How I do it

by Pari Noskin Taichert

How do you do it?

The question snickers in my inbox. It’s the late-night topic of conversation in bars. Friends shake their heads in consternation. Acquaintances think I’m some kind of superwoman.

How do you do it?

The truth is, my life is a wonderful mess. It’s fractured and overscheduled, satisfying and frustrating, surprising and predictable.

In an effort to gain a bit of control, I try to organize myself, to make and reach goals. At the beginning of each week, I tell myself I’ll . . .

write at a consistent time every day
write a set amount every day
leave phones unanswered
ignore emails
get rid of clutter
clean my office and keep it clean
schedule my day for maximum efficiency
cut down on caffeine
increase sleep time
get up earlier
go to bed earlier
read more; read less
get more exercise
spend more time with the kids
write MORE
cook nutritious meals
make time to talk with my husband; let him have much-needed time alone
clean the fridge; eat all the produce in it before buying more
take better care of myself
take better care of the yard
clean the damn house
talk to the fig tree . . .

And that’s just what I can remember from last Sunday.

Here’s what I’ve done since 7 this morning:
Watered front and back yards. Fed kids. Cleaned kitchen. Took one kid to swim team. Helped other child with math. Wrote blog. Took one kid to swimming lessons and stayed to encourage/assess for need for next week. Rewrote blog. Answered emails. Managed new attendees-only Yahoo group for Left Coast Crime 2008 in Denver (sign up, people!). Wrote in Darnda series. Thought through a plot point for Sasha. Worked on redesign of website. Went to store. Composed letter and mailed manuscript to new PR person. Went to bookstore to buy present for tomorrow b-day party for kid’s friend; schmoozed with inventory manager. Got kids lunch. Did research for Sasha book. Planned more publicity for LCC 2008. Wrote another section for website. Visited MySpace and Crimespace to confirm friends. Helped daughter with her typing; read a story she wrote and talked with her about it . . .

I’m sure I’ve forgotten more than half of it.

Sometimes I wish I could go on an extended retreat — for a month or two — without distractions. That’ll have to wait for at least the next 10 years.

In the meantime, all I can do is try to insert a bit of order here and there.

Lately, I’ve been focusing on what I DO accomplish — stressing the positive — a page written, a chapter edited, a mailing sent . . . a smile earned, a child’s hug freely given, food eaten happily.

How do I do it?

I don’t.

But I keep trying.

How do you do it?

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