Wednesday, October 10, 2012

limits on multi-tasking (on not doing pelvic lifts while I brush my teeth)

You'd think that since I don't have a full-time job (or even a part-time one) and both my kids are in school that time management would be a breeze, yet I still find myself struggling to get things done.

Part of that is pure procrastination (it's a slippery slope from checking my email to reading 10 tabloid stories someone linked to on Facebook). 

Part of it is feeling overwhelmed (where to start on a large project? which project should I work on first?).

It's also that I have changed the way that I live my life. Before cancer, when I worked full time, it seemed that every minute needed to be spent in a productive way. I tore myself out of bed in the morning as though jolted by a starter pistol and collapsed back in long after I knew I was tired. I answered emails while watching TV, talked on the phone while I played with my kids, read over documents while I rode the bus. There were seldom any truly quiet moments.

Cancer pushed me off that treadmill. In some ways I miss it but in lots more ways I don't.

While I still keep lists obsessively, I try not to obsess over getting through them. And over the last few months I've begun to embrace the efficiency of doing one thing at a time and doing it to the best of my ability. I still have a long way to go.

Every time I read a newspaper online or leaf through a magazine, I am urged to multi-task in every possible way. "Give yourself a facial while you make dinner!" "Fold laundry while you return calls!" "Tighten your butt muscles while you brush your teeth!" It all feels exhausting to me.

I am very fortunate to have been given the gift of time. I'm working at making it work for me. I want to focus on playing the game, not worrying about whether I'm going to drop the ball.


Zoom! said...

Excellent post, Laurie. I was reading "Getting Things Done" when I was diagnosed, and was trying to implement the GTD system to maximize my productivity. Facing my own mortality made me realize that most of what I do could easily be left undone. Now I try to just do the things that matter. (And there's STILL not enough time in the day, even though I'm unemployed, out of treatment, and my son is grown up.)

Facing Cancer Together said...

Yes, playing the game and not dropping the ball sounds good to me too. (And that butt exercise while brushing your teeth is just hilarious.) I don't work full time at the moment, and it fills me up with guilt very often. I'm trying to flip my perspective from guilt to appreciation – it’s good to have this time, but that in itself is an exercise. Ah well, life's one long learning slope!


laurie said...

It's funny how having cancer can teach us a lesson that it would be good for everyone to learn. Sigh.