Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Focusing on one thing at a time

I know it isn't groundbreaking or anything, but I've discovered focusing on one thing at a time. For so long, I've been a crazy multi-tasker, but recently I've felt worn down by doing too much at the same time and not really seeing the results of such frantic activity. It's been truly difficult to slow down and concentrate on one thing and I'm still struggling, but oh, the results are not what I expected! It's difficult transitioning to doing only one thing at a time because there's this little voice in the back of my mind telling me that I need to shift my focus and do something else or it won't get done. I've had to work really hard to ignore that voice.

On Monday, I spent a couple of hours cleaning the fridge. It had to be done. Things were gettting bad in there and that's not normal for me. I took everything out. I looked at expiration dates on everything. I took out every single drawer and shelf and washed them in soapy water. I hand dried every shelf and put them back. I had to throw out a few things- some moldy cheese and a couple of liquefied veggies. I made a list of things I needed to replace. The whole time though, I felt this nudge to get a move onto something else or this would be the only thing I got done today. I knew that wasn't true. I'd get more accomplished, but at the time, it felt true. I didn't listen and I stayed focused. It turned out that I ended up being much happier that I stuck with the unpleasant task rather than breaking it up into bits because I thought I could get more done if I worked on a few things at the same time. I was much happier to have the whole fridge cleaned and I was free to move onto something else. I always joke that I have some form of adult ADD or something, but I believe it's just lack of discipline. I need to re-learn the discipline of staying focused long enough to see something through despite all the chatter to the contrary. I thought about this past weekend where I was determined to cut and sew the topper to The Hungry Caterpillar quilt. I didn't read and I didn't knit. I sewed and I was amazed. I had completed the topper! I didn't have a half-sewn project, a half-read book or a half-knit object!

It shouldn't amaze me at the results, but it does. Multi-tasking has left me feeling bereft, unaccomplished and unfinished. I've seen projects pile up some only barely started.

I've always had several books going at once as well and I only realized recently that this has made me a much slower reader. Although there will always be several books on my nightstand, it's been a real eye-opener to re-discover reading only one book at a time. It's another thing that's been very difficult for me. I'm too interested in so many different things, but it's not calming to pursue them all at once I've discovered. If I concentrate on only one thing at a time, it doesn't mean that I'm no longer interested in all those other things.

Take knitting, for example. I'm so over-inspired to knit that I've bought way too much yarn and I'm left feeling like I've more than I can manage. I yearn for a more simple life (less is more), but the way I live doesn't really reflect that at all. It takes serious discipline to work on only one thing at a time.

Thank you Sarah and MaryG for helping me manage my yarn. I'll be boxing up your new-to-you yarn today and shipping tomorrow. I'll post a new picture of my now not-overflowing yarn basket later today!

In this post, I mentioned this abandoned quilt project. Any quilter out there who would like to take on re-inventing this quilt? Like I mentioned in that previous post, I have plenty of extra fabric to send along with the topper. It's very bright and Spring-like. Can't you see that I'm practically begging someone to take this?

Less is more. Less is more. Less is more. Less is more. Less is more.

In today's world, it's a challenge to focus on those things that give us pure joy. It shouldn't be, but it is. Life is full of distractions and that's normal, but when it comes to doing anything worthwhile (yes, even cleaning the fridge), it's important to give it all we've got.


the momma said...

I would be thrilled to take on your abandoned quilt project! I'm fairly new to quilting (just a bit over a year) and haven't yet had the pleasure of sewing on any designer fabrics yet ~ although - I did just order the California Dreamin' line and can't wait to get sewing on it :-)


Lucy said...

This isn't a comment about your post per se, so you don't need to publish it. I just wanted to invite you to "Kids say the darndest things Friday" blog hop at:

We’d love to have you join the fun and share your stories. I’m sure that you have some real gems!

In Christ,