My regular readers probably know by now that compulsions are no new thing for me. I was diagnosed with OCD over 18 years ago. That and my studies in psychology have led to a lot of introspection and self-analysis of my behaviors. I sometimes wonder where my OCD ends and my real personality begins. Or maybe I’ve dealt with it so long, in ways it’s shaped my personality.
That said, I’m not sure if my propensity for multi-tasking is rooted in OCD, or a conditioned thing. It’s probably both. Or maybe it’s more closely related to an addiction-type disorder.In any event, lately I’m finding it all but impossible to do only one thing. The two main culprits are the television and the internet. I started watching back episodes of Grimm lately. I’m really into the show…yet I tend to miss a lot of little things each episode because I am usually seated on the floor in front of the laptop, either bouncing back and forth between Facebook and this blog, or I’m playing Fishdom. Fishdom, for crying out loud! It’s actually burned into my brain! My art has fallen by the wayside in the wake of other things, but when I draw, I often have something on the TV…like white noise.
I’m practically incapable of just sitting on the couch and watching TV now. My blog is like my baby, so my compulsive stat checking and commenting is excusable. What is not excusable is that my two year old finds it necessary to climb in my lap and sit in front of me to get my attention. I’m not saying I ignore her, and all parents need and deserve a break sometimes. She is by no means “neglected…” But I do spend a lot of time on the computer during the day. And maybe part of it is just that she’s accustomed to us showering her with attention or that she’s just being a normal two year old. I dunno; this is the first time having one of my very own (a toddler, I mean.) And even though I love playing with her and seeing her laugh and learn, it’s hard to have an extensive conversation with a two year old…especially when they barely talk… I mean, she’s a chatterbox, but her conversational topics are few.
I find myself sneaking peeks at the computer screen even when I’m playing with her or doing other things. Sometimes, I just have to shut the damn thing, so I leave it alone for a bit.
I’ve lived without cable TV for years. I’m the point now where when I do watch TV, usually over other people’s houses, commercials drive me more crazy than ever, because I am so used to watching DVD box sets or downloaded shows with little to no commercials. So I know I can live without it because I do. Elementary, right, my dear Watson?
I’ve lived without internet before. But these things are like many other habits, easy to form and hard to break. When our internet connection was gone, I didn’t mind not having Facebook access so much as I hated not being able to access my blog regularly… yet I still find myself compelled to check Facebook often now that I have regular access to it once again.
One of my main concerns is that I’ve basically conditioned myself have a sort of attention deficit disorder. I don’t mean I fear a clinical diagnosis of that, but more that I am annoyed by my need to be entertained so constantly that I need to do not just one thing, but multiple things.
All day long while doing these things to entertain myself, I also do dishes, laundry, and take care of my daughter. I exercise and fix food. This type of multi-tasking is necessary to run an efficient home. The problem comes in when I can’t devote my full attention to any one task because I feel the need to do more than one at any given time.
Anyway, last night, for my daughter more than anyone, I decided that if I’m not actively writing and article or story, I’m going to try to limit my time on the computer. I’ll get up and do my “morning check” of all my stats, comments, and notifications on both WordPress and Facebook. But then I’m going to step away for a while. My child deserves my full attention. So does my husband, and even my art and writing. Just not all at once.