When I look back on the career I had before I began staying at home with my children this efficient mindset was also a necessity. I was an investigative social worker for Child Protective Services and efficiency was paramount then as well. In many cases my ability to efficiently gather the information I needed quickly all while being hyper aware of my situation probably saved my tail. More then a few times as I had to go into some pretty dicey areas of town while doing sometimes dangerous investigations. I often worked alongside SWAT teams, Special Investigation Units and sometimes Homicide detectives too, their time was precious and I had to get in and get while performing a few critical tasks. I also had to compile hours of investigations into very concise reports that would later be used for court filings and prosecutors in criminal cases…you see how I had to be efficient?
Back to my current life. I find that there are areas that are time suckers for me and won’t allow me to function at my peak. Therefore, I try to avoid these traps. Television is one of these areas, I don’t have it and I don’t watch much on Netflix. Reading is a luxury that I love, but unfortunately don’t get much time to do in this season of life. Another example would be telephone conversations…for me these are a luxury. I love to talk to friends but I do find that with the wonderful chaos that is my life I usually do not have time to engage in fun chats with friends. I try to keep up with friends via quick texts to let them know I am thinking of them, a quick message on facebook to say hello, and the occasional call. However, I don’t typically make phone calls to friends (nor do I take them) during my day homeschooling or even in the afternoons as I am then preparing for my husband to come home and get dinner and evening activities rolling. I sometimes will try to fit a phone conversation in while I am driving as the children are all buckled and sometimes occupied, but then again there is a start and end to a car trip so I usually will preface with friends that I only have about 20 minutes to chat…you get the picture.
With all of this said, personal relationships are of utmost importance to me, as is my family. I do try very hard to make all of my connections know that I love and care for them, but as I found recently, I don’t always do a great job. I recently had a friend tell me that she did not feel that I valued her friendship because I was always so busy. She felt that when I answered my phone calls quickly and in a to the point fashion, I was not valuing her. She was not right about me not valuing her, but she was right that maybe I answer a bit abruptly when I am in the middle of something…and maybe I can have a little too much “get to the point” in my voice when I ask my friends “what’s up?” I guess that is my concise and efficient manner presenting its faults.
I am going to try to figure out how to systematically let the people in my life know that I do love and care for them and that they are of utmost value to me. I am going to try to go beyond just the occasional text or quick facebook message to find other ways to let my friends know that even though I don’t always have loads of time for them, they are exceedingly valuable to me.
So, lesson learned. Though efficiency can be an invaluable trait, I have to keep it in check and remember how I come across to others. So, friends and family of mine, be patient with me, I am trying to grow in this area.