Saturday: Split-tasking

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Blueberry smoothies and oatmeal for Mom and LP (which we enjoyed while Dad got to finally sleep in!)
  • Lunch: Leftover pizza and potato leek soup for LP.  Grilled cheese (Daiya sale!) and tomato sandwiches and potato leek soup for Mom and Dad.
  • Mom had some ice cream and chocolate chips for a snack
  • LP had crackers after his nap while he and Dad went on a pre-hurricane trip to the park.
  • Dinner: Dan-Dan style linguine from Vegan on the Cheap

Money Matters:
Today we went to music class and then to the park.  We avoided the crowds at the grocery store (where I hear they are getting cleaned out of bottled water!)  No money spent!

Mom Musings:

I sometimes have difficulty focusing on one thing at time.  Before having kids I rarely just sat down and watched TV or a movie.  I was usually crocheting, or entering grades, etc.  Similarly, I like to listen to NPR while I cook and clean, or do other chores.

However, when it came to what I call “thinking” work (like writing, planning lessons, etc.) I have always worked better if I could sit and focus on that task for an extended period of time.  When I worked on my master’s, or on my National Board portfolio, or even when I’m preparing for the start of school, I like to go to a local coffee shop that requires people to pay for internet access (which I don’t do!)  Then, I really just sit and focus on my work, often for hours on end.  This was the way I always operated for these extended “thinking” projects.

Then I had kids.

I still have to make some time for sit-down, focus work, especially when I’m working on teaching stuff.  I’m really lucky to have such a wonderful husband who understands that.  However, being home, now with two kids, is really forcing me to deal more with this “split” tasking.  Sometimes I draft blog posts in two sentence chunks, in between boiling water for pasta and changing a diaper.  Sometimes I work on bits and pieces of my current assessment project in the precious hour of the day when both kids are asleep.  Afterwards my desk is a mess, and if I wait to long to return to it I often forget where I left off.  I make dinner in pieces during the day, chopping up an onion here, washing some salad there.  There are post-its spread all over the place with the thoughts, ideas and insights that used to find a space neatly organized in my writer’s notebook.

This is the nature of my life right now, and I’m getting a little more used to it.  I’m having an easier and easier time returning to a task that I left only part-way done an hour (or a day or two) ago.  This week I broke down some of my projects into smaller chunks so that I could get through them in little bits.  Basically, I can only get things done if they take 15 minutes or less, and all pieces of a project need to be fit into that space.  I find that feeling like I can be “done” with part of something in a short period of time allows me to actually enjoy my time with my kids instead of focusing on the next task I have to do.  It also gives me a sense of accomplishment about getting silly things done, like writing three e-mails or finally posting a blog entry that has been written in short chunks for a month.  So, I’ll keep chugging along on my projects and tasks in between the visits to the train tracks and tummy time.  Really, it’s the latter that matters.

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