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MAY 27, 2009   

I used to be better at this

Looking down on freshly-painted basement stepsI put a second coat of paint on the basement steps today and crossed that item off my "House" to-do list. And as usual I can't help myself from opening the door every now and again just to admire the new look.

But about a half hour ago I was at my computer working on a spreadsheet showing results of surveys I've conducted as part of my sabbatical research and I hit a psychic wall. Too much multi-tasking today.

There was a time, when our kids were little and Joanne and I were both working, that every day was a constant race from place to place, from role to role, switching mental gears as we went. We were involved in neighborhood activities, political stuff, had other family responsibilities and of course the ongoing renovation of our 100-year-old house. I remember feeling an adrenaline rush from keeping a multitude of balls in the air at the same time. Now just thinking about it makes me tired.

Instead of juggling everything at once I try to break my day into segments of an hour or two (or more) where I work on one thing: the garden, cooking dinner, painting the steps. I try to limit multi-tasking. But life is rarely as orderly as our to-do lists. This afternoon was supposed to be devoted to sabbatical research but other things interrupted, like a trip to the West Side Market with a friend that ended at Great Lakes Brewing. So much for sabbatical research.

Some days I look at my kids and certain of my friends and remember when doing it all seemed like an adventure. Now that's lost its appeal. I'm going for quality over quantity. Not as much adventure, but on a good day more satisfaction.

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