Tuesday, April 28, 2009

she's a little bit OCD; she's a little bit ADHD. Or something.

One of the most frustrating things I deal with, internally, is balancing my focus. Striking a balance between focusing primarily on fixing/doing/achieving ONE thing and achieving many things all at once is intensely difficult for me. I find myself being a very 'all or nothing' person. (And then I wonder if I don't have some sort of mental illness. But we won't go there.)

Take this housecleaning bit I'm focused on right now...I really, truly feel that if I don't bite the bullet and spend almost all of my at-home time focusing on it until it is completed, it will never get done and I will be roadblocked by it forever. But it is a VERY big project and is taking a long time...and as time goes by I start to feel very antsy that I am not focusing on other things too. I'm not focusing on losing weight, on meal planning; I'm not focusing on Heritage Makers. I'm not focusing on training the dogs. I'm not focusing on my writing. I'm not focusing on exercise or running or finding / signing up for local races. Any number of things I want to be doing (yes, there's more than that, believe me). Determining what my true priorities are at any given time, and staying focused on them, is excruciating. Inevitably I find that if I start letting other things creep in, if I tell myself "oh, ok, I'll split the day between cleaning the house and Heritage Makers", for instance - I start feeling guilty because I'm not also focusing on exercise / weight loss. So I tell myself "Oh, OK, I'll split the day between cleaning the house and Heritage Makers and meal planning. And I'll set regulated times to eat and make appointments with myself to go to the gym every day. Oh, and every time I switch activities I'll spend ten minutes training with the dogs. And I need to make sure I get quality time with the kids in too..." and before you know it, I've squeezed in way too many activities again and my day looks something like this:

9:00 wake, get dressed
9:30 breakfast
10:00 go to gym
11:00 shower
11:30 clean house
11:45 make lunch
12:00 eat lunch
12:30 take Drake to Playskool
12:45 quality time with Oksana
1:00 train dogs
1:15 ...

you get the picture. Every activity in my life getting a tiny sliver of time every day, and me getting stressed out beyond belief when I inevitably fall OFF SCHEDULE, and getting nothing done because spending 15 minutes a day decluttering the house gets me nowhere fast.

But it is HARD for me to stop chronically overscheduling myself. And I feel like I'm doing something wrong by focusing primarily on one thing (IE decluttering the house). It feels unnatural to me, and I worry that I am becoming obsessive, that my inability to focus on anything else is a problem...but if I crack it open, then I focus on TOO MUCH. So I tell myself this is actually a form of therapy for me; that by forcing myself to focus on this ONE thing, and by accomplishing this ONE thing, I will be better able to accomplish other things in my life. And once the decluttering is done I can put a simple housecleaning schedule into place that the whole family can help with, and we can KEEP it clean, and I can move on to the next project when this becomes routine. It's therapy, right? I'm not crazy, right?

I would like to note that I am not totally obsessive about the ONE thing. My children aren't languishing around unfed and untended; I do spend some time being social; I do spend some time maintaining my current Heritage Makers relationships each day...that sort of thing. But I try to keep it to a minimum while I focus on this one goal. It's just...really damn hard for me to DO that.

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