have stayed ahead of the curve. So much so that it has become a joke in my family that I must have memorized the syllabus for each of my classes so that all of my assignments can be completed two weeks before they are due. Well, things got a little out of control this week, and even though I didn’t have to worry about Halloween costumes or mobs of trick-or-treaters, I seriously dropped the ball, a couple of them actually.

Forgiveness is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. I am not good at it. I know, big surprise, what with all that peace and love smack talking I do, but my self-talk creates guilt for me sometimes. Homework and laundry notwithstanding, October got to be a little jammed up there toward the end. Blog posts sparse, reading blogs even sparser, throw in a little autumnal sinus crud and you’ve got one lame excuse for a student/community servant/wife/mom/friend/blogging human being. Yeah, my self talk is cruel like that.

Control freak does not describe me. I am more like the love child of a caffeinated wildebeest and a half-crazed Tasmanian devil. Some sort of perfectionist anarchist hybrid. My life looks manageable on paper. It’s when I wander off the paper that it gets messy. Going back to school is the best thing I have done for myself in a long time, there’s no doubt about it, and school is my priority. So, thinking I could get my house ready to put on the market, drive an hour and a half at five miles an hour to volunteer for four hours, drive another hour, drop off the dry cleaning and shop for a dinner party on the way home, meet my adviser to work out next semester, look at a house to purchase, and remember to submit my homework on time was more than a little NOT DOABLE, and last night I had a mini-meltdown. If not for a bag of fun sized Snicker’s bars it might have been a full-blown stress-induced apocalypse.

Today is November 1st in my year of something better. I am stressed. Stressed because it’s that time of the month when I need to get my act together for two exams, our wedding anniversary, a presentation about disaster response and recovery, and Thanksgiving. Oh, and finals. Yeah, they’re not until December, but you can never start studying too early. Then there’s Christmas. Where did The Year of Something Better™ go?

Take it from someone who knows, one day at a time, one step at a time, one crisis at a time, multitasking is not for dummies!

30 thoughts on “Multitasking For Dummies

  1. That autumnal sinus crud hit me harder than I let on. The cough alone lasted for weeks, and is just now finally retreating. Ugh. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just three weeks from this Thursday – I’m still not sure what we’re doing!

  2. Breath. Too much to do, too little time. The myth of multi-tasking causes our hair to turn grey. Sorry about the assignment. The only thing I have ever found that works for me? The really critical stuff goes into my electronic planner with warnings.

  3. Too bad about the stress but it made for a colourful and interesting post. The references to multitasking reminded me of a book I read some time ago, Why We Make Mistakes. The author explained that one of the reasons we make mistakes is that we think we can multitask when we really can’t – the closest we can come is shifting our attention back and forth quickly. And that is usually a recipe for doing everything poorly.

    1. Lyle, this quote was emailed to me shortly after I wrote this post.
      Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. ~~Dale Carnegie
      I think it’s sort of comforting to think of mistakes as stepping stones to success.

      1. Great quote. Some time ago I read about an encouraging father who used to ask his children each week what they failed at. His perspective was that if they were venturing out, failures were a natural part of life that was to be expected and built on – a stepping stone to the successes ahead.

  4. Oh my gosh, Honie! I’ve been whining about trying to write two books before the end of the year. After reading this post, I promise I will whine no more. I can’t believe all you have on your plate, but you do seem to manage to get a lot done. Congratulations on keeping up with your school work and doing so well. Snickers bars will always help; keep them on hand. 😉

    1. That’s just it, Maddie, I missed a deadline for turning in an assignment that I spent a lot of time working on and am so disappointed in myself for such a stupid mistake all because I thought it was Wednesday when it was really Thursday. I mean, come on, aren’t there 32 days in October?!! 😀

  5. Hah! Multitasking is a myth! Well, in my life at any rate. I’m just barely managing to complete my assignments and cook, all the other balls that used to be in the air are now on the floor, lying in wait to skittle the unwary. I think you’re superwoman for even /trying/ to do it all. And maybe a little nuts for thinking it will work. 😉 Solidarity, sister!

  6. Honie,
    Now I understand what you meant when you said your dance card was shredded and on the floor, wow! Makes my wild ride summer look almost tame…nah, not really. Take it easy on yourself…nah, you won’t. But keep smiling!

    1. Red,
      Yep, this morning the remnants of the week are swept away. It’s nice to see you back around. You did have a Tilt-a-Whirl summer, didn’t you. Moving adds a special kind of insanity to the mix.
      Always Smiling,

  7. Oh man, I’m stressed just reading this. I remember my days of going back for my Master’s not too long ago while still having to do everything else. I feel for you, Honie. Hope all goes well, and yes, one day at a time is the only way one can live when their to-do list is endless. Take care.

  8. Plate too full! Plate too full! Actually the fact that you took on to much is a sign you are feeling powerful and under control….This time of year I (who live by lists in order to get things accomplished) have to force myself to being your last sentence…it’s the only manageable possibility. I make the list, then scratch off about half of it. Some things are not going to happen. But it’s OK. In 100 years anything I drop won’t make any difference to anyone.
    So cheer for emergency rescue Snickers stashes!

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