Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thinking Like a Man

You know how when a man sets out to do a task, he has tunnel vision and gets the job done?  Or you ask him to watch the kids while you go shopping, and when you get back  everyone's still alive but nothing else has been done?  He didn't think to unload the dishwasher, vacuum the house, do the laundry, etc.  He was watching the kids!  

I used to be amazed by this when it happened.  How come I can do fifteen things at once and he can only do one?  Well, I think it's because we're made differently!  Are you having a lightbulb moment?  This really is going somewhere, I promise.

This week I got tons of stuff done.  I also had a revelation about my work habits.  

Years ago B.C. (before children), I had the ability to focus for long periods of time; hours even.  I'd begin and end a project on the same day.  Then the children came along.  I remember fussing to a friend about my inability to get anything done for all the interruptions.  She gave me this advice that I've used now for almost thirty years.  She said, "You have to learn to work piecemeal."  I had no idea what she meant never having heard that word before.  She explained, "When you sew, instead of trying to make the whole thing at one time, just thread your machine.  If you are able, go ahead and lay out your pattern, etc."  In other words, learn to work in very small increments. 

So that's the way I've trained myself to work, and Flylady says the same thing.  You can conquer the world fifteen minutes at a time.  That's great advice and really keeps you from being frustrated.  You eventually get things done.

But now that I'm in a position to have longer stretches of time to work, I don't know what to do.  My attention span is almost zero or about fifteen minutes long!  I'm going to have to retrain myself to think.  The book The Power of an Hour by Dave Lakhani that I'm reading does just that.  He says that great amounts of work can be done in an hour of focused attention.

Studies have shown that it takes about twenty minutes to get in "the zone".  I've found this to be exactly right.  I love when the zone happens.  The world fades away.  It's just you and your work.  It's a very satisfying place to be.  

So that's what I'm going to try to do this month.  I'm going to make myself stick to a project for an hour at a time.  Hopefully I'll be able to retrain myself to work the way I once could.  And young women, don't hate me because I have this kind of time now.  It took me thirty years to get here!  Well, actually twenty seven, but who's counting.


1 comment:

Barbara said...

That is interesting that it takes 20 mions. to get in the Zone. I have not heard this before but can certainly testify to the truth of it. I foind it very hard to get started on things but when I do get into it I am 100 % there and don't want to stop.

I have not heard of the Dewey decimal system but I see you are obviously very oganised with your systems. I just had to get into my DVDs etc as I had duplicates and also found it difficult to find anything or know exactly what I had. Have been working on it today but still quite a way to go. As for b ooks I have in recent months bought two books that I already had but have not yet read so books will have to be done too sometime. By done I mean just making a list of all of them, hundreds.
Thanks for visiting and commenting. I will come back and check yours out some more.