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Friday, May 9, 2014

Free For All Friday No 34: Do stuff between stuff

We got a puppy last weekend, she is sweet and fun but a real handful! It’s almost like having a baby, but instead of midnight diaper changes it’s midnight walks in the yard. I’m told the chewing and piddling will end eventually!

With my sleep deprivation and extra work training a puppy (including the constant vigilance of making sure she doesn’t chew or mess up anything she’s not supposed to, which is everything) I’m finding it hard to do my normal weekly chores. This is of course made more difficult by the fact that for now the pup is confined to the kitchen and living room (where we have linoleum and wood floors, respectively, for easier clean-up). So I’m getting stuff done in those rooms but every other room is neglected.

It made me think of a thread on Facebook a few days ago where several of us were talking about dealing with increased workloads and Josh said the busier he is, the more he gets done because he goes into get-it-done mode. I have discovered a similar thing: I do stuff between stuff. For example I sweep the kitchen floor while waiting for my tea to brew. I fold clothes while the pup is napping. These are tasks that I normally would put off until later, but now I know I might not get another chance until tomorrow so I better get it done now.

Do you do stuff between stuff? And do you find the busier you are the more you manage to squeeze tasks in?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss anything planner-related!


  1. No -- I'm not that productive. When I have too much to do, I just lower my standards. ;-) You must show us a photo of the puppy!

  2. Congratulations on your new baby! They train up so fast, I promise you a few years down the line you'll be regretting how fast puppyhood goes (of course you'll be totally overjoyed with the adult, but puppy time is so special!), and they can housetrain super-quick - I swear our younger boy only took a couple of weeks! I think it's fantastic and amazing for you to be so productive when you add challenges to your schedule. I confess I slack off! Just make sure you don't waste any puppy playtime!

  3. I wish... when I have a lot on, my systems tend to fall apart as I always seem to get it into my head that I don't have time to check my planners or write down the things I need to write in them, which I realise is totally the wrong way to look at it but I can't seem to change it no matter what planner set-up I am using at the time! :-(

  4. Yes, a baby is a baby! Don't matter which shape or form. I definitely let things slide from day to day when there is nothing scheduled. It is so much easier when my days are full. Stolen minutes are fantastic, Ok the water is on the tree, I've got 30 minutes before I have to change it. 15 minutes cleaning kitchen and 15 minutes cleaning bedroom & bathroom. On slow days its read or knit for 45 and clean for 15, otherwise disaster--nothing gets done and I have serious guilt for it.

  5. We just barely survived our dog's puppyhood.Your post brings it all back. And as I gear up for my full time heavy duty work shift, I remember the last time I did this a few years ago and how much I was able to do - grow a full garden of vegetables with an arduous hand-watering schedule (due to our hot dry climate), keep the house spotless and both meal plan and shop to the list, and take hour long morning walks (to get to a certain vantage point where I could watch the sun rise). Since going part time 3 years ago I've lost that discipline.

  6. You must post pics of the new puppy! I absolutely get more done when I'm busier because I have more momentum, and I'm able to "triage" my to-do list much more efficiently. When I have very little to do, it's harder to find the motivation to get even the small things done. The law of inertia :)

  7. Snap!! We also have a new puppy. At the moment, our other dogs spend their time trying to escape the pups needle sharp teeth, so bedlam ensues. But, as you observe, I to am able to get a lot of bits and bobs done that for whatever reason, (probably laziness), I don't do regularly enough. The puppy is a fantastic time management tool! Enjoy yours, they grow up so quickly.

  8. We got a puppy last year. I was basically confined to the kitchen for a couple of weeks and my planning went to pot until I adjusted. He is our first dog and I wasn't prepared for quite how much I would fall in love. My routine has changed and I do get somewhat sidetracked when I am doing something and he comes up to me with a toy or nudges my arm and climbs on my lap.... I can't resist. What breed is your puppy? Ours is a miniature schnauzer so isn't very big full grown but he did seem to grow very quickly.

    1. Hard work using a keyboard with a puppy sprawled all over it don't you find?

  9. I try very hard not to do stuff between stuff. There's way too many time management books that advocate jamming as much in as you can, and there's a point where it's too much and you get burned out.

  10. Interesting comments! I definitely feed off the momentum that builds up when I'm busy. I get motivated out of necessity and find I can just manage so much more stuff in a day. And I feel great at the end of the day looking over all the stuff I did. Slow days are murder; I can't get past go. The smallest needs fester until I do a sprint at the end of the day to clear them away.

    I think way deep in my mind I know how long things take and put them off until the last possible moment. When I'm very busy, this pattern gets overridden and I just bang stuff out.

  11. What Kate said. The more I have to do, the more efficient and productive I am. The less I have to do, the less efficient I am. I think of it as cleaning as you go, though.

  12. Netwon said it best, "An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force."

    Same is true for my "business" habits. If I am running errands, I tend to take care of as much stuff as possible while I'm out. And, when I clean house, I'm not a fan of having one room clean and the rest messy, so the first room's clean appearance motivates me to keep going and make the rest of the house match.
    In the same regard, when I don't have much to do, I don't have any motivation to get off my duff to take care of one or two things, so I tend to put them off until I have a group of tasks/chores I can accomplish at once. Procrastination? No, I'd call it efficiency. :-)


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