Monthly Archives: July 2017

Focusing on … 20 Things?


Haha. Good old Jeremy. Forever a teenager, immortalized on the funny pages. But also a good example of what happens sometimes when we try to do more than one thing at a time.

And, frankly, today I am not certain what my day would look like if I truly decided to focus on one task as a time. Kepler, as a task, kind of makes it unlikely that I can really focus on one thing at a time unless I plan not to get one single other thing done during the day except when he is at a lesson, or school, or with a babysitter.

I’m not giving up. I’m becoming aware. I’m grateful for his non-stop patter and questions. He stretches me, makes me laugh, and gives me things to think about. But trying to get anything else done, especially without interruptions, can be pretty tricky.

Today’s baby step is to just give myself a little break, and stop expecting myself to be able to be with my child full-time AND accomplish ALL the things.


Keep Calm and Drive Safely

aid451454-v4-900px-Pay-Maximum-Attention-While-Driving-Step-4-Version-2Buddy this was me today. Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel. Which, BTW, is the slogan I came up with a long time ago to reduce texting and driving. But “don’t text or you’ll have a wreck” or something like that is what is up on the signs here.

Whether or not you text and drive, and you surely shouldn’t, and I can say that even if I have done it because it’s still true, many people use their cellular devices while driving. Just a few of the reasons you might have your phone in your hand: it buzzed and you wonder why, you get a call, you need to get directions, you want to find a new song on your music app, you are looking for something and need to ask Siri where it is, you have information relevant to this trip on your phone’s notes app, your book on tape suddenly turns off and you wonder why, you need to know the weather where you are going, you’re in a tight race to win an auction on eBay.

Today I decided not to use my phone for anything while I drove. There were two legs to the trip. Leg 1, no phone. Leg 2, I was distracted by my phone.

I guess when they put radios in cars, this was about all there was to it:


Is YOUR radio that simple now? Nope. Look at the buttons on the above picture. Five good-sized buttons your fingers can feel without looking. You can easily count over if need be. There are only five choices. The radio probably wasn’t very distracting when it looked like this.

Today, quite a few radios are digital and have a plethora of buttons and dials, which all have more than one function, depending on how you hold your mouth. In my car, the radio is actually a distraction, which is why I tried driving without it today.

What a nice experience that was. No disturbing news about major politicians tweeting out new rules and regulations and fits of pique. No blaring commercials about once-in-a-lifetime (once-this-week) car sales or hormone treatments or scalped event tickets for sale (THREE THREE THREE ESS EEE AYE TEE). No temptation to change channels or modes or bands or cds.

I noticed a big difference in the experience of driving when I focused on driving. I looked at the cars in front of me, and noticed where they were beside me. I easily saw the minivan who was creeping into my lane.

Remember what I wrote yesterday? Multi-tasking actually adds cognitive stress with every switch and this accumulates and can eventually lead to fatigue, overload and burnout. What does this do to us as we drive? Maybe this is part of the reason for road rage?

Another distraction in the car can often be children, at least in my car. I haven’t tried driving attentively with a child in the car, but I daresay there will be adjustments to make in order to pay the best attention to the road ahead.

I recommend you try an experiment wherein you intentionally drive attentively. Dedicate yourself to the task of driving. What distracted you while you drove? What did you do with your phone while you drove? Did you miss out on anything while you were driving attentively? Leave a comment and let me know what you discover.

Today’s post addressed my first objective: become aware of what is distracting me from what/who is in front of me. What have you become aware of that is distracting you?


Long Time, No See


So, I fell off the edge of the earth a few months ago. Fortunately, I did have a rope tied around my waist. Unfortunately, it hurt like a banshee when the rope extended to its full length. Fortunately, I have some extra padding so my liver was not completely halved. Unfortunately, it took me awhile to pull myself back up to the edge of the earth. Fortunately, I managed to swing my leg up and over and got myself back up here onto the earth. Unfortunately, it had been so long since I had written that I was too embarrassed to come back. Fortunately, I remembered that I enjoy blogging and there seem to be one to three people who like reading my writing, so I got over myself.

And so, here I am again.

You might be wondering what made me come back after all this time. Was it taking up the drums? Was it my fourth child getting ready to go to college? Was it the exciting prospect of my eldest coming home for awhile? Was it the new things in the works with my honey’s career?

Nope. None of those things. What got me back here was clutter. The very reason I started this blog in 2008. You see, I thought I might go for a bike ride today. But in the process of preparing, I realized my life is rather like Fibber McGee’s closet.


Too much stuff to pay attention to. Too little organization of it all. Too much time to find things. Too little putting away of things. Too much distraction. Too little concentration.

Therefore, I have decided today that I am embarking on a 30-day challenge to become a champion of single-tasking. Today is day 0. Just getting all the details figured out and putting them out there to give myself a little bit of accountability.

I have three objectives:

Objective: become aware of what is distracting me from what/who is in front of me.
Objective: become stronger at focusing on one single task at a time.
Objective: discover what has to change in order to become more focused and able to concentrate.

The internet tells me that mono-tasking, or single-tasking, is the practice of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the task is completed or a significant period of time has elapsed. Multi-tasking actually adds cognitive stress with every switch and this accumulates and can eventually lead to fatigue, overload and burnout.

Frankly, I’ve had enough fatigue, overload and burnout. My quest is to find the holy grail of the perfect intersection of energy, enthusiasm, and eustress.