Sunday, September 14, 2014

When Things Fall by the Wayside

Things never fall by the wayside for me. I can’t let them. I’m obsessive like that. If there is something that needs doing, I immediately put it on my To Do List and usually about five seconds later, I do it. My husband makes fun of me for the things I put on my To Do List, but I don’t want to forget anything… I don’t want anything to fall by the wayside.

I’m a time-budgeter by nature. Though I no longer wear a watch—I’ve broken five of them shortly after purchase—I am ever aware of what time it is or how much time I have to do something or what time I have to be somewhere. I schedule time like a maniac. Fifteen minutes to clean and change the litter boxes. Ten minutes to water all my potted plants. Two and half hours to clean the house. Four minutes to drive to work. Seventy-five minutes to teach a math class. Maybe it’s because I’m a math teacher for part of my work day or maybe I’m crazy, but time is important to me. I don’t want to not have enough.

More importantly, I don’t want to waste time. Nothing peeves me more than climbing into bed at night and feeling like I didn’t use my time efficiently. As a way of falling asleep—which doesn’t happen immediately like it used to—I often tick through a mental copy of my To Do List for the day. If I got everything done (and I’m Type A, remember, so I most likely got everything done), I’m very pleased. If something had to get carried over to the next day, that will bug me. Sometimes it will bug me to the point that I will get out of bed and attempt to get that something done if possible.

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. I’ve got problems.

There are other things I don’t let fall to the wayside too. If I start reading a book, I’ll finish it even if I don’t like it. I have to. There’s only been one instance in my 40 years of existence that I didn’t finish a book. It had an older heroine in it, which would have been okay, but I didn’t realize that going in and just couldn’t connect with the character. I’d say one book in the hundreds I’ve read over the years is acceptable.

Yes, it is. Cut me a break.

I like to bake. If I’m trying a new recipe and it doesn’t come out as expected, I’ll try again. And again. And again, if necessary. If the middle of the chocolate cake is supposed to be “molten,” I won’t quit until it is the exact definition of molten. Desserts definitely should not fall to the wayside. Ever. I’m pretty sure that’s a cardinal sin or something.

Some big projects I’ve done either personally or professionally I’ve often wanted to let fall to the wayside, but I don’t like to let people down. I don’t like to let myself down. I’ll keep plugging along then until the project is completed even if it exhausts me.

I guess what I’m saying is The Wayside, wherever that place is, is not a place I visit. I don’t know how to get there. While I can think of a few examples where things would have been easier if I could have parked my car in front of The Wayside and emptied the trunk, being productive and determined is the way I roll. Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I’m out of breath at the finish line. Sometimes I wish I could just say, “Aw, the hell with it,” and loosen up.

But then I wouldn’t be me and it’s too much work now to figure out how to be someone else. I don’t have time for that. It’s not on my To Do List.

I’m not throwing myself by the wayside.


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Margo Hoornstra said...

Stick to your guns, Chris. Like Popeyes once said, "I am what I am." You go, Girl.

Jannine Gallant said...

Yeah, you might have a few problems...LOL Geez, I can only imagine how you feel about your students turning in assignments late! Seriously, you probably get twice as much done as the rest of us. I use time pretty efficiently, especially when I have a lot going on so really have no choice, but I bow down to your superior skills in this department!

Alicia Dean said...

My, I'm worn out just reading your post. :) I can introduce you to The Wayside, it's my permanent place of residence. I wish I could say I finish each task on my to do list, but alas, I would by lying. Yes, I make to do lists. As of this moment, I have five index cards scattered on my desk with partial to do lists and I'm trying to combine them and do some of the tasks on the list. I spend more time rewriting my to do lists than it would take to do the listed tasks (see, I have problems too, mine just aren't as productive as yours). I try to be efficient with my time, and I pretty much work during all of my 'spare' time, although some of it is admittedly done in front of the TV... Sigh...yeah, I'm just not all that efficient. And, with a full time job, my own writing, editing for TWRP, freelance editing, critiquing, promoting, etc, I really should become more efficient. Oh well!

Christine DePetrillo said...

Someday, I hope to take a vacation to The Wayside. Maybe spend a week or two.

Leah St. James said...

I'm like Alicia, exhausted just reading about your lists! If I started thinking about everything I didn't get done in a day, I'd probably cry myself to sleep at night! My lists are in my head, a dangerous place to be. :-)