Friday, November 4, 2011

Multitasking your way to failure and exhaustion

I am a multitasker from childhood, I think.  Sometimes I even overwhelm me!  My daughters seem to have inherited the pesky quirk, and I have learned much about myself from watching them.  My youngest daughter who is impressive in her bright, energetic whirl of accomplishments taught me something this week.  Still in college, she has done climate research, completed a grant proposal (which she had to present to the committee) done a presentation on the Salton Sea research she and a team did last summer at the annual GSA meeting, and carries a full load of math and science at school, does volunteer work and committees - well I'm tired just thinking about it all.  So this week she had to drop out of another grant proposal for the climate research because Calculus is kicking her butt.  Okay, I never took Calculus, especially college Calculus, but, I think it is HARD stuff.  So there she is, feeling bad because she can't do it all.  Guess what, none of us can do it all.  As I heard myself reassuring her of this, and praising her ability to prioritize what she needs to do this semester, I learned something.  She prioritizes better than I do.  I would have failed Calculus before I figured out why I was so exhausted.  Instead, she spoke with her mentors, her advisor, got tutoring for the Calculus, and made the very adult decision to drop the one grant proposal, because she didn't have the time.  She also went to the gym twice this week..  How did I get such a smart kid?  Did I mention that she and her High School sweetheart are also "taking a break".  I'd be huddled under the covers of my bed.  But, not her.  I hope that means she's learned from watching me crash and burn a few times.  I already know she's smarter than me.
So why do we work ourselves into oblivion?  I always do more work, at work, than my peers.  I have responsibilities that exceed what I'm actually required to do.  Yes, my boss "loves" me.  I work hard, efficiently and accomplish much.  I earn the decent wage I'm paid.  I take one break a day - lunch (which took a long time for me to figure out didn't mean eating at my desk).  I'm not a smoker, so I'm not busy taking multiple other breaks throughout the day, as are a few others.  Why do I care that they feel entitled to all those breaks?  Human I guess.  But, I am trying to allow myself more down time lately and it helps.  Because I need a break once in awhile, too.
I'm not trying to work through a headache or exhaustion anymore.  If my body says "enough" it means it.  If a break doesn't fix it, then maybe it's time to go home.
This is my sweet baby girl doing her presentation at the big to do in Minnesota. (in the picture)