Monthly Archives: March 2023

Doing This While Doing That


I am quite certain that I have an attention deficit disorder. I have not been diagnosed, except for self-diagnosis, but all the signs are there. It makes my life interesting…and busy…and messy. I find it extremely difficult to carry anything through all the way to its end. My life is filled with unrealized plans and unfinished projects. Disappointing, yes, but – for me – it’s the norm.

I know I’d be better off if I could be more mindful: to just walk when I’m walking, to take in the sights and sounds and smells of the world around me; to simply eat during mealtime; to only relax before sleep. That’s not me, though. I get frustrated with myself, but I have learned to work with my need to go in ten directions at once.. Sometimes, I even feel a little proud of how many things I can juggle. On a day that I’ve chosen to make bread, for instance, to go with the soup I have simmering on the stove, while I’m putting laundry through its courses and writing letters, you can bet that I’ll decide that this is the day to rearrange the furniture in a room or two…just to throw my life into complete chaos.

Most of the time, it’s not quite that extreme. I’ve learned to plot out activities that I can do, while doing something else. While having my morning coffee, I write in my journal, draw, and read. While watching the morning news, I do an exercise routine. TV works well with multi-tasking. I choose programs with commercials. While watching a show in the evening, I often hold Rosa Parks on my lap to give her some attention. Or, I crochet. When a commercial comes on, I jump up to do the dishes, put laundry into the dryer, or set the coffee pot up for morning.

Audio books have been a wonderful addition to my life. I can listen while I’m walking the dogs, or while I’m drawing or doing needlework, or when I’m driving. Regular books have always been my companions, to fill to overflowing the time while I’m eating, or before I fall asleep. I don’t spend much time on the telephone, but now that my my phone is cordless, I can focus on any number of household chores while chatting. When I’m working in the studio, I put a movie on. I favor ones that I have seen before, so they don’t demand too much attention.

Trouble arises when a task demands all of my focus. That is when I usually fail to make forward progress. It’s just too hard to concentrate on only one thing. Those jobs get delayed. When I finally do tackle one of them, I’ll find a hundred things I surely ought to be doing instead. Or I’ll decide to make a pot of soup. Or rearrange the furniture. That is my life.

First of Spring, Fox Lake Road


I don’t imagine that we are all done with winter weather. I wouldn’t dare to hope! I’ve noted blizzards coming through more than once on the first of April, and I often post photos to show my grandchildren that there is still snow to be found well into May. Still, the days are noticeably longer, and the Fox Lake Road is a river of mud. These are dependable signs of the change of seasons. This year, on this first day of spring, the sun is out, and the snow is receding.

Spring brings hope. There will be milder days ahead. The ice will disappear, and we’ll be surrounded by open water again. Flowers will bloom. The garden will warm, ready to accept new plantings. I won’t need to pile on winter layers for my daily walk.

Spring, though, also brings along with it a great deal of work. Just the small patch of back yard revealed by the melting snow shows wheelbarrow loads of leaves, pinecones and small branches to be raked up. The entire lawn, both back and front yards, will need attention. I have 3 agricultural panels, a gift from my cousin Bob, and plans to put them to use. One, I plan to turn into an arch support for my wisteria, since I seem unable to get rid of that unruly vine. The other two, I intend to make into a grape arbor. Then, I can give that grapevine a much needed pruning.

The garden, sorely neglected last year, is in line for a good bit of attention this spring. I have to reset several of the support posts, put up new garden fence, double dig and fertilize my garden beds, pull weeds and put down mulch in the pathways, and prune the raspberries. All before planting…which reminds me that I have not yet even ordered my seeds!

It’s too early to tackle any of that. The ground is still frozen, and much of the yard is still covered in snow. It’s not even warm enough yet to store my winter clothes. What I can do is clear away other things from my “to-do” list, to open up time for those other activities when the time is right.

To that end, I’m giving the house a once-over. When winter’s darkness and cold put me in “hibernation” mode, it’s easy to let things fall into neglect. After awhile, I don’t even notice the dust and clutter! Last week, I got a call from a contractor, who said he’d stop by “in about twenty minutes” with an estimate I’d requested. Suddenly, I saw my surroundings as someone else would see them. I blasted through the downstairs, clearing and tidying. A most productive twenty minutes! Usually, though, I’m pretty lackadaisical about housework. Today, though, I’m paying attention…and doing something about it. Spring is here!

How to Procrastinate


[Looking for fresh ideas for things to write about, I came across a suggestion to “write a how-to about something you do well.” I found that idea kind of inspiring, and immediately wrote out a list of topics. I don’t profess to be an expert, but there are a few areas where I am quite competent. Not wanting to look like a know-it-all, I’ll spread these “How-To” blogs out over several months, to fill in when I don’t have any other topic. Happy learning!]

Not everyone procrastinates. That’s okay; it’s not for everyone. It certainly has its downsides. Many folks would be wracked with guilt over disappointing themselves, or others. Many couldn’t stand the tension of unfinished projects, missed deadlines, and commonplace delays. It takes a strong constitution to be a good procrastinator. If you want to pursue it, though, I can give you a few pointers.

First, have several areas of interest. It’s difficult to set one thing aside, without another thing to take it’s place. And, though it’s all subjective, and the value of a specific task might vary from day to day, it is helpful to have projects of similar importance. I’m pretty easy, but even I have a hard time convincing myself that it’s okay to avoid doing my taxes in order to binge watch old episodes of Friends. Much easier, for instance, to decide that putting up the new garden fence, or cleaning out the hall closet is something that absolutely cannot wait.

Along those same lines of thought, keep jobs in the queue that could really use attention. You will find yourself never more proficient at tackling a project as you are when using it to put off doing something else. With practice, you’ll learn to use this to your advantage. I won’t guarantee that you’ll ever get to the tax forms but, if you work it right, you could get thank-you cards sent, have gleaming appliances, and be in the best shape of your life!

Stay away from hard deadlines. Whenever you can, use phrases like “sometime,” or “in the future.” Do not add “soon” or “not-too-distant” to those phrases. I rarely find any reason to refer, for good example, to our past president, but I have to say, Trump was a master at the vague “sometime in the future” standoff! Avoid, like the plague, any time limits that depend on a clock, or a calendar.

Finally, learn to live with anxiety. Unmet deadlines and unfinished projects, though physically ignored, will still play on your mind. Even when the hall closet is so organized it could star on Pinterest, the uncompleted tax forms will still impart a sense of unease. In quiet moments, guilt will rise up over unmet promises and deferred plans. These are the consequences; I have found no way to eliminate them.

That’s basically it. These are the fundamental guidelines for becoming a master deferrer. You’ve got to have a plan, and a plan for putting it off. And you must be strong. That’s it. Godspeed. Go forth and dilly-dally!