Day #320: Driving Miss Daisy

I was in the pool yesterday before 6 AM.  About halfway through my warmup, Geoffrey (my coach) called me “Driving Miss Daisy“.  Really?  Was I that slow?  I shot back, “This is only the warmup!”  After the warmup and a few drills, Geoffrey gave me a few sets to do with shorter and shorter rests between sets.  I was a little unnerved by the ‘Miss Daisy’ comment so I was on a mission to prove a point.  Lap after lap I hauled it down the lane staring at that black stripe and willing my body to go faster and faster.  I remembered that the last time he timed me, it took me about 40 to 45 seconds to swim just 25 yards.  Gee.  I guess I am slow.  I kept swimming.  I focused on increasing my turnover rate so that my arms entered the water faster and faster.  I worked on a more consistent kick so that all of the work I had been doing with my strength trainer would be put to good use.  I pushed and pulled and rotated my body attempting to glide through the water as effortlessly as possible.  Eventually, I didn’t have to think about the strokes.  They became more and more natural the more I swam and the more I focused.  It felt great.  Midway through my sets, I tapped Geoffrey on the shoulder.  “30 seconds” I yelled.  I was so proud.  I shaved off a considerable amount of time just by tweaking my stroke and focusing on just a couple of things.  Geoffrey smiled and told me he wasn’t worried about my swimming.  I was going to be just fine.

I love swimming.  It is incredibly relaxing to me.  A lot of people complain that it is boring to just stare at the black line at the bottom of the pool for an hour or two, but I don’t mind.  Sometimes we need to focus on just one or two things and sometimes we need a Geoffrey to push us to do it.  I’m learning that I just can’t be great at everything at the same time.  It’s kind of like texting and driving.  You really should just focus on one at a time, but too many of us have attempted to do both simultaneously at one time or another.  I think that striving for excellence in too many things simultaneously is a recipe for disaster.  Pick one thing, master it and move on.

I’m sitting at my desk right now and looking at stacks of papers and receipts and wondering where to start.  I have a paper due on Monday, more coursework to finish by Friday.  I have syllabi and lectures to prepare for the following week.  I have papers to review and revisions to finish on my own research.  I need to balance my checkbook and in the “be careful what you wish for department” I need to pay the bills that my husband has now entrusted to my care.  I think I’ve been Driving Miss Daisy at home AND in the pool. I plod along at times and don’t push myself as hard as I could.  I don’t put me first and carve out time to do the things that I need to do.  I try to do it all and I miss the mark far too often.  I think I’m going to slow things down and focus on one thing at a time.  Not to long ago I talked about mastery and I think I mentioned that I wanted to master laundry.  I’ve been traveling so much lately that I couldn’t even accomplish that and now my husband has mastered laundry.  I think I need to start even smaller.  I think I’m going to try to master my time.  I’m going to work on undercommitting and overdelivering.  That used to be my motto but lately I’ve gotten it backwards and have been overcommitting and underdelivering.  In fact, I think I even committed to a few things this week that I don’t even remember!

This week I’m going to be my own ‘Geoffrey’ and push myself to focus on just a few things (instead of trying to conquer the world like I usually do).  This week I’m going to take control of my time and money.  That’s it.  I’m going to block out time for me and the things I need to do and schedule my appointments accordingly.  I’m going to balance my checkbook and pay my bills and create a system for handling those things on a regular basis.  That’s enough for one week.  Let’s see how it goes and then do a little more tweaking the following week!

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