Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Doorway Amnesia

Today, I went to the bathroom to put in my contact lenses. Turn on the lights and it's a little darker than usual - the bulb over the sink is burned out. That reminds me that it's been burned out for a couple of days now and I keep saying, "I'll do it later," then later not remembering to do it. Okay, I'm going to do it right now! I tell myself. Then I put in my contact lenses and go to the basement to get a new bulb.

I head down the stairs, turn left to go down the hallway past the guest bedroom, office, and bathroom. Hanging on the molding of the doorways are clothes on hangers that were hung to dry and are now dry. In the laundry room, which is an amazing mess mostly because of two hockey players airing out equipment, in front of the washing machine is JD's laundry hamper.

I was so proud of him! He recognized that his hamper was full and brought it down to the laundry room. Part of my diabolical scheme to get the kids to eventually do their own laundry is to take it in steps. First was to make them put their dirty clothes into their hampers in their rooms. Next, I stopped putting their clothes away and would put folded clothes on the floor in their rooms. Now, they have to bring their hamper to the laundry room if they want clean clothes. Then I fold their laundry and leave it in the living room on the main floor where they have to bring it up to their room to put away. Soon, they'll learn how to put it in the washing machine and get that running, then how to change it to the dryer, separating things that should be hung to dry, then finally getting it out of the dryer and completing the process. I figure, if they can do their own laundry by the time they're 11 or 12, I've won.

Back to the story...

I empty JD's laundry into the washing machine, all the while considering a few items that I could or should maybe separate out, then decide, fuck it, and just throw everything in, add detergent, turn a dial, press some buttons and start the magic. Then, I start walking out of the laundry room, grab all of the clothes on hangers and bring them upstairs to my bedroom and put them away.

Then I noticed the dry cleaning bag on the floor and realize that, even though it's not full, it's been a while so I should just take it in, regardless of how many items are inside. But, wait! There are all of these plastic tag holder things that I've been meaning to remove and this is the time, so I sit down, grab scissors and the garbage can, and get to that. Then, because I'm sitting on the floor of my room, I see papers that I normally wouldn't have seen because from 6'5", things at floor level are pretty far away. So I put recyclables into the basket alongside the dry cleaning bag.

In going through these papers, I came across some old practice plans, reminding me that we have soccer practice tonight and I haven't put together a plan. Great! Here's an old plan that was comprehensive. Ooo, but then I've thought up a new drill that combines passing, shooting, goalkeeping, and distributing, so I had to write that down.

Finally, I finish all of that, bring the basket down, find a box by the back door that has been neglected but has a bunch of other papers to be recycled in it, so I added these to the pile and set the basket by the basement stairs. Then, I had to pee.

So I go to the bathroom, turn the lights on, and it's surprisingly dark. The bulb over the sink is out. I have to change it! But first I have to pee and then write down this episode...

If you want to understand the phenomenon of forgetting things when we move from one room to another, here are a could of articles about "The Doorway Effect":

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Folding laundry

Continuing my discussion about time management, I just kept track of the time it takes to deal with laundry.

I just folded a basket of laundry. 20 minutes. I've never timed that before, and if someone had asked how long that would take, I probably would have said five to ten minutes.

Those are the types of things that throw off my schedule - underestimating hours long tasks take.

Other tasks that take longer that one may think:
Writing email
Checking social media
Getting ready to leave the house
Unpacking groceries
Loading the washing machine
Changing loads of laundry
Post shower routine
Morning bathroom regiment
Boiling water
Heating up the grill

Do you have anything to add to the list?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Reducing the Piles

Today's "Master of the Obvious" moment:

While cleaning up, I realized why it's important to put things away as I come to them instead of making piles of things that go to the same place, then putting them away together, which feels more efficient.

It turns out that I often bite off more than I can chew. Which is another way of saying that I sometimes have poor time management. Perhaps it's less time management, and more like, having an unrealistic expectation for how long tasks take.

For example, when cleaning up my kitchen / dining / shoe storage room today, I took one or two pairs of boots to the basement for storage until next year, or until it snows next week. (Welcome to Chicago.) Then I took a couple more. Then a couple more. I took some papers and, instead of making piles of "to recycle" and "to file," I recycled and filed on the fly.

While blocking off time for tasks, I often find myself requiring more time than I thought I would need. If I did not need to block off time for tasks - they could end whenever I finished, rather than when I needed to move on to another task - then making piles is much more efficient.

By completing small items right away, no piles get left over. Those piles had no future time on the docket. That means that those piles (and there are still plenty) do not come to completion.

Now, I have boots in the closet, not in a pile waiting to go the the basement because I lost track of time and have to go get the kids, take them to activities, start dinner, get to practice, spend time with Wife, and go to my own hockey game. Are there still things to do? Plenty! The number has been reduced, rather than repositioned. Just like cleaning-as-you-go in the kitchen; perhaps you'll have time after dinner to clean up the whirlwind, but if honey gives you the wink and nudge, or the Blackhawks are on, or the energy goes away, that pile stays there until the next day.