Thursday, July 17, 2008

has she lost her mind

Or is she using excellent time management skills?

For the first and only time in my life, I seriously wished I had a camera phone yesterday. I was leaving my office parking lot. There in the late afternoon sun stood a woman behind her bright red, shiny pickup truck. The tailgate was down revealing a truckbed full of clean laundry. About two months worth, by my house standards. Ask me how I know what two months worth of laundry looks like.

What was she doing behind her red pick up, you ask?

Why, she was folding her laundry, of course.

That's right. Out of the back of her pick up.
I assume her husband or child was inside the building having a therapy session. And that she was making good use of the empty time that others of us might waste thumbing through Hollywood gossip magazines. Or programming our cell phones. Or staring at acoustic ceiling tiles.

After my initial shock and double take, I thought, that is one (brazen hussy) smart lady! She knows the secret of getting things done, no matter how (ridiculous) odd it appears or who sees her doing it.

The most original time saver I ever came up with occurred when I had infant twins and a three year old. I stopped folding my underwear. And pajamas. Straight into my dresser drawers they went. Who cares about wrinkly PJs? Who even saw my underwear anymore? Not very original, though, now really.

I also started wearing the same clothes two days in a row (underwear being the exception). Occasionally three days in a row when I managed to avoid baby spitup. Leaving the day worn clothes on a chair, waiting for the next day. No folding. No deciding what to wear. Two days for the price of one. But again, no originality. (I do occasionally still resort to the two-days-in-a-row clothes. Ok, I do it a lot now.)

I stopped shaving my legs. Not very sexy.

I also started carrying an empty basket around from room to room, alternating the picking up of stray items and the putting away, in their rightful place, of other stray items. A trick I still employ to this day (and am now the proud owner of three full baskets of stray items waiting months or years to be put in their rightful place). Maybe somewhat original but not terribly effective.

I suppose that's why I was so fascinated with the parking lot laundress. I'm no time manager. In fact, I am the master of taking 3 hours to do something that mere mortals can do in 3 minutes. Just ask SAM. He'll tell you.

Some call it procrastinating. I call it the fine art of piddling and dawdling. And now I call it blogging. Getting in touch with my inner writer (yeah, rrrrrrrrrright).

I am also the master of worrying way too much what others are thinking of me. I'm an unconventional thinker who behaves way too conventionally out of fear of disapproval.

So the folding laundry in the back of a pick up? Probably won't see me doing that. At least not in a red pick up. SAM's is white.

What creative time management inventions have you come up with lately?


Kelli Busey said...

"blogging" prognastication honed to a fine art! :)lol. I going to think about that for a while.
I love your blog. Saw your comments on Q. U. cool. I grew up on the edge of dirt poor and so happy who cares.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This is my specialty. I think it's why I can manage blogging along with going to school full-time and taking care of my family.

A huge one for me is that whenever the phone rings I clean while I talk--wipe down the cupboards, sweep the floor, whatever. You can get a lot done while talking on the phone to your MIL or a friend.

KCB said...

Well, I knit whenever I'm waiting somewhere -- that takes care of baby gifts and small Christmas presents. And I avoid answering the phone a lot. It's just easier and faster to respond to email most of the time.

Madge said...

creative time management? nope. nope. not familiar with it.

AnnD said...

Time management is my life. I always must be getting something accomplished. I rarely just "sit" anymore. Just today, I was fixing photos in Photoshop, cleaning the kitchen, playing with Emma and watching TV all at the same time! I can understand why she was folding her laundry...she had an hour free here and she can either spend it getting that boring-ass chore out of the way or reading magazines in the waiting room. I would opt for folding the laundry myself. But, I wish you had a camera too. That's a site I've never seen either!

Stacie said...

I blogged about the very same thing time saver is to make my son do his own laundry.

phd in yogurtry said...

kelli - you're absolutely right. blogging has elevated procrastination to a new artform.

jenn - yup. I used to merely pace on phone calls. Now I pace and wipe. Or straighten up clutter piles. But I don't talk on the phone much and it shows.

kcb - yes, I email instead of returning calls, too. but that has a half-life of time wasting all its own. Its one of the reasons why I NEED HELP NOW.

madge - I'm not too far behind ya.

ann - I used to "barely sit" when my kids were small. I've slowed down considerably. 40+ with perimenopause barreling down the freeway? It makes you sit yer ass down.

stacie - check. son does his. 10 yr old girls next.

bluemountainsmary said...

I can't help you with time management skills.

Because I think you are my sister by different parents!

laurie said...

interesting; i thought i was the only one rude enough to clean the house while talking on the phone. but i see it's a fine female tradition!

Alison said...

I think that to be doing your laundry in the car park while your hubby and kid are in therapy is about the funniest and most delightful thing I've heard for a while.Maybe she's just got a really good sense of humour?

phd in yogurtry said...

mary - you wear clothes two days in a row, too?

laurie - multi-tasking at its best!

alison - I hope its humor. Maybe she'd had enough and was packing up his sh-t ! "You have exactly one hour to figure it out, buster!"

Manager Mom said...

Outsourcing whenever budget permits.

Mrs. G. said...

I freakin' love this woman!! I write while I'm in the tub-but out loud.

e. beck said...

great post!!
the shaving thing, the basket thing, the blogging thing, the 3 hrs for a 3 min chore thing .... all describe me .....
i have no time management skills that are worthy of sharing ..... but i'm ok with that .... and that's what i think is key ... being ok with the oddwired brain you've been dealt .....

phd in yogurtry said...

mrs g - I think of great posts in the shower! But then I forget by the time I'm toweled off. What's your secret to remembering?

e - yes, accepting the odd-wired brain. you're so right. when I get down on myself (currently am, have spent entire day hunting down important psych papers that have vanished into thin air, or tall clutter piles, one) I recall what this brain offers as consolation.

Jennifer H said...

My laundry, if it could speak, would tell you that I would never, ever do this. But I should. I can't remember the last time there was no laundry to be folded.

If I became a billionaire (or, let's face it, a millionaire), I would pay someone a LOT of money to do my laundry. Not just regular doing-laundry money, but some serious cash. It would be SO worth it to me.

phd in yogurtry said...

jennifer - I figured out one of the reasons I avoid laundry. Its the putting away of it. Stuffed drawers, messy drawers, deciding what goes in what drawer. I really need a professional organizer. And then a FT maid. In that order.

bluemountainsmary said...

I knew we were sisters - I loathe the putting away. Loathe it. Don't mind the folding. Can't stand the putting away.

Does jeans two days in a row count?

Anonymous said...

Well, I am a big multi-tasker but not much into cleaning and tidying. But ever since Jenn@Juggling life mentioned wiping cupboards whilst on the phone once ages ago I have started to do that. It's become a compulsion actually! I can no longer talk on the phone if I do not have a damp cloth in my hand.

But yeah, I cook and blog and download music and check homework all at the same time.

That laundry thing is odd. There is a woman I see sometimes who washes her car whilst her husband does the supermarket shopping. Not in the car wash, just in the carpark outside the shop. No idea how she gets the water there though - I want to ask but it seems a bit forward!

phd in yogurtry said...

mary - no statute of limitations on maximum wearability of blue jeans. you're safe there.

rb - dare you to ask her!