My wife told me that I don’t do enough around the house.
She is, of course, correct.
I could make a list of excuses, but none of them matter. There’s really only one reason: I have problems with time management. I’m easily distracted.
For example, in the time it’s taken me to write the above three lines, I stopped to check a website, updated my Evernote installation, and added a new contact to my address book.
That’s not multi-tasking, that’s inefficiency. People don’t actually multi-task. Instead, they break concentration and completely switch gears. Repeatedly. They pretend they are doing a lot of things at once, when in fact they are doing a large series of individual tasks. That’s serial single-tasking, poorly.
On top of that, I focus to the point of obsession. The entire world goes away when I am working.
No, that’s not a contradiction. I’m good at procrastinating and I am interested in everything. If a random thought floats to the surface while I’m working, I follow it to Google and, if it’s interesting enough, I get lost. It generally only happens during research or while doing a job I hate.
For those of you following along at home, I can be easily distracted from some tasks, then lock on to some tangent and have an evening disappear.
For some reason, my wife hates that, especially when there are dishes to be done and laundry to be folded.
This has blown up on me a few time.
We’ve come upon a solution, in three parts.
1. Timer. When I get on the computer, I set an egg timer for 1 hour. When the time’s up, I’m done. The time limit helps me focus on finishing the task at hand. If I know I need to get a post written in an hour, I’m less likely to catch up on the comics in my news reader.
2. Communication. If I’m working on something that I know will take more than an hour, I tell her. I’ve had to do that for each installment of the Make Extra Money series.
3. Nagging. If #1 has failed and #2 doesn’t apply, I’ve given my wife explicit permission to remind me, as often as necessary. Sometimes, I don’t register everything people say when I am “lost”, so now she knows to keep trying if I don’t respond, or respond with a spaced-out “Uh-huh, yes, dear.” Before, she was worried about upsetting me by nagging, but I wouldn’t have noticed the first few times. Thankfully, with #1 and #2, #3 has only been an issue one.
Time limits, communication, and persistent reminders. That’s my plan to manage my time. Getting off of the computer has helped me be more useful with household chores and it’s given me a chance to be closer to the woman I love most. The time-limited focus has even helped me get a couple of projects rolling.
We all have the same 24 hours. Are you using yours efficiently?
(P.S. Happy anniversary, honey. These have been the best years I could ask for.)