Thursday, November 5, 2009

At what point does this become a "disorder"?

At 9:30 every Thursday, I enter my daughter's classroom.

A few of the students (including my own daughter) look up to subtly acknowledge my arrival. Then they keep working.

I love this.

Then the teacher quietly gets up, hands me a stack of projects to complete, and returns to her group of reading children.

I love this, too.

I survey what needs to be done and my brain immediately starts putting things in order. These need to be pasted. These need to be cut. These need to be laminated. Staple these. Copy that. Put that stack away. Within seconds I have a plan that maximizes efficiency, and I go to work. I don't know if anything satisfies me more than busy work done efficiently.

Or, for that matter, anything done efficiently. Today I got to visit the school's reading book room and I found it magically soothing. Shelves and shelves of neatly labeled bins containing books ordered by letter and number. Nothing out of place. Nothing sloppily shoved into a spot where it doesn't fit. I enjoyed putting those books back so much that I contemplated offering my reshelving services to all of the other teachers. It was then that I wondered if I had a problem.

Well, it might have been when I left the library that I noticed an imbalance. Getting from the library to the classroom involves crossing a courtyard using paths that require me to walk the long sides of a triangle to get from A to B. That makes me grouchy. All that work to be efficient, and I lose 20 steps because of poor sidewalk planning.

My errands are done in geographical order. If I can't fit one efficiently into my route then it waits until I'm heading that way. My chores are completed the same way. If I'm vacuuming, I'm vacuuming everything at once. If guests are coming, cleaning gets done at the last possible minute, because I know that's when I'd do it anyway, and it's inefficient to do it twice. I don't exercise unless I know I have time to finish an efficient workout in which my heart rate is elevated for the right period of time. And I try to do it when the girls are wanting to play outside, because it's more efficient for me to exercise while watching them, than to exercise and THEN watch them.

And I'm always the one with a suggestion - "why don't you..." or "you know if we did it this way..." and I'm unsettled when they choose the less efficient option.

So, I don't know if this makes me crazy, but i do know that it increases the amount of pressure I feel to get things done. When "down time" registers as "wasted time," it is pretty hard to enjoy.

Am I alone? I know Cool Dad is with me...


Mom said...

Well - your Mom is almost incapable of watching TV unless she is accomplishing something else at the same time... Maybe it's genetic!

Charlotte said...

Well, the disorder is rampid, Amy I have never confessed my geographical planning to anyone, but here I am. It just makes sense, don't know how anyone could possibly do it another way.
With children in the home, last minute cleaning is the only way to go, no sense in doing it again and you can be certain you will!!
Like your Mom's comment, I feel like the biggest time waster if I don't have some cross stitch, cross word puzzle or book in my lap watching TV, can't waste the time with commercials.
Just think, though, all the "extra" things we get done in a day and what a good feeling it is. Wish it would help me sleep better....CLH

Hip Mama said...

it's a disorder when you are overwhelmed by the disorder...when perfectionism is debilitating....