Tag Archives: multi-tasking

Brain in need of a reboot

17 Feb

No room in the brainMy brain has neither enough space nor sufficient individual compartments for the current pace of parenting. My memory has about 533kb spare; I can identify this clearly as that is the point where my phone refuses to cope with any more functional data requests and tells me it is ‘critically low on storage’, and I have to ‘manage storage’, which I do by backing up photos and deleting the latest round of offspring selfies and apps downloaded to battle boredom at points where things like car services and haircuts have exceeded duration expectations.

I haven’t yet found an app for automatically managing my mobile storage issues; and it seems that for managing the storage settings in my brain, well there isn’t an app for that either.

So the circuitry is starting to fizzle at the edges. Often I am trying to say something while speed-thinking something else, which goes horribly wrong in all processes; words are incorrectly substituted and children stare at me blankly, saying ‘Chicory?’ in a quizzical manner, leading me to realise that I have combined teeth-cleaning instructions with an attempt to recall the name of the leafy veg from earlier, which has ended badly for all concerned. Or I can picture the word clearly written in my head, but it will not translate to making the exit via the medium of speech. 

I do try and concentrate on one thing at a time, but I have a feeling that mono-focus starts and ends with the world of work.

To be fair, I think the main problem is to do with the number of queries and reminders parenting seems to require on an hourly basis. It definitely isn’t helped by my children’s insistence that I need to have two entirely separate conversations with each of them simultaneously. Sometimes I will congratulate myself on having seamlessly answered one question immediately followed by a second, asked within the same milli-moment, then realise (after some hours of panic and initially fruitless searching) that I have put my purse in the fridge so the chain of logic has simply broken down at a different, less immediately obvious, point. The numbers of items I have lost track of because I have been doing something useful with them while concurrently ensuring something else happens are legion. 

If I could select the files to delete in order to function efficiently in the here and now, it is clear to me what they would be. The stash of embarrassing memories 1994-2001, for a start. The ones that make me curl my toes still, they have no place here. And that would, to be fair, liberate several gig, maybe even a terabyte. All the lyrics to ‘When will I be famous?’ by Bros, I think they can go away now. Obscure back routes between various no longer visited mid-Kent locations are no longer necessary to be saved, particularly since we purchased an up-to-date sat nav. 

But they stubbornly seem to remain, so I will be seeking my purse in domestic appliances a while longer, I fear.

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Multi-tasking Christmas with normality, badly

10 Dec

Argh too much!There are not sufficient compartments in my brain to cope with the demands of the festive season. The delicate balance between finely tuned sequential activity without let-up, and chaos, is disturbed by extra curricular activities like present wrapping, getting the kids to write class-wide cards, and managing the Ls’ multiple social partying demands. This is the time of year when I feel the dividing line between calm and carnage trembles and thins.

My brain seems to manage this by filing – without my permission nor indeed my knowledge – crucial requirements in its ‘let’s not worry about this for now’ file. By hideous chance, tax returns and our car insurance are due just before Christmas, not to mention my wedding anniversary. I mean, what fool chooses marriage just prior to the Christmas season? Did I not think about what this would mean. Clearly not. I realise now that a nice Saturday in October, or maybe the end of January, would have made infinitely more sense. Eleven years on I’m annually taken by surprise by the arrival of 14th December, warmly embraced as it is by making sure we’ve got enough cards and coordinating with the carol service.

It’s probably no surprise, therefore, that this morning I found myself on the 0710 Swanley to Victoria service (late running) to retrieve my laptop cable, abandoned overnight in a client’s office, neither unloved nor unwanted. As a result when we returned home last night my laptop, with its 8 minutes’ battery life, fired up for long enough for me to fire off an email chasing up tardy online presents, and instantly sighed and died. I was back in the home office (dining room) by 9.45, but frankly I was overall disconcerted, thrown from my Tuesday pattern of day.

So if I don’t show up for an appointment, or if a present is wrapped with newsletters from the Ls school, forgive me. It’s not thoughtlessness, I promise, it’s havingtoomuchtothingaboutness.

When is multi-tasking just not paying attention to anything?

6 Feb

And there goes the red one...I don’t mean multi-tasking in the paid work sense, of course. Multi-tasking in the work sense makes sense (‘sense’ twice in that sentence is deliberate, by the way, not because I am multi-tasking) because it is essentially all work.  While you may be looking after a wide variety of projects throughout the day, throughout the hour, or even, at trying (‘challenging’) times, throughout the minute, the end is the same – working for the good of the organisation who pays the bills (and, more critically, funds the coffee addiction).

No, here I refer to the kind of multi-tasking that sees you perched on the loo writing a text message while trying to sew a Cubs badge back on; or that sees you pulling your tights on while changing a fuse. Predictive text, I must add, has introduced a giant potential ‘fail’ into multi-tasking of this nature. It is remarkably easy accidentally to communicate an insult when you were trying to write ‘idiom’ (as often I do when texting, naturally). And worse, but this is a family blog.

Because this multi-tasking always leads to something going appallingly wrong. You sew yourself to the loo and drop your phone down it when you attempt to call for help, for instance; or put your finger on a live wire (and don’t scoff, I did that, just recently, cleaning under the shoe tidy while simultaneously fixing the phone base station) and ladder your tights as a result.

And also, where kids are involved, it can never work. My belated New Year’s resolution is that I will not try and do something not-L-related while doing something L-related at the same time. I cringe with shame when they’re telling me something and my phone beeps and I lose the next four sentences. The message can wait, when I’m with them – much as I love to be constantly-contactable (and I do, let’s be honest, I do, in a love-hate ‘I’ve eaten too much Chinese takeway but it was bloody lovely so…’ kind of way) – because grown-ups, whatever my relationship with them, will understand or even expect the delay, but the Ls won’t be full of enthusiasm to tell me about Mary Seacole for ever, and that is what I need to prioritise and embrace.