I have often poked fun at the men around me for being too “linear.” You know what I mean. They perform one task at one time. And. Only. One. Task. At. A. Time. Mine does the laundry (for which I am eternally grateful). But he will not fold while watching TV. I can’t answer why. I’ll fold while watching TV, or chatting on the phone. It seems natural to me to perform more than one task at a time. If we are in the car and he is driving, we cannot have in depth conversations. He’s told me such conversations distract him from driving. In the past, I used to ask him, “What are you thinking?” while we were sitting quietly. On every single occasion, he’s answered, “Nothing. I am not thinking about anything.” I stopped asking that question when I finally understood he meant what he said.
Without a doubt, men and women are wired differently. I believe the XY’s (male genetic composition) could benefit from a bit of multitasking in their lives. Certain things could get accomplished more quickly and efficiently. But, I also believe we, the XX’s, (female genetic composition) could benefit by adopting some of their linear focus.
When I started practicing law, I tried to multitask all the time. However, when you are preparing to take a deposition, or are preparing a report analyzing the potential liabilities and damages for a client, or you are in the midst of trial preparations, multitasking can get in the way of the focus necessary to accomplish the task. One of the partners with whom I work told me that he turns all else off – telephones, email, etc. – when he is preparing such a report, or getting ready for trial. By so doing, nothing distracts him from completing the task before him. I’ve adopted this practice. As he predicted, my work improved.
A similar focus should be brought to whatever inspires you, or to the goal you’ve set for yourself. Likely, you will not be able to act “linearly” 24/7, but if you focus on yourself for no less than 15 minutes per day, you will begin to see results. You can do this on your way to work, or on your lunch break, during any down-time, or at night when all others are in bed. In those moments, construct the plan you want to follow. Breathe. Think. Plan. Execute. Repeat. If you follow the XY’s thought process daily, even if the time increments are small, progress will occur.
This is my garden. When we moved in two years ago, the yard had a tarp over it. It appeared that the backyard hadn’t been used in years. Strange weeds grew up from between the cracks in the tarp. Covering no more than 20 feet by 12 feet (the whole area is not visible in this picture), every inch was covered in cigarette remnants. Inspiration took hold. I asked and received permission to “clean up” the backyard.
It took a long time. Years of neglect needed to be undone. Bags of glass and other debris went to the curb along with all the weeds. One weed in particular caused me great angst. Amazingly, the weed roots grew laterally, creating a network that were not easily unearthed. Every time I found one growing, I had to dig around the weed to reach and harvest the root system. If I tried to pull it without doing this, the weed would break off and a new one would sprout within weeks. I am still not sure if I got them all, but it looks like I made a dent.
After I got through cleaning, I tracked the sunlight that moved through the backyard to see how much light got in, and for how long. Only the west corner of the yard received enough sunlight, so I cordoned off that corner, turned over all the soil and planted Impatiens. They thrived. I still had to clean up the debris and cigarettes occasionally, but, thankfully, there were fewer than before. This year, as you can see, I’ve replanted the Impatiens, along with a beautiful hydrangea, and a few leafy plants called Hosta.
We no longer have access to the backyard, but I still do the planting. When asked by the tenant who has access to the yard why I do this, I responded, “Because the yard deserves to be reclaimed. And the flowers might encourage our neighbors to see the backyard as a garden.”
Certain things take effort. Change takes time. In all aspects of life, persistence and love can make things better. So, be persistent. Make a change that makes a difference. Imbue your actions with love. From that place, your flowers will grow.