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Emily Morrison Emily Morrison
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Hercules has nothing on YOU!

September 26, 2012
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Have you ever felt crunched for time? Of course you have. Who among us hasn't known the mania that comes along with having too much to do and too little time to do it? Maybe the super-rich or the super lazy, but I'm betting neither of those apply to you, oh faithful readers, so read on.

When Hercules and his 12 labors has nothing on you, there are a few ways to go about mucking the stalls, and none of them involve turning the course of two rivers. Here are a few tried and true multi-tasking tips from me to you:

1. If all else fails, make a list. No matter what the conundrum may be, my mother always tells me to, 'Make a list!' Let's try it, shall we? I'll make a list.

  • teach school
  • pick up the kids
  • watch soccer practice
  • get groceries
  • make supper
  • clean the house
  • do the laundry
  • write something brilliant

2. Voila, now we have our list. Hooray for lists! You should feel slightly more productive because you have achieved something. You've put pen to paper or fingertip to keyboard. You're brilliant. Look over the list and ask yourself, which one of these Herculean tasks can I live without? Do I need to teach school? Yes, I'm under contract, and the kids gotta eat. Is it essential to pick the kids up? Yep, no boarding school at a young age for my children. Can someone else be the soccer mom? That one's in the job description. Can we skip the grocery store? If we hit McDonald's on the way home, then we're good for another night. We can pile the dishes in a stack and the laundry in the corner omit cooking, cleaning and laundering. Now, where's my laptop?

3. You've learned what you can live with (or without) depending on your own sliding standards of home and hearth. Good for you. Now comes the tricky part. Don't do it. Don't do what you said you wouldn't do. If you decided to skip the grocery store, well then, drive on by sister. You can hit the drive-thru. By all means, discover happiness in a happy meal. Don't kid yourself into thinking that you'll find some extra time at the end of your day if you take the time now to replenish the larder. It's not gonna happen. The same goes for the house. If you can wave your arm in front of your face to ward off the recent influx of fruit flies, then cut a swath through the jungle and sit down at the counter.

4. Next comes the networking. This piece can be tricky. Call it delegating, call it utilizing your resources, call it what you will. This is all about draining the life out of the ones who love you so that your life can be easier. Sounds selfish, doesn't it? That's because it is. It takes a village to raise a child, and quite frankly, you don't have a village; you have a family. Enlist them. Parents and in-laws are as efficient as a Nascar pit crew, and you don't even have to pay 'em. They are your biggest sponsor, your only fans and an excellent support team all wrapped into one highly-trained domestic unit. If they say, 'What can we do?' then tell them. Hey, they signed up for this. Let them reap the benefits of lifelong parenting into a ripe old age. That's what you signed up for.

5. Now relax. Let it go. Don't complain about everything you have to do or haven't done. First, not even your pit crew wants to hear it. Second, somebody out there has always got it worse: Poor fools writing books, mothers of multiples, elementary school teachers those people have it rough. So loosen up. Usually this involves a chilled glass of an adult beverage, but there are other ways to unwind without getting sloppy. Go for a run, grab a shower, spend five uninterrupted minutes in the bathroom with this article. Do what you do to unbend and don't feel guilty about it. Mental health is highly underrated.

6. Whatever you do, don't think about all those other people who do it better. Child Olympians, Hercules, your sister, whoever they are, they're them and you're you. We all play to our personal strengths and chances are, if you're doing all of this while writing your magnum opus, you're no slouch yourself. Remind yourself of this during those weak moments when you're stuck in construction on the way to work, picking your kids up five minutes late, grading papers on the sidelines, eating supper from a sack, navigating the obstacle course that has become your home, calling your mother your laundress and staring at a blank screen.

So there you have it, my mother's foolproof solution to hurdling whatever Herculean tasks life has in store. Write it down, narrow it down, commit to omit, ask for help, relax and stop comparing yourself to an Olympian. If this fool can do it, then so can you!

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