The lost art of “getting shit done”

Today I crossed one task off my to-do list and added 4 more.

One.

The tasks on my list are not even that onerous or time consuming.  They simply require my undivided attention for a small period of time.  Therein lies the conflict.

Nixon is also small but requires my undivided attention ALL of the time.  Resisting the yellow-haired dictator results in tantrum after tantrum and much headbanging on floors and walls – I am actually counting the seconds until this precious phase is over, as a legitimate, albeit self-inflicted ‘boo-boo’ drags a tantrum into a whole new level of pain, for both of us!

The confounding truth about parenting a toddler is that change is constant.  What is working perfectly for us on Monday defies all laws of reason on Tuesday.  I had us settled into a great morning routine which allowed me a small window – measured by Peppa & George Pig – to sit down, reply to some emails, edit some photos etc, maybe do some paid work {WTH!} or at the very least attend to some yawny household admin like re-registering my truck, changing electricity providers or just cleaning up the damn place!  This week, Peppa has lost her mojo and she’s taken mine with her.

Everything I do manage to get done has a price.  The vacuuming gets done because the tupperware drawers have been emptied.  I get to brush my hair because Nix is throwing the contents of my bedside drawers out of the window {brushing my hair takes a L O N G time btw}.  The laundry gets hung on the line while the three dog bowls are hidden in the garden.  If you don’t laugh you cry right?

I’ve got to lower my standards a bit otherwise Nix and I never get out of the house, which isn’t healthy for either of us and buying in to the cycle of cleaning constantly with a toddler on the loose is a recipe for madness I’m sure.  We have decided that painting our new skirting boards whilst Nix is still crashing ‘vacuuming’ with his wooden trolley and racing his plastic motorbike through the house is an exercise in futility.  I’m going to try and apply this sort of pragmatic thinking to my days as a SAHM in general.  

Nap time is pretty solid right now, 1-3.30, Ethan gets home at around 2.45pm so I have 1 hour and 45 minutes to sit, think and do.  And by do, I don’t mean housework – that shit never ends and no-one really cares if the laundry is put away on Wednesday or Thursday do they?  So, welcome to my new ‘ME’ time.  So far I have shopped online for a new pair of Nike Roshe, text a friend and I’m going to finish writing this blog post after only beginning it last night!  Miracles occur every day apparently and this, my friends, is one of them.

If you have any tips for finding your daily rhythm, I’m all ears because I feel like I’m floundering in a never-ending groundhog day – or is that just how all mothers feel?

Toddler Baking New Zealand Mum Blogger

 

Mummy multi-tasking and the demise of productivity

I was phaffing about the other morning trying to do All The Things simultaneously as per usual. I wandered out of the bathroom whilst brushing my teeth, thinking that I would put the washing on.  En route to the laundry I spied an errant plate, scooped it up and headed for the kitchen. On my return to the laundry I was caught in a quandary, I had noticed we were running low on dishwash liquid and really needed to add it to the shopping list before I forgot, but the washing really needed to get started, oh yeah, and my teeth were clean by this point so I also needed to head back to the bathroom before that ” I’ve had something in my mouth for WAY too long gagging” began.
At this point I was actually rooted to the spot, turning back and forth, 180 degrees in indecision.
Enough is enough. My focus is shot and adult onset ADD is not something I’m keen on adding to my list of mental tics! It’s time to turn back the clock about a decade I think, back to a time before the crippling blight of mummy multi-tasking got its hooks into all of us. Now keep it in context, when I talk about multi-tasking, I’m not talking writing spreadsheet macros whilst working on a presentation and simultaneously translating my blog into Chinese for the wider enjoyment of my readers. I’m a stay at home mum, no, a decrease in productivity will not have a major effect on the GDP of New Zealand, but it does frustrate me enough to want to do something about it.
So, I’m going to try to slow my body and more importantly my mind down and practice a few simple things as I go through my day, task by task, moment by moment.

  1. Be still. Remain where I am. Sit.
    I tend to look at my house {and my day in fact} as a series of individual blocks, or tasks that make up the whole.  Instead of roaming the house getting caught in the pattern of ‘pick something up, put it away, repeat’ in which I end up doing laps of the house but never completely finish tidying any one room, I’m going to try to completely finish one area/task before moving on to the next {or getting distracted by FB!}.  When I – rarely – sit down, I want to make it count.  I plan on sitting and eating breakfast and lunch with the kids instead of standing in the kitchen, sitting and replying to all of my emails at once instead of pounding out one and forgetting the rest for days and making down-time phone free time.
  2. Prioritize and stay on task accordingly, kids being #1 priority!
  3. Allocate a certain amount of time for productive housework, cooking, blogging and stick to the time limit.  Knowing I don’t have all day to vacuum and mop the floors will certainly help me knock it out super fast.  This will also free up more time for things I actually enjoy doing.
  4. STOP procrastinating.  Tackling issues as soon as they arise or completing undesirable jobs asap will stop them becoming bigger than they are and taking up more mental real estate then they deserve.

Ok, I’m really good at making lists, the hard part is implementing these simple ideas into my day-to-day life.

2015, I deem you the year of Unitasking!  Who’s with me?

p.s This post took me 24 hours and approx 6 sessions of up-down computer time before I hit publish arghhhh!  It’s time to stop the madness.