Does anyone else have a problem with multitasking? The old generalization goes that women are great multitaskers, men not at all. My experience is limited, though I can point to my mother as a fairly good busy-body, my dad not as much. But then there’s someone like Joel McHale, who has three or four television shows, a talk show, movies, a family, and I’m sure he saves puppies on his downtime. I’m not that guy. I sort of wish I was but I think I can accept that if I wasn’t at eight years old and I’m not at 29, I probably won’t be at 30. I’m not trying to be a workaholic. I just want my day to be more dynamic. How about I try my ideal day?
I wake up and make a tidy, delicious breakfast and prepare myself a lunch or two for later in the day. I clean up my mess, take a shower, brush my teeth, make my bed, put away any messes I’ve made in my room and prepare myself for my day. I leave and go for a four mile run (before or after the shower?); I write for three hours. The writing involves the website, the monthly series, editing the LA Riots book, submitting stories, and submitting to agents. Somewhere during this time I would like to read 50 pages from whichever book I’m working on and do more research about Africa. These chores and activities are due before two o’clock, at which time I need to go to work at Trader Joe’s until 10 o’clock.
Writing this down it seems so easy. On my best days I do two-thirds of the list. When I have a day off it seems even worse as I my brain checks out and I don’t get a start on any of this until 2 o’clock. More likely what happens is this: I wake up and lay in bed for maybe an hour, telling myself I should get out of bed and feeling like an asshole for not complying. The procrastination begins with pretending to read the news but spending more time reading entertainment bullshit and studying my finances and wondering how I can save 50 grand to buy a plot of land. I might make a breakfast and clean up after myself but I probably will not make a breakfast, clean up, AND clean my room. One of them has to be dropped–usually it’s my room–and sometimes even two or all three. It’s already too late to go for a run and write so I make a choice. (The choice in my head is sometimes to run for a half hour and follow it directly with less writing, but the 30 minute run somehow always gets stretched into an entire hour [not an hour of running mind you, but 30-40 minutes of running and 20-30 minutes of recovering from the mental exhaustion of making a decision.]) If I go running the running takes an hour and I usually find myself at work early where I can get in some reading. If I decide to write, I am already well behind my goal of three hours and am forced to make another choice between the book, the agent, the website, or the series. When I get to work I usually feel pretty good but the course of the day will determine what I do after work: friends, reading, sleep, drinks, or whatever or whomever else I’m obsessed with.
Of course, nowhere on here have I listed recreations. No television shows or hiking or shopping or gardening or painting or even talking with friends. All of those I would like to do as well, but herein lies the next problem. I’m a streaky son of a bitch. When I started watching “Friday Night Lights” I watched an episode or two everyday until I finished the show. When I garden I garden every day. When I play a video game I play it every day. I don’t do it for an hour. I don’t limit myself. I go full throttle. Streakiness isn’t the right word. I’m sure I’ve got several addictive personality traits, all of which get suppressed by the head on my shoulders which sets off alarms anytime an activity slips into compulsion. It’s why I recently canceled my “Words with Friends” app. I couldn’t play casually. It’s absolutely nutso, bonkers.
I wrote a story in an english class way back at Moorpark, inspired by the novel, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, about a prisoner’s day in a Soviet goulag. Mine was called, “A Day in the Life of Marcus Petrovich Brown”, which was instead about a day in the life of Junior College student with no job. It was an exaggerated form of my own day–the narrator worked out a lot more than I ever did, but we did share the same amount of time watching “Seinfeld” on TNT. If I can find the story I’ll put it up here just as a reference point.
My day thus far is as followed. I woke up at 9:45 after going to sleep around 2:00. It was the best sleep I’ve had in the last two weeks, two weeks which have sucked beyond all reason. I read the news (you know which kind), I responded to emails and wrote a few others myself, I looked at my savings account, my bank account, my Roth IRA account and wondered how I could save up money to buy land–not in Los Angeles. Suddenly it was 11:00 o’clock and I realized I had to get up. I passed on the shower, but made myself a smoothie which did not give me the sugar rush I feared, fixed myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for before work, took garbage bins to the street and made my way to the coffee shop. It’s 12:22, I’m almost done with this post. I have not been writing for three hours and won’t since I have to at work in an hour and a half and I’ve already decided that after work I’m going to clean the bathroom and mop the downstairs kitchen. I should probably edit this piece before I put it up but I still want to get some reading in as well as try and finish March’s Light Echo update–it’s almost ready. Can somebody, anybody help me out?
© 2013 Christopher Dart