Thursday, August 28, 2014

Seconds

For most of my life, I've thought myself very capable of juggling large lists of information in my brain. I'm big on visualization: imagine yourself walking into Target and remember that you need to buy dish detergent. And, for most of my life, this system has worked just fine. I walk into Target, and as I pass through the doors and a list pops up on my mind's eye, and VoilĂ ! listless grocery shopping complete!

Fritz, on the other hand, has been a prolific note-taker as long as I've known him. He claims that he began making lists and taking notes when he was 12 years old and couldn't walk the two blocks between his home and his grandmother's home without forgetting what item he was suppose to retrieve.

I've always watched Fritz and his hyper-logic system with a bit of exasperation. Why waste all that time writing stuff down? What a drag! Just think about what you are going to do when you need to remember and you'll be fine! Or sometimes, I've thought to myself, I'm so lucky that I can remember stuff so well! Man, I have such a great brain for visualizing! I know! I could be a little more humble, right?

Well, about two years ago, my visualization system stopped working. At first, I thought it was the pregnancy. Then I thought it was baby hormones. Nowadays, I'm blaming the kids, who interrupt me every 10 seconds. Because: my brain? It's just not managing the information very well. Two years later I've decided it's not a phase that's about to end. I need new techniques and new ways to juggle information and stay focused on the now.

When faced with a problem, I read to collect information about how to solve the problem. Generally, I find reading the fastest and most efficient way to collect data. (You know how in the past few years a lot of websites post VIDEO CLIPS to learn about their product? I HATE THAT! Data transmission is toooo slooooow. Urgh. )

Anyway.  I don't have a lot of time to read books = part of the problem. But I got a stack of time management books from the library. (Thank goodness for putting books on hold online or I'd actually be forced to look through a library shelf by subject....) Now I'm skimming them for ideas. Basically, they are telling me I need to use Fritz's time management strategy. So, I'm working on it. New systems always require a bit of time to get off the ground.

There is something nagging at me, however. That is: all these books are written with busy professionals in mind. I think that the work of taking care of children is somehow fundamentally different than what (even) a busy office manager might experience. My day passes by IN SECONDS, not minutes. Within two minutes (an eternity!) I might do all of the following:
  • load three plates into the dishwasher
  • stop a toddler from pulling something out of the dishwasher
  • run to check on a crying child
  • get crying child a bandaid
  • get a pencil for a kid doing homework
  • tell homework child he has to find a pencil sharpener himself
  • ask injured child to put the bandaid in the trash can
  • pry pencil (eraser end in mouth) from the toddler
  • notice toddler needs a diaper change
  • assist homework child with stool to search for pencil sharpener in high cabinet
  • close trash cupboard door left open by injured child
  • direct injured child to sit on the couch and rest
  • pry pencil (eraser end in mouth) from the toddler
  • put pencil out of toddler's reach
  • open trash cupboard door for homework child to sharpen pencil
  • return stool to storage
  • help homework child find pencil
  • pry toddler away from three plates in dishwasher 
  • close dishwasher door 
  • make mental note to finish loading dishwasher when toddler is occupied
  • pull toddler out of trash cupboard
  • decide to change toddlers diaper so that I can "have a break"
It's relentless. Note-taking is NOT going to help this situation, you know?

1 comment:

Pregnantly Plump said...

I pretty much only write lists for shopping. I don't list chores, but probably should.