Tuesday, March 04, 2008

On the Radar

First, I have to apologize. My new position at work has put a serious dent in the reliability of my blogging lately. But I remain optimistic that I'll get a handle on my new responsibilities and everything will settle down soon. That's what I tell myself anyway .... sorry I've been MIA lately! I'll work on it.

Sometimes, familiar work-related idioms can get really old. I had a friend whose boss constantly referred to what she had "on her plate" and asked whether she had too much on her plate, or if she could rearrange things on her plate to ensure all deadlines were met. Strangely, work always made her very hungry.

Lately, I've been thinking about things that are "on the radar." Mostly because I can't seem to get things off my radar and onto Keith's radar. I can never shut my brain off, and stop it from thinking of new tasks that need to be completed, or old ones that should be followed up. I picture an air traffic controller constantly in a frenzy, staring at a screen crowded with all sizes of planes, and often all in a state of near-collision. Precision and constant correction is key.

On the other hand, I imagine that Keith's air controller is much more laid back. When things get hectic he is, of course, able to competently handle the job. But things don't get hectic very often. Sometimes planes appear on the screen, only to disappear a brief while later. This would be when I remind him to do something, and he forgets again 5 minutes after my nagging.

I don't want it to sound like I'm complaining about Keith. My main point here is that I don't like the fact that EVERYTHING is on my radar. I really wish I could handle things differently. I wish I could keep it to a manageable level of commitments, but that never seems to happen. I would love to have an air traffic controller that could stop for a coffee break, or maybe even take a day off every once in a while. I don't think mine's taken any time off since I was in high school.

I guess really I'm saying it's both of our problems. How do I get things off my radar, and how can he get things to stay on his? We talk about splitting up chores, and he willingly takes some on ... and then doesn't remember. So even though he offers to take care of things, sometimes I still can't let it go because I don't actually believe that he'll remember.

Just the other night, I decided to try a trick I read in an organizing newsletter. It's not exactly revolutionary, but maybe simple is best. On the white board in our study, I wrote two side-by-side lists of tasks—one for Keith and one for me. At least now we have it in writing who is responsible for what, and there's a reminder constantly on display.

Will this be enough to make my radar screen a little less congested? Or will it just be one more thing for me to remember to update? Because I think my air traffic controller is going to just up and quit if I don't do something to get this under control.


Anonymous said...

I find it impossible to believe that my brother could forget anyth...oooo Reds.

What were we talking about?

M. Lubbers said...

You bring up an interesting corollary,Anon Lubbers. If it's anything related to the Reds, it absolutely stays on the radar.
Reds = jumbo jet
car insurance = 2-seat prop plane

Amy said...

Before I got to your paragraph about the white board, I was going to suggest writing things down.

As far as getting Keith engaged . . . No clue. Unless you can set up some sort if Reds-based reward system for completing whatever it is you want him to do on a regular basis.

M. Lubbers said...

Your suggestion about a Reds-based reward system makes me think of a whole other blog entry. One about how I never know how to reward myself for accomplishing things because I don't want to spend money or time ....