My husband is pretty wonderful, and my better half much of the time. But one thing we don’t always see eye to eye on is time management. While I find him to be painfully slow and very singularly focused, he would probably describe me as hypomanic, rushing around multi-tasking to death. Needless to say, our differences lead to regular arguments about punctuality, efficiency, and being fully present.
One example was the other morning, when my husband graciously offered to make me breakfast. I smiled at him, appreciating this thoughtful gesture and nodded, “I would love that.” Deep down, my tummy rumbling ravenously, I knew that while I could have whipped up scrambled eggs, toast and some coffee in about 8 minutes, it would be at least 45 minutes til his fancy omelet with English muffin and avocado mash would be ready to consume. And oh yeah, I’d be watching the kids while he prepared everything.
Keep in mind that I. Was. Starving.
This led me to a tangent (in my mind) about how it is that some people find the time to make a big production out of one meal- take an hour at the grocery store to buy the ingredients (and only those specific ingredients), spend another 60-90 minutes preparing and cooking the meal, meanwhile leaving a hurricane of dishes in their wake. Normally this type of hangry thinking makes me quite irritable and snippy.
But this day, keeping in line with my recent effort to be more thoughtful and curious about others’ perspectives, I found myself considering what it must be like to focus on just one task at a time. To be truly dedicated to just preparing your loved one’s breakfast. How liberating! How relaxing! No wonder his meals taste so delicious!
And as I sat there, starving, pulling one kid off the other while my hubby hummed to himself in the kitchen, blissfully unaware of the fight I was trying to break up, I started to realize that maybe my husband was on to something here.
One of my husband’s best traits is that he tries to make the most out of everything; each and every thing he does, he enjoys it and gives it his full attention and complete effort. This is something I am not as naturally inclined to do; I often get caught up in the hustle and bustle that is life, and tend to focus less on the quality of one particular thing but rather find satisfaction in knowing that I’ve completed all my tasks for that day. There are few things that leave me more satisfied than a completed To Do list.
Anyways, this whole tangent in my mind got me thinking about whether I should try to apply myself more singularly to one task at a time, and how I would even accomplish such a thing. And what I realized was, if I really wanted to try this, I needed to have fewer tasks. Because otherwise the math doesn’t add up. If there’s 24 hours in a day, and 50 tasks to get done, you just can’t spend 20 minutes individually doing each one, at least not if you want to get any sleep. So either you multi-task, or you cut down on tasks (I still haven’t figured out how to add more hours to the day yet…)
So I’ve decided that in 2017, I will narrow down my To Do lists so that I can have more time to focus on each individual task. Doesn’t that sound nice? Now, this doesn’t mean I’ll be waking up 90 minutes earlier so I can fix gourmet breakfasts for everyone each morning, or calmly folding the laundry with nary a distraction, or read my book quietly while sipping on coffee, ignoring the chaos around me. But I think I will take a note from my husband that when I can, I should try to devote myself to just one thing at a time, and really enjoy the moment for what it is. To try to turn off the constant To Do list in the back of my mind, and just be present.