I crafted a Rose Raspberry cocktail, complete with muddled rose petals and lime. Brava. From conception to execution, it was a joyful and spectacularly delicious undertaking.

Upon some introspection this afternoon, though, I’ve learned that I don’t always enjoy the entire process. In fact, there are parts of it that I consistently want to poop-tackle. Today’s introspection was fueled by dread for our upcoming Girl Scout meeting. Exhausting. Draining. Obligation. Shackled. Require. Debilitating. Lists. Mess. Trips to the store. Overwhelming. Planning. Printing. Remembering. Despise. Obliterated. These are the words I found pocked throughout my latest journal entry. “Exhausting” won the popular vote.

I could carp, or I could uncover a solution. “You need a break.” “You’re burned out.” But it’s been a month since our last meeting, maybe more. I’ve had the break. It hasn’t solved anything. Worst (and best) of all, the girls want to earn the Home Scientist badge, which means messy hands-on action with tarps. It means planning, gathering empty bottles, making lists, thinking. I despise thinking. So, untrue. Lady, you sound psycho.

Breathe. Again. Okay.

Take any task you dislike and break it down into smaller tasks. Which tasks specifically do you dread? Which, if any, do you enjoy? Which can you delegate? Which can you bite the bullet and just get over with in bulk, as fast as possible?

I broke tasks down into these 4 buckets:

  1. Think: Ideation, Research, Collaboration
  2. Plan: Making the to-do lists, creating and drafting itinerary
  3. Prepare: Shopping for the supplies, doing any pre-assembly work, organizing materials
  4. Execute: Carrying out the idea and bringing it to life. Being the energetic attractive force who energizes the project. Helping others in action.

I’m not gonna lie. I actually enjoy this part of the process—the analysis and hunt for underlying meaning behind choices—where pinpointing my own strengths and likes feels like a personality quiz that will later profile me as a creator, a researcher, a doer. I live for personality tests! Though they always tell me stuff I already know: “You have a great desire to learn and continuously improve; the process of learning, rather than the outcome, engages you.” “People with the Thinker / Reasoner talent are characterized by their intellectual activity: introspective with an appreciation of intellectual discussions.” Things that I’m not: competitive, prudent, strategic (I want no part of thinking through potential obstacles) or interested in contextualizing situations to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. So how does any of this show itself in daily life?

If someone said I’d only need to think up a meeting idea with fun activities to include, I’d be less than thrilled, but I’d bulk-perform, getting it all over with at once. But doing all 4 steps each and every meeting? It’s a special kind of hell. A holy hell. Which leaves me in a trance wondering why in the heavens I volunteered for this gig. What this tells me: I need more help.

Getting help is a task onto itself, which is part of the problem. I need to delegate someone else to delegate for me! Because I despise the thinking and action surrounding the delegation process! Yes, really. Composing a list of all that needs to get done, then assigning those tasks? That shit takes time and overwhelms me, which is why I end up in the exact position I’m in today. This is where I need to welcome all the control freaks into my tribe and let them take over.

If the topic was a meal, for example, my favorite parts would be Think and Plan, and I’d want as little to do with the Prepare and Execute sections as possible. That’s why these “dinners to your doorstep with just the right amount of ingredients” programs don’t appeal to me. They eliminate steps 1-3, leaving you only to execute. Though, it certainly does simplify your life, leaving you to focus on the execution, which alone might be far more enjoyable.

Here’s what I really think: I think the part I like least of all these moving parts is anything involving leaving the house. Or standing. Showering. I think maybe I’m depressed. Maybe this is why I always wanted to be a writer; I can remain in the same pajamas for 4 days and still be productive. If only I didn’t need to stop to think about dinner, or getting dressed just to take my kids to activities. If it were up to me, and there was only me, I’d rarely leave my house, and do so only to spend the day in a movie theater.

Raspberry and Roses


  1. I so identify with this. Two things that help me:

    1) mantra: done is better then perfect. Seriously, this applies to so many things. The girls need a science project, not the best possible science project in all the land.

    2) set a timer. I know it sounds juvenile, but I have to do this. I could plan forever, especially when there are unlimited options (I’m looking at you, Pinterest). It’s like that saying, if you want something done ask a busy person to do it. Because they don’t waffle over options or make things too complicated. They just get it done. Setting a timer is the only thing that works for me.

    1. Author

      Okay, this makes very good sense. Next time I’m overwhelmed, I’m setting the timer. Today, I was very productive… uh… running errands (bank deposits, clothing returns at the mall, toys r us returns, Stop & Shop grocery run, back to the bank because I couldn’t find the wallet with the checkbook, race Abigail off to musical theater class, take Lucas for a snack, pick up dinner, home to disassemble the tree, load holiday decorations into the garage, remove dried out pine garlands, sweep, try to vacuum–only to realize the thing DOESN’T suck anymore, supervise Lucas homework, RSVP to birthday parties)… now when do I write exactly? Now? Soon I’ll need to pick Abigail up from acting class, then dinner as a family. Who didn’t hit the gym and who didn’t write today? This is why I don’t set New Year’s resolutions. And there are more holiday decorations to get to…

  2. A few recommendations – 1)perhaps you can restrict errands to the weekend and leave the weekdays to work as if you were working outside the home and 2)perhaps you can hire a part time sitter to help with the pick ups and drop offs? For someone with your personality as you have shared it here – disciplining yourself to work from home seems to be a tough task with so many attractive distractions. I hope you end up writing again – as much as the Girl Scout stuff sounds fun, your writing and television career really seemed promising and I think you have a great gift.

  3. I agree with Kimberly – progress, not perfection. My middle daughter is a bit of a pack-rat, and a procrastinator. It was time for her to move out of her dorm last year, and she was so panicked about packing and cleaning that she was paralyzed. So I gave her these tips – some of which you’re already utilizing:

    1) Divide the problem. With her, I told her to take duct tape and divide the room into quarters. Then tackle the first quarter (the worst one) – until it is spotless. Then you have a place to look to when you need inspiration. By focusing on only one quarter at a time, she was able to start.

    2) Work for half an hour, play for 15 minutes. This is one that works for me, but not my youngest girl. She’s hyper focused on whatever she’s doing, so she will do it till she dies (studying at the moment). But middle daughter and I are more alike. If I force myself to work for 30 minutes – then I reward myself for 15 with whatever I want (words with friends, checking e-mail, etc). If you do this for half a day – you get 3 solid hours of work done. Timer works well here.

    3) Make a list. When I’m overwhelmed, I write down a comprehensive list of what has to be done…even the smaller stuff. Then, I start checking them off. When I have half of them checked off, I’m feeling better and in more control – ready to keep going.

    4). Drink. Heavily and often. (Kidding….sort of).

    Great to see you writing again, I’ve missed ya.

  4. Have you ever read your Myers-Briggs profile deep-dive on this site below? I am an ENFP and have NEVER read it broken down in this way and it’s totally changed the way I see myself and is helping me to accept who I am. And love the good parts! And, like you, I’ve taken EVERY single personality test out there.

    This one really speaks to the fact that “ACTION” is the last part of my cognitive process, which is why I start stuff but never finish it. I’m feeling like by what you wrote, you might love reading 62 pages about your own MBTI type, whatever it might be. :)

    1. Author

      Took a quickie Myers-Briggs just now.

      In 2005: INFP
      In 2006: INFJ
      Today: ISFP (though I’m only 1% S, which means I could also be INFP again)

      I: 31%
      S: 1%
      F: 75%
      P: 41%

  5. Hahaha! I officially have a mom crush on you! Ah, so much of the same crap in my head!

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