Multitasking

I hate multitasking.

I really hate that it’s expected of me because I’m female.

Some women multitask just fine, and good for them. But if you’re insanely forgetful, like me, multitasking rapidly turns into ‘wait, was I doing something else? What am I doing now? Did someone just talk to me? What?’ and getting distracted and having a half-dozen half-done tasks instead of four finished ones. I have learned that it is a very bad idea to go put the kettle on while the laundry tub fills, or to answer one email while the kettle boils, or just play one little flash-game while I think about what to write next in an email, because I will invariably forget what I was doing, and then I’ll flood the laundry, realize an hour later that I still don’t have any coffee, or realize two days later that I never finished answering that email.

I can mix related tasks just fine. I can make Kielle’s lunch and my coffee simultaneously. I can answer work emails while answering the phone. But I usually can’t leave the room and remember to come back. And it drives me mad when I get yelled at because of it, as has happened often both at work and at home. My sister once took shameless advantage of the fact that I don’t register sound very well or very fast while reading to walk up to me and say quickly and loudly ‘Hey, Sarah, can I hit you?’

I looked up and said ‘yes?’ because all I’d heard was my name.

She punched me in the arm.

I responded with “OW! Why did you… wait (her earlier words finally registering)… that was mean!”

Our dad, who’d seen the whole thing, nearly passed out laughing and refused to punish her for hitting me because she’d asked permission first.

I have no idea why, but it’s very difficult for me to read and process verbal input simultaneously. My mother has the same problem but even worse – she is literally incapable of reading and talking at the same time (she reads out loud just fine, but can’t read and talk about something different), and has to stop and do a mental reset every time she’s interrupted.

So if you have trouble multitasking, and have been told that you’re just not trying, or not paying attention, or whatever, then I am hugging you in my mind right now. Because I feel your pain.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go to the bathroom, put my e-reader on the charger, and find my phone. I am confident that I can get at least one of those done before I forget what I was doing and wander back to the computer.

Edit: I got distracted and played five games of Candy Crush before even getting up, and only just now remembered to charge the e-reader, but I got there eventually.

 

Time Management

I love playing time-management games. Getting everything ordered just so, figuring out the ‘right’ order of actions to beat the timer and win the gold star. So why is it so hard for me to organize my time in real life? Is it the lack of simple, defined parameters, or just the dearth of gold stars?

It doesn’t help that I am forgetful on an Olympic level. I forget the names of family. Of friends. Of pets. I forget things I was going to do, things I was going to buy, and things I said just a minute ago. I have on two occasions genuinely forgotten my own name, at least for a minute. I am the reigning champion of ‘wait, why did I get up?’ and the record-holder for ‘…. I came in here looking for something‘. So perhaps it’s not surprising how frequently I forget that I’m trying to change my routines to get more writing/cooking/sleeping done.

But it’s frustrating, because this is something I *want* to do. Something that’s really important to me. So I have to wonder if this is genuine forgetting, or self-sabotage. Am I just putting it off because I’m afraid of not succeeding? Because as long as a finished manuscript is a dream not a reality, I don’t have to embark on the serial-rejection stage of the relationship? I won’t lie, I’m dreading that part. I’ve been known to weep over a scathing review of a piece of fan-fiction. Being spurned by agent after agent is going to leave me a wreck, I’m fully aware of that. But I have to go through that to reach the Spawning Ground of Publication, so putting it off isn’t helping.

Maybe I should start giving myself gold stars for goals achieved. I could put up a chart on the fridge, and try to reach ‘novelist’ in the shortest amount of time with as many gold stars as possible. It’s worth a shot, right?