Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting it all done!

When I was a bit younger, I remembered everything I needed to do with no issues, no hints, and never wrote anything down. Now I find myself writing list after list, hoping to get through one day where I cross off all the tasks and don’t move any of them to the next day’s list. The ironic thing about multitasking is that the more you multitask, the more things you find to do. There is some truth to the adage, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

This was demonstrated to me while talking to a friend in Connecticut. She had been tasked with writing a paper/speech about her deceased mother, a famous novelist, and how her mother had turned her feelings of isolation and poor self esteem into a brilliant writing career. I knew my friend had been struggling over this particular paper for a while, so when she asked if I could give it a read and edit a couple weeks back, I agreed.

I received the paper in e-mail and read it through. Then I gave my friend a call, and we discussed the paper and my immediate impressions. The next day, I started at the beginning and did a thorough line edit. When I was satisfied, I returned the paper to her in e-mail. The process took about 2 days. I would have done it quicker, but I do have to go to work every day.

The next time I talked to her, she told me that she had sent the same paper to another friend a week or two earlier for a read and edit. The friend is retired, and should have had no difficulty finding the time to comply with the request, but as of a week after I sent back my marked-up copy, the other friend had not yet completed the task. This was a 10-page paper, not a novel-length work, and my friend seemed genuinely surprised that she had yet to get any response from her retired cohort.

As I sit here, pounding on the keys, I am running a second load of laundry, folding my jeans, running the dishwasher, and watching Holmes on Homes. This is typical of my weeknight evenings, and if I gave exclusive time to each of the above, as in one task at a time, I would never have time to sleep.

My goal for this week is to cross everything off my list before I start worrying about next week. Feel free to send me your hints for efficient multitasking…I can use all I can get!