Friday, September 14, 2012

The kids are back to school -- so where's my productivity?

It’s bothering me that I’m not getting more done.
The days just after the kids go back to school should be full of quiet, uninterrupted work hours. My productivity should soar in the weeks that follow Labor Day.
But of course, school isn’t the only endeavor that gets under way in early September. There are new community projects being launched, new writing assignments to attack, new clients to cultivate, and all the local friends I didn’t see all summer to catch up with.

Plus the house is kind of a mess, post-summer vacation, and I’d love to do a serious fall cleaning.

So I wake up too early in the morning – or in the middle of the night – thinking about all I’m not getting done: thinking about upcoming deadlines and unanswered correspondences.
Yesterday, for example, I seemed to get nothing done at all. There were just too many distractions. I called the plumber to fix a leak, chopped potatoes to make clam chowder for dinner, went for a run, picked up the mail, finished organizing the school library volunteer schedule, researched some information related to our insurance policies, did a phone interview for an upcoming column, and pitched a story.

And all the while I felt frustrated that I wasn’t getting anything done. Not anything I’d lain awake at night thinking about, at least.
But then I realized what I had in fact gotten done: all of the above. It was one of those times that I needed to turn my focus from my To Do list to my Did list. Yes, there were a bunch of items I didn’t get to, but everything I had managed to address surely didn’t count as nothing, did it?

Sometimes I think I need to get more organized and other times I think I just need to be more realistic about what I can do. Everything I accomplished yesterday needed to be done. To my mind, so did a lot of other things that didn’t get done.

But somehow it all works out, and when I get too frazzled, I just remind myself that by some standards, I’m actually keeping up just fine.


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