Friday, April 11, 2014

The Sound of A Deadline

By Sarah Reichert

Do you ever have that dream?  The one where you're in class, taking a final, and yet, you've never read any of the course material?  Or maybe you're trying to get to an important meeting, but the dark places of your mind keep throwing every possible obstacle in your way?

I was awake in that dream this morning.

I can offer some awesome excuses as to why this blog is arriving after noon instead of bright and early like usual.  The unexpected, ill-planned, and school-imposed, four day weekend.  The parent teacher conference this morning.  The week of interviewing sources for articles, and trying to decipher my own note scribbling.  The fast-approaching, four-year-old birthday party. Easter.  Running out of dog food last night.  Karate lessons.  Ballet.  The list is long and varied, and really does nothing to offer why I couldn't put my finger on the something that I was missing this morning.

"What day is it?" I ask during our mad-dash, errand running.  The shadow is in my mind and it's quirking its eyebrow, expecting me to remember why it's there.

"Friday," says my six-year-old.

"Friday, right." I say with faux confidence.

Something putters through the back of my mind, like a mouse skittering through old boxes of unused facts.

"Friday," I say again, drumming on the steering wheel with my thumbs. "Wait...Friday?" The light switch turns on and the mouse darts away.

The deadline smiles from the corner of the room, waving like we hadn't seen each other for a while.  I'll skip the part where I use an expletive in front of my children.

So, we rush home, dropping the errands, the party planning, and the other have-to's.  As a mom, especially one trying to launch a career, sometimes I am divided too many times until something slips through the cracks of the thinly sliced pieces.  Today it was my blog post.  Tomorrow it will be something else.  I haven't remembered what yesterday's was, but I'm sure it will elicit another curse when I do remember.

When writers spread themselves thin, focusing on their platforms, their sources, their futures, they forget to live in the present.  It became clear to me today, as I rushed through traffic, that perhaps I need to organize myself in one solid place, instead of spreading my calendar between phones, post-its, and dry-erase boards.  I hope I'm not the only one who has spaced out her obligations.

What are some of the best organization techniques you use, to keep your deadlines from sneaking up behind you?


Patricia Stoltey said...

Sarah, if you think it's bad now, just wait until you're my age. I have to keep a To Do List at my computer and sync the downstairs calendar with my upstairs calendar. I carry little notes up and down the stairs to remind myself what I need to do.

Sarah Reichert said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one Patricia! I write a list every morning of things to get done. I guess my blog post failed to make the list this morning! But I've put it on the schedule for the next three months. I hope that helps!

Sarah Sullivan said...

I'm 46 and I must confess, I have been list writing for about a decade now. I must also reveal that dreams about being in school and having forgotten to attend a class all quarter or having to take a test I'm not ready for is my MOST common anxiety dream. I hate that feeling! Good for you for getting it done just under the wire! : )

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