Monday, October 5, 2009

Paralyzed by Inefficiency

Won't you consider donating just a bit of your wisdom to help a poor homeschooling mom?

I need help.

Okay, I admitted it. That's the first step, isn't it?

My plate is huge and full, and I keep eating and eating and it never gets emptier. A ton of side dishes crowd the main entree (read, my family). Heck, sometimes my side dishes cover up my entree so that I have to dig it out.

What with the volunteering, the homeschooling, the writing, my parents - forget any just-for-fun "me" things - I find myself so overloaded as to be paralyzed at times. My list of to-dos is so long that I take one look at it and am stymied. I really feel like I could get a lot done if I were simply more efficient and motivated.

And on top of all that, all of the little life emergencies step in the way and push aside the things I'd planned to do, say ... oh ... sleep, for instance.

Just tonight, for example, I had planned to get to the computer and write some incredibly poignant or hilarious or witty or insightful blog post. Instead, I got waylaid by my darling middle child, who decided she wants to go camping and hiking with H and G this weekend. Great! All that means is that I have to try to find her a pack that she can comfortably carry 25 pounds in for a couple of hours - without spending any money. So I dig out my old backpack from my trip to Europe twenty years ago, and - whaddya know? - the plastic piece that holds on the shoulder straps has rotted away. I spend at least an hour trying to rig the pack (a lost cause) and end up digging out a different, way-too-big pack and loading it down to see if she can carry it.

There goes my writing time. I'm not angry about it, especially since I was doing something for my daughter with the end goal of getting her out on the trail ... indeed I was quite happy to do it. But it's just one example of how my time gets taken up by unexpected do-it-right-nows.

I know we're all busy, and I know that many of us are stressed (I'm not, unless you start asking me about my parents), but lots of folks do a vastly better job than I do at organizing their lives. How do they do it? Are they born organized? Motivated? Naturally well rested? How do they get away from the day-to-day minutiae of life: the laundry, the dishes, the scrapes, the cat puke, and the kid-argument mediation?

Here's what we already have: a housekeeper that comes every other week (not that you can tell 24 hours after she leaves), a detailed schedule for the kids to follow every school day (not that they follow it without badgering), and an incredibly supportive husband who handles way more of his share (and who never complains) ... so I'm pretty sure the problem is me.

Here's exactly what I need: some advice, a plan, or words of wisdom that will help me get over my state of inertia so that I can be productive and relaxed. I have the goals, I have the desire, I have the means, I have the ideas of all the things I want to accomplish ... I just don't have the organization.

Thanks for letting me vent. If you have any words of wisdom, please let me know!

If you liked this post, you might enjoy Great Expectations.


  1. Love the photo!!

    Sydney may borrow my trusty, rugged, purple LL Bean deluxe backpack that has served me well for over 16 years. Still in great condition.

    Organization: Huh. Before I dare to submit any paltry suggestions I think I will watch your comment section for other people's more precious gems of wisdom! (BTW have you ever read First Things First by Stephen Covey? I think it's one of those I really should be re-reading every year.) I will post what is working for me on my blog very soon. In the meantime, let's see what your other readers come up with!

  2. Is there ANY way to kick the children out of the house here and there?

    My husband takes Gavin out for an hour or two every week (sometimes more) so I can write and research. Generally this is a Friday or Saturday at the playground.

    Is that a possibility for you?

  3. Ha! I wish I could lend some helpful ideas. I have the same inefficiency problems my way...I'll be watching your comments for some stolen ideas. :-)

  4. Camille, Maybe you could lower your standards, for things that don't matter much (relative to other things, I mean) in the long run? For example, it's OK for the laundry to sit unfolded in a corner for a while. Or whatever makes sense to you, that you now can't imagine allowing.

  5. If only I had some wisdom to share.

  6. I find ticking something off (no matter how piddley and inconsequential) from the to-do list is a great motivator. Also, instead of attempting to start some huge project, just allocate 15 mins to it. Slowly but surely the momentum will build.