Answers! More answers!

The Ask Me Anything! 2011 cavalcade marches on…although at the pace I’m setting for getting these replies out, it’s probably more of a “mosey” than a “march”.

Anyway, a reader who prefers to remain unidentified poses these:

When you are pressed for time, what do you do less of to compensate?

It depends on what I’m doing in terms of being pressed for time. If I’m at work and time is running short, then I have to prioritize my tasks, usually according to what degree of inconvenience it will be to a particular department in The Store if they don’t get a certain job done that day. Of course, Management at The Store can weigh in heavily on this…if any of the store’s highest ranking management persons directly tell me that Job X must be done by the end of business today, then barring something emergency-like happening, that’s what gets shunted to the top of the priority list.

Mostly, though, I’m fairly good about identifying which tasks need to be done today and which can wait until tomorrow. Another factor is which tasks realistically can get done today and which have to wait; if it’s after 2:00 pm and I’m in the last hour or two of work, anyone who comes to me with a job that I know is going to take more time than I have left gets put off to another day. So it comes down to considerations like “How badly are they affected if they have to wait for this?” and “How much time do I have to do this in the first place?”

Other times, though, the time crunch is felt at home. In that case, I’ll identify what’s likely to take the longest chunk of time out of the time I have available to me, and either focus on that specifically, or eliminate it if there are other things that are more important to get done.

What really destroys me, in terms of time management, is — surprise surprise! — the Internet. I get sucked into timewasters online with appalling regularity, and it can get downright depressing for me to realize just how long I’ve been clicking this link and reading that site without doing any writing, or reading the stack of books from the library, or what have you. What I’d really like to do (as I mentioned in another answer) is set up my home network so I can disconnect the laptop from the Internet when I need to buckle down and write. Yeah, I can just flip the Wi-Fi switch on the computer, but it’s too easy to flip it back to ON again, reconnect, and launch a browser, “just to check the e-mail”.

What do you like to cook the most? Who in your home does the most cooking? (And who does the clean up afterward?) Are you teaching your daughter to cook? (And does she enjoy it, if you are?)

I love to cook! Love it. I tend to focus on one-dish meals: casseroles, baked pasta dishes, soups, stews, and the like. Making multi-item meals tends to flummox me a bit as I often misjudge how long one item is going to take whilst cooking the other(s), so I end up with one dish completely done while another finishes up. This frustrates me. My ideal is to serve when everything’s done at the same time, and when this fails, I get a little grumpy.

I suppose I actually cook more than The Wife does, simply because her job has her working nights five days a week, so I’m on “dinner duty” on the days she’s not here, plus I’ll often end up cooking on one of her two days off as well, if I feel like cooking or if she informs me that she doesn’t feel like cooking and therefore I’m either cooking or buying the pizza. Those nights are when I tend to branch out and try new recipes, anyway, because The Daughter is a bit on the finicky side which makes experimentation when it’s just her and myself a tad limited.

(Incidentally…I’ve been really in the mood to make my own fried chicken for a while now. I think I’m gonna have to scratch that particular itch fairly soon, sometime in the next month.)

The Daughter has started learning about cooking, partly out of interest at home and partly out of a Home-Ec style class she’s taking at school. The other night she made her own quesadilla for dinner, when she didn’t like what we were having. Now, it wasn’t the most exciting quesadilla in the world — sliced sandwich ham and cheddar cheese — but still, she cooked it. Cool! (Now if I could just get her to realize that onions are awesome, and that salad is wonderful.)

Have you viewed any TED talks? What ones (or types of talks) do you like, if you have?

No, I haven’t, and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this. I totally should watch some of these. Going back to the time management thing — there’s a lot of stuff I want to do, but I never “get around” to it mainly because of a complete lack of planning. I need to make strides in this area, big time!

More answers to come!

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