Wednesday, 10 March 2010


I like the word dovetailing - it's a much nicer word to roll off the tongue than multi-tasking. That one puts me in mind of harrassed office workers, trying to do 17 things at once, or a character out of "The Office". I always feel to it should have "s before and after it, and envisage people doing the " with their fingers in thin air..........
I do have a lot of the things on the go at once, but I prefer the term dovetailing - making one job or task flow into the next, or from the previous one; the art is to have several things being done, but being able to give all your attention to the one immediately in hand.
Take a Monday for instance - washing day and baking/cooking here, also the general housework. I take time to think through everything that needs to be done (as opposed to everything I would like to be done).Five or ten minutes planning an order of work really, really does make the difference between being a worn out frazzled wreck with only half your jobs done at 4 o'clock, and being able to sit down for half an hour with a cup of tea before supper. It does for me, anyway.
So, on a Monday, first thing is to open up the stove - it can take a while for it to get to baking heat, so I do that first, so it can be chugging away, while I get the washing in - the machine can also be chugging away whilst I feed and water the beasties and empty the water butt for the machine. While the butt is emptying into the bucket, I can nip into the freezer room and get out anything needed for that day/next day. Back inside, I get on with dusting, sweeping, tidying; with a break to hang out the washing when the machine finishes; the stove is coming up now, so the kettle goes on for a cup of tea. While it's boiling, upstairs to get the next load of washing and get it in. Make a pot of tea. Get ingredients out of larder for baking/cooking while it brews. Sit down for cup of tea and a bit of knitting. Start cooking etc - get everything I need to cook ready for the oven, put the first things in, and finish the housework while it's baking. I can tidy around in the kitchen, sort seeds, fold washing, etc while in the kitchen, but I don't stray too far when there's eomthing in a hot oven, just in case I forget When the baking's done, the supper gets organised, the next load of washing comes out of the machine and hung out or up, then everything is washed up, while the kettle is put on for another cup of tea.
In between, other things occur, ofcourse, and I either deal with them there and then or wait until later - family stuff,phone calls, post, ec.
By mid afternoon, most if not all is done, and I can turn my attention to something else - a bit of decluttering, working outside, knitting, whatever, until it's time for supper.
It works for me, most of the time, and the planning out of tasks, with the longest ones started first that can be going on while you tackle the rest makes a big difference to the amount I can get done in a day.
Ofcourse, sometimes, it all goes to pot, especially if it's sunny and I just go outside for the day, or a new knitting project requires attention.............

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