â€œI try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.â€â€“ Ashleigh Brilliant
Lately my life has been a bit like this. Some semi-psychotic researcher suggested awhile back that women can multi-task. Don’t you wish you could wring his unsuspecting little neck while making dinner and changing the diapers? Once it is declared as “infallible truth” that women can multi-task, what does everyone come to expect of them? That’s right: Lots of tasks accomplished all at once by one woman. Worse, we buy into this dread deal because we want to believe ourselves capable of multi-tasking for no other ability would be more welcome in a homeschooling family than the power to do everything well at once.
To keep the illusion going that we can, in fact, do many things at once, we avoid the activities that take undivided attention. It’s much easier to nurse the baby in the sling while clearing the kitchen table or reading a book aloud than it is to potty train a toddler and write a description of a cactus. Writing so often falls through the multi-tasking cracks.
But then those days of non-writing gang up on you and the next thing you know, you feel attacked by weeks of inactivity related to writing.
Recently research was released that says that multi-tasking is an illusion. (I knew it!) The truth is that all of us focus on one thing at a time, even when we do them in rapid succession. (Perhaps the real kernel of truth, then, is that women are quick at getting lots of things done, not that they can do them all at once.) So as I thought about the feeling of being attacked by my own life, I stopped to consider how I could get off the runaway train of too many tasks to do at once.
I made a list.
- Write first
- Drink tea
- Eat food
- Write a bit more
- Make lunches for co-op
- Write a bit more
- Start dinner
- Grade papers
I have many writing tasks ahead of me today. In order to get them done, I have to work around all the other things that must happen. (Kids gotta eat!) I have to write in short bursts rather than waiting for that long, silent block of time where I can write uninterruptedly. Instead, I’m tasking in rapid succession rather than multi-tasking.
Perhaps you can add some writing to the day that is less than the perfect model time for writing, but that squeezes it in around the edges of your already over-full life. In fact, I know you can, because you are a rapid-fire tasker!