Friday, May 28, 2010

Multi tasking: the art of mediocrity

As a mom and a business owner, I have been forced to organize my life; I need to get the most out of my time, as it is in short supply. For me this means often going back to evaluate (and reevaluate when necessary) my priorities to make sure that my life is properly aligned. The goal of this, of course, is to minimize time spent on work (business or household) and maximize the amount of time I spend with family and doing other recreational things I enjoy.

This brings me to the topic of multitasking. Our society is full of it; talk on the phone while sending an email, check Facebook on your iPhone while sitting at a stoplight, etc., etc. etc. With a constant to-do list a mile long, sometimes it makes sense to multitask. For example, I might plan my household cleaning so that I start the washer and dishwasher first, clean the rest of the house, and by the time I’m done I can switch the clothes to the dryer and unload the dishwasher. This is a great example of planning for maximum efficiency. Simple enough, right?

What I avoid doing is checking my email over dinner, writing a to-do list while I am supposed to be having “Kate time,” or texting while having a face-to-face conversation with my husband. While I may have emails to check or blog posts to write, being true to my values means that I am not doing those things while I am sitting at the dinner table. Why? Because there are some things that deserve my undivided attention. I hold “being present in the moment” high on my priority list and my family, friends and clients deserve to have all of me.

Our fast paced, success driven society puts great value on tasks accomplished. I admit it, I love writing out lists and scratching them off when they are complete. But in the end, I will not reflect back on my life and say, “I had a wonderful life because I got so much done!” I am more likely to reflect back on the special moments I spend with my children, the intimate moments I share with my husband and fun times spent with friends. For me, the importance lies in seeking a balance between the two: accomplishing daily tasks and making time for the real joys of life.

Who wants to do a mediocre job at everything when you can do a phenomenal job with only the things you really care about?

Look for more soon on the topic of outsourcing.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Throo the Zoo 5k

I finished my first race today. I was not happy with my time, which was right around 34 minutes. I wanted to finish in under 30 minutes. What the hell happened? Well, first off, I spit out my old gum and then forgot to get a new piece before the race started and my mouth was dry through the race. Annoying, yes, but that didn't really affect my time. There was no clear start and finish line. That was a real barrier to me keeping accurate time. You would think that the organizers of the race might think of that. I later saw a photo of the "start" line- a poster board that said start. There were around 2000 people registered- a poster board is not sufficient labeling, guys! I never saw a finish line, I just thought I should stop running when I saw others had stopped and were standing in line for bagels and coffee. Weird. Physically speaking, my right knee had been bothering me all week. I didn't have any problem with it today, thank goodness! I did have a side stitch for a small amount of time but it subsided fairly quickly.

Thinking back, I have been able to consistently improve my time while running the same route over and over. I really think knowing what to expect played some part in it. In the route I run near the house, I know what time I should be running at certain points during the run to stay on target. I didn't know the course today and didn't have any idea how far I'd run. (I saw a mile marker at mile 1, but not after that.)Also, I was afraid that I might start off too quickly then be too tired at the end to finish strong. When the race started, and for the first half mile or so, I fought through crowds of people who were walking. Evidently they didn't get the memo that they were supposed to stick toward the back.

Overall, this experience has encourage me to train more. Since I have only been running for 3 weeks, I am pretty darn proud that I was even able to run 3.1 miles! This is the furthest that I have ever run in my life!!

After the run, we enjoyed some Cracker Barrel with the in-laws and then headed back to the zoo. Pretty nice Saturday. And for all of my hard work, I am enjoying a beer as I type this! As a side note, we found out that Aunt Becca is the same height as an average gorilla.

Here are a few photos from the day. Enjoy!

This was my competition... think I will ever have a chance of keeping up with him? He finished in 15 minutes.