Are You Being Busy or Fruitful?

Original image via Dan Derritt Flikr Creative Commons

Original image via Dan Derritt Flikr Creative Commons

We’ve talked about entropy a lot lately. How the dishes are never done and the laundry multiplies when left alone too long. My inside sources (The Dust Bunnies) tell me the dirty laundry, when left too long to their own devices start forming cults, particularly “The Whites.” According to The Bunnies, laundry apparently must sacrifice a sock to their god—Dry-Er—every load so Dry-Er will not smite them.

Um what else did you think Dry-Er lint was made from?

With the proper sacrifice, the laundry can be fruitful and multiply. “The Reds” have been known to give a blood sacrifice on occasion. Yes, your husband’s undershirts will be pink, but the laundry is then blessed with more generations of progeny.

The Dust Bunnies swear on their lives this is true, so they’ve bought a little time. That and the vacuum bags Hubby ordered don’t fit.

So aside from the occult activities happening in your hamper, there are a lot of other distractions in life. Namely? LIFE.

No one gets out alive.

Don’t you have days that you are simply exhausted? You’ve been running, running, running all day, but have nothing to show for it? There’s a difference between busy and fruitful. Here’s some tips for being fruitful.

Multi-Tasking—Do At Your Own Risk

I do a lot of multi-tasking, but it needs to be one “thinking activity” and one “mindless.” I make the beds and pick up toys while checking in with my mother each morning. Relationships take effort, and so does keeping the bottoms of our feet from being shredded from matchbox cars and Legos. This is being fruitful. Listening to a sermon or self-help podcast while dusting? Fruitful. Folding laundry while watching movies (good for writers–clean clothes and stories)? Fruitful.

When I get into trouble is when I try and do two “thinking” activities.

I once accidentally drove to Missouri. TRUE STORY.

I was in sales, and I did a lot of driving, about 1500-3000 miles a week. I had a nine-state territory and Northern Mexico, meaning I drove to Mexico about every six weeks. So I was on the road most of the time, and often quite tired (and bored). I had certain “routes” I drove. I’d drive to Wichita, Kansas, then work my way down. Next day Tulsa, next day OKC, then back to Dallas.

This day, I finished my morning appointment in Kansas and then my late afternoon appointment in Tulsa and ate dinner. By seven I was on the road. I was really fatigued, but I wanted to get to OKC by around nine so I could pass out and be rested for my early morning meeting.

Ah, add in a cell phone.

I knew I was in for a long stretch of NOTHING, so I called my Mom. Unbeknownst to me, I got on the turnpike going north instead of south. So I am talking away for mile after mile then finally I see a sign, “Joplin 20 Miles.”

Joplin? Joplin, Oklahoma? That doesn’t sound right.

Since I was really tired, I said to my Mom, “Joplin? Joplin’s not in Oklahoma.”

“Baby, you’re in Missouri.” *head desk* #epicfail

I finally made it to OKC at 2:00 in the morning, since I had to drive all the way to Joplin to escape the turnpike and turn around, then drive from Missouri back to OKC.

Yes, I have peeled the banana, kept the peel and tossed the banana. I’ve put my cell phone in the freezer, my keys in the fridge. But accidentally driving to Missouri? I think I get bonus idiot points for that.

Multi-tasking, for the most part, can just make a mess. So, yeah, fold towels while talking to loved ones…just don’t put the towels away. They could end up in the garage.

Make Lists

Write out a list of the most important things you need to accomplish. Lists help us focus. They also help us see the most efficient way of doing things. Can we pick up the cleaning on the way to pick up kid from school, then stop by pharmacy on the way to the grocery store, then swing by the post office on the way home?


….And Goals

If we sit down and just write, that’s good, but word count or page count goals are better.

Set a Routine and GET SLEEP

When I get out of my routine, everything just seems to go sideways. I write the same times every day. I find when I don’t stop working by a certain time, it affects my sleep. I can’t wind down. The perfect routine is to work 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., go to gym. Do another hour of work, say, 5:30-6:30, then make dinner, then practice guitar 30 minutes, then a level of XBox with Hubby, then TV until 10:30 then sleep. If I stick to this, I wake up refreshed. I don’t?

This stuff happens.

I lost the nacho chips. Why didn't I think to look in the REFRIGERATOR?

I lost the nacho chips. Why didn’t I think to look in the REFRIGERATOR?

Yeah, yesterday I was as good as worthless. Because I took out niece to dinner for graduation, I couldn’t get to sleep until after MIDNIGHT. I was the walking dead all day.


Eat good stuff, drink water, get enough sleep, limit multi-tasking, and make lists so it’s easier to be efficient and prioritize. Otherwise, life will feel like you are strapped to Hell’s Tilt-A Whirl….or like this little guy, Zippity.

[flickr video=4390699258 secret=b498327afa w=400 h=225]

What about you guys? What are some of your multi-tasking mishaps? Bet you can’t beat accidentally driving to MISSOURI. What tools do you use to be productive instead of just busy?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!


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  1. Sleep is the best thing ever invented. Naps are great, too.

    I like your sked that includes exercise, work and play. I’ll read (for work or pleasure) during 30 minutes on the elliptical. That sort of multi-tasking is both safe and virtuous.

    I once got lost alone on the bayou (in the bayou) and felt like I was going to be driving there forever. It got a little frightening and there were no signs anywhere. Not fun.

  2. I also find that making lists is helpful– not physical, WRITTEN lists, mind you, because every time I do that, I promptly lose them. I find I have a greater degree of success with lists and notes kept on my phone. Helps keep me from driving to the wrong state… haha. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I loved your, True Story. 🙂

  4. Something I’ve discovered is that illness takes the whole ‘busy’ paradigm and puts it on its head – the worse the illness the more intrinsic the head-standing of the attention span and the less focus there is for writing – even after you’re feeling fine, while knowing things still aren’t resolved.

  5. Listening to a conversation whilst writing a cheque. Instead of writing 75 cents I scribbled 75 seconds. All because the lady I was listening to said: “It will only take a few seconds”
    It was a company cheque. So I had to drive the 80km’s back to the office and come back the next day to pick up the goods.
    Oh yes, the boss did give me an earful as well.
    But no, you take the Stupid Crown for the day!


    1. I am Reigning Queen of Dumb@$$, YAY!

    • srcloud on June 13, 2013 at 9:22 am
    • Reply

    I rely very heavily on a thing called my wife. She makes sure I drop off my son at school with the right bit of kit, that I get my car taxed when it needs to be, that I remember birthdays (except hers, she expects me to remember thaT) etc etc. I do try, I know I ought not to be so dependent on my wife. I’m just a bit shambolic. I get engrossed in things, lose track of time.

    Now that I’m writing and therefore thinking about this, I realise I need to appreciate better how much my wife does for me. I promise I will do that. Thank you for sending me off in this direction.

    Good post. Funny. Thank you for that too.

  6. Kristen, I get lost looking for a building that they told me was visible from the street. Hell, it was visible from space. I drove around for forty five minutes until a Yankee hardware store owner gave me directions. I thought I heard a thought of his, something about dumba$$ out-of -towners. Remember nothing is lost, it’s just found another place to hide.

  7. I need to try a list. I sometimes feel like I’m just spinning my wheels.

  8. My husband and I have a joke about lost items; whenever we can’t find something, we know we’ve put it in a VERY safe place–so safe we can’t find it! And, like Kristen’s chips, they’ll turn up eventually.

  9. Can’t say I have driven to Missouri (I live in Canada…lol) but have been known to miss my turn on the highway. I do my best to multi task but somethings get forgotten. My stepdaughter is amazed how many different meals I can make at one time for my 5 kids and two adults…lol and nothing is burned.

    Thanks for the wonderful article.

  10. Reblogged this on Cynthia Stacey and commented:
    Good article by Kristen Lamb author of We Are Not Alone.

  11. Teapot in the fridge, milk under tea-cosy… at least twice that I’m admitting to 🙂

    • Melissa Lewicki on June 13, 2013 at 9:50 am
    • Reply

    When we lived in Japan I had a little teensy car–it only had two cylinders. Put four people in the car and you each had 1/2 spark plug. It was make out of aluminum foil and chewing gum. It could go places I had no business being. One day the road I was on got smaller and smaller and SMALLER. I stopped. I looked over and saw a Japanese farmer shaking his head. I was on a dike in between two rice paddies. That was the most lost I have ever been….

  12. Some days treading water is the best I can claim. On others I knock out several items on my must get done list. EIther way it is all nestled in with being a dad, husband and employee.

  13. I’ve often thought all roads lead to Joplin. We got in some sort of loop in that area a few years ago, and couldn’t avoid Joplin no matter what we did. May not have been entirely your fault…;o)

  14. I once talked myself out of a job because I told the interviewer that she didn’t really want a multi-tasker, she wanted someone who could switch gears rapidly. (Note to self, don’t contradict potential bosses.)

  15. Love the difference between “fruitful” and “busy” AND combing a mindless task with a mindful task – great multi-tasking tip.

    Also, I LOVE lists. They are my life…sad, but true.

  16. Driving to the wrong state takes the cake! I love listening to podcasts while doing housework, it keeps me moving because I’m not thinking about how much I don’t like housework. However, yesterday I found an old full fountain drink put away in the cupboard with the glasses. The system isn’t perfect and if I haven’t had enough sleep even more squirrly things happen. Great post.

  17. In nursing school, I put the lambswool on a patient inside out- rough side against the bedsores. Duh!

  18. Putting things in the wrong place is actually on my resume. It’s not a useful skill, but I’m REALLY good at it. I’m also a master of the art of missing my turn/exit when I’m driving.

    I get those moments from my mom. She’s a wonderful lady, goes to the Tim Horton’s drive-through a lot, often pays for the person behind her just because she’s that nice. She also has about a hundred and forty things happening in her brain every moment of every day, and often she’ll pay for her tea, give the person at the window a cheerful smile and a “have a nice day!” and drive off without her drink.

    They know to hang onto it for her now. She usually remembers to come back for it. 🙂

    1. Your mom and I are obviously identical twins separated at birth.

      1. She has a twin. Congratulations, you’re triplets! 😀

  19. The stories shared in the comments are as much fun as yours, Kristen. It is amazing what we do when we are distracted. I was at the farmer’s market last Saturday and walked from one stand to another and had forgotten my blackberries. The nice lady at the first stand ran over and gave them to me. I need to do lists. Really do!!

  20. Oh busy, busy, busy. 🙂 I once drove to Louisiana by mistake. OK it was night and I was in a new place and in a rental car in that dark time before GPS. I landed at a tiny airport near Gulfport, Mississippi and was supposed to drive to Pascagoula, which by the map was maybe an hour away. Instead I ended up driving the other direction towards New Orleans. I got to the Lake Pontchartrain bridge before I figured out I should have chosen the Mobile, Alabama direction on I-10 and then I couldn’t turn around until after I had paid the toll and crossed over to New Orleans. Too bad it wasn’t Mardi Gras. I could have just stopped and started drinking heavily as a consolation. As it was, the mistake amounted to 5 extra hours of driving. **sigh** My husband loves to tell this story. I can’t imagine why. I thank the GPS gods for their benevolent intervention in my life every day.

  21. You do not know how much I I did not want to open this post!

    I thought I’d find the train wreck that’s been my life for the last week — since my purse was stolen — in a nifty “don’t” column with proper behavior in a “do” column.

    Phew! It’s refreshing to realize I’m not the only person who has to focus on focus.

    An indicator that I’m overwhelmed and not thinking properly? I may start ten sentences without finishing any of them. My brain moves on to topic D before my mouth finishes with A, B.C. At least they’re complete thoughts in my mind.

    Mostly. Fun way to deliver the medicine, Kristen.

  22. I never feel fruitful, no matter what I do. Lists, goals, smart multitasking…I’ve done it all, but it never seems to help. No matter how much I get done, in the back of my mind there is always an enormous list of everything I DIDN’T get done, the things I had to do, the things I wanted to do, and a mental schedule that tells me at my current pace none of it will ever EVER be done. I think I have a bug in my brain. Or maybe I’m JUST that inefficient. :

    Today I’m trying to clean, and I swear, no matter how much I do the house seems exactly as dirty as it was when I started. It’s really discouraging, I’ve got to say! And I haven’t even done any writing today!

  23. Hey Kristen, I’m in a bit of a dilemma. Next year is my sabbath year and I am naturally scheduling for my writing. I had put in writing from 8 am to 11 am, break with exercise, lunch and a long walk and then back to writing at 2 pm till 4 pm when I’ll do my obligatory reading.
    When I told my dad about this he said that there was no time for “idea creation”, that I had to get the good idea before I went doing all that writing. I know craft is important and all, but when you write from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m is it then pure writing? Or is there plotting as well? What about editing?

  24. We were on our way to Florida from Missouri once and were busy trying to map out our route from just into Kentucky. Kids busy being kids and me trying to help my wife read the map, etc. We were a half hour into Illinois before my wife noticed a Hwy 5 North sign. Oops!

    We did a 180 and were back on track.

    I keep lists. I’ve a to-do list as a document and sticky notes on my desktop display with stuff that has a higher priority. I update it daily. I figure if I can get one big chore done each day and still work in time for a little writing, marketing or multI-media, I’m doing okay, Some days the property takes precedent and then I don’t get anything writing related done. But my day does follow somewhat of a routine, though everything in the world wants to make sure It gets disrupted.

  25. My driving-the-wrong-way story isn’t QUITE as bad, but I once missed an exit that tacked on an extra hour and a half to my driving time. I’d tell you where but I don’t get the impression you’d be familiar with cities and towns in BC, Canada. xD (I had to use Google Maps to compare the differences.)
    I hear you about the routine thing though – I do best on a routine too. Unfortunately I have yet to land a job with an unchanging schedule so I can work a routine around it, so I do the best I can.

  26. Driving hours in the wrong direction? To use your phrase, been there, done that, got the T-shirt. 😉 Do you have camera’s monitoring me? I only ask because the belt on our dryer broke 2 days ago. You have an uncanny knack for posting exactly what I need to be reading. 😀

    1. Okay, yeah, totally didn’t need the apostrophe in “cameras”. Sorry.

  27. Always enjoy the richness of your sagacious blog posts. 🙂 Thanks.

    1. I love your use of sagacious. *Note to Self: Use cool words like “sagacious” more often*

  28. Thanks for sharing this blog =) I try to “multitask” all the time but usually it’s watching TV while I work on a project. When TV and a project battle it out….TV always wins. I end up staring at the TV with my fingers poised above the computer. I’ve decided it doesn’t really work and now I just listen to music while I work on things. And I can’t talk on the phone and do anything else because I have no idea what I’m doing. I can barely walk while on the phone! I hang up and realize I’m in the backyard and have no idea how I got there. But thanks for encouraging a routine because I have been knowing I need a routine but I never stick to one way or time. I have been slacking when it comes to writing and I need to write the same time everyday. I want to be fruitful, so I know I’ll get more done if I stick to a daily routine =) Thanks for being inspirational and funny.

  29. I recently started to give a work customer my cell phone number instead of my work number. I mulittask so much at work–i wouldn’t get anything done if I didn’t, but the constant interruptions for phone calls often have me trying to “phone in” a response while finishing something else, and yeah. Not Good. I am blessed to have a job where I’m done at 5 and I don’t want customers calling me on my cell phone after hours!

  30. Multitasking is a must for me, but you’re right it’s important that both are not ‘thinking’ items. I drove back to work after leaving the grocery store after work once. Not as bad as you, I remained in the same town, but boy was I pissed at myself. There is sooo much to do, and time is just that same old 24 hours. Great post!

  31. I don’t think I can beat driving to MO. I have driven 3-4 hours out of my way because I got mixed up on the freeway number to catch, and I can’t even figure out how or why I could have missed it now, but I was several hours late. One other time there were three of us going to a conference at Asilomar, near Monterey Bay, CA. We went north instead of south on the freeway, and drove almost to San Francisco before we realized we were going the wrong way. Then we realized that none of us knew the motel we were staying in. No one was in the office when we figured this out, and we called all the people we knew. We stopped in a restaurant to have dinner, and called all the motels in town to see where we were registered. We weren’t. None of us had ever been to the Asilomar Campgrounds, so we didn’t realize that we were staying right there where the meeting was going to be the next day. We rented a cheap motel, blew out the electricity trying to get all our hair done in the morning, and finally made it to our conference on time, frazzled, and a little poorer the next day. Loved your story, by the way! 🙂

    • MIchelle Collins on June 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm
    • Reply

    I didn’t drive to the wrong state, but I did panic on my way to DFWCon because I thought I had missed my exit. I was listening to an audiobook and not paying attention! It turns out that I just hadn’t gone far enough.

    And I love you mentioning lists. The MC of my WIP is a list-maker and concerned about efficiency. I have found that noticing list-making opportunities in my life have helped organize me and also given me good material for my book. But I enjoy having a physical lists. Something about striking through an item is so satisfying. I’ve even been known to add an item that I’ve already accomplished to my list just so I can cross it off!

    1. Dude, I add EVERYTHING to my list!

      1. Wake Up
      2. Get out of bedd
      3. Pee
      4. Caffeine
      5. Probably pee again

      Ok. TMI. You get the point :D.

  32. Right now I am in a rut at work. It is one of those things if you can’t fix it or deal with it, it might signal you need a change. And I am aging more rapidly than the other folks I work with so feeling both unsecured and overwhelmed. I love your posts. They pull me into why I write for children. So again…..thanks!
    BTW…..I accidentally got on a weekend flight to Buffalo instead of Tampa. When
    I got to my assigned seat it was taken. I stepped aside to figure out the mishap when I heard my name over the loud speaker that my gate was across the way!

  33. Ok, here’s one for ya. True story. A lot of times, I go into work 2 hours early, as I am the only machinist at the shop where I work. One night, at quitting time, the boss asks if i would be going in early the next day. I reply, “Yes”. He tells me there is a customer coming to pick up a new motor (the company I work for sells and repairs electric AC/DC motors), the next day, so he was going to tell them to meet me at the shop at 6AM. No problem.

    The next morning, I get up, have coffee with wifey, chit-chat, and get ready to leave. Just as I’m leaving, wifey asks me to check the oil in her car. Again, no problem. I take her keys, unlock the car door, pull the hood release, check oil (it’s fine) close hood and lock door. I go back into the house to get my lunch and give her a thumbs up on the oil. A peck on the cheek and out the door I go, with her asking if I have everything. “I’m good, love ya!”

    I drive 11 miles north on I95, get on eastbound I64 and drive another 8 miles to the shop. There’s the customer waiting for me. I walk up to the shop entrance, reach in my pocket for the shop keys, and, you guessed it, I pull out the keys to my wife’s car. CRAP on a cracker! Worst part is, I tell the customer, “Give me a sec and I’ll call my wife to bring me my shop keys”. (Which I really do do). She say “Sure, be right there.” Exactly ten seconds later, my phone rings. Wifey says “You A$$, you have my car keys!

  34. No, I can’t beat accidentally driving to Missouri. That’s one for the record books 🙂
    And you’re laundry gods, dust bunnies and Dry-Er comments…OMG, toooo funny!
    Lately I have to type everything into my phone calendar. It gives me alerts and that’s incredibly helpful. With 2, sometimes 3 dr. visits a week for my husband I’d lose track if I didn’t log every single appt in the phone. This way I know exactly how long I can write before we need to go.
    Have a great evening!

  35. I would say; I am being fruitful. Our Fiesta Week or worrying about what my parents want to do is over for another year. I can go back writing on my novels. But learning FACEBOOK reassured my beliefs that I could eventually succeed as a paid writer. I can publish now just by doing a blog, but to get paid for a novel or selling it as a self-publisher would be the ultimate goal, having a regular source of yearly income. Knowing others have crossed over to the other side of the “making money world by writing novels” is very encouraging. I drove to Dallas for a sales training and on the eight hours drive back to Missouri I got lost by driving off the major highway and ended up somewhere at the State of Oklahoma. But it was a learning experience. With a mental compass I simply drove north on the farm road and it eventually connected to Interstate 44 and all I had to do was drive east for my exit at Southwest Missouri. Better have cash to buy gasoline and the truck stops on the Interstate are open at 2 A.M. or usually open 24 hours.

    • Joanna Aislinn on June 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm
    • Reply

    I do lists. Problem: I do a bunch of things NOT on the list so I don’t feel productive. Avoidance, perhaps?

    Let’s see, I’ve never multi-tasked to MO. One morning, I might have had about FIVE WHOLE EXTRA MINUTES between dropping off older son at one school and younger son at his.

    Thoughts running through my head: “Hmm. I could get coffee. Maybe I’ll just…”

    Reached to get cell phone and looked up just in time to see myself plowing into a plumber’s compressor. Totalled the minivan. (No one got hurt and we got a top insurance reimbursement value for it. No one would have bought the miserable thing.) Does that count for fruitful?

    Thanks for this series, Kristen. Much needed.

  36. LOVED this post! Witty and wonderful.

  37. The worst case of blotched multitasking happened with me when I was on a business call and taking a train back home. Don’t ask me how, by the time the conductor had come along I knew that I was in the wrong train and nearly 20miles into the journey. 🙂

    Btw, great post as always. Good to read something funny first thing in the morning.

  38. I’m taking on board all you’ve said and the relevant replies, too.
    Trouble is I’m feeling far from witty after having goofed earlier on. Never thought, for one minute, that my forwarding your email, to another writer, together with a personal message to her, would end up here! MY APOLOGIES! I’m holding my head down in shame.
    I can’t even blame that on typing with my fractured finger… More haste less speed. Now I’m using time when I’d planned to write my ms. Not that I mind stringing a few words together, here, but I must stay on track.

    Earlier today, I undertook a Brusheezy survey. They are considering the possibility of adding WordPress themes to their site. I’ll have to look out the others to which I have links before I go ahead with my blog. At least I won’t have to comb the web for pics so that will save time!

    During the short time (day 2) I’ve visited your site, I’ve now found out how to reply to messages. Only I was too late with my reply to your query… A little experiential learning is wonderful.

    Found this quote on the BigPond Homepage yesterday.
    “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

    My mind is into creating mode right now, not remembering mistakes so the only one that comes to mind is a certain Christmas Eve. I went to the local shopping mall to buy the food for the next day. That was a long lunch b/c I locked the keys in the car.

    When I’m creating in my head I must appear rather vague to others around me. Missed snippets of conversations or sometimes I pick up on certain threads and my mind’s off and running with something to add into a WIP.

    At least you were in your home country. Try France, especially getting from a to b if a is the airport. We kept being taken to a certain spot but the hotel had a different name. Turns out there were 2 hotels owned by the same company and ours didn’t advertise! It was a short way from the airport and the gps (not to be 100% trusted) sent us on a tollway, taking us about 20ks out of our way. Bed was so good that night.

  39. Maybe the only way of going to Missouri is by mistake. As no socks are worn in summer, I have to think of something else, affordable but acceptable, to sacrifice to Dry Er.

  40. Oh my dear sister in Busy-ness!–I just got to your post (all of which I love) but most of which are sitting in my inbox to be read due to the plethora of life that crept up on me. My dust bunnies are hunting me down and the piles of laundry are taking prisoners! I once did the phone thing (while traveling to many appointments) and then delcared in exasperation to my mother on the phone, “OMG, I forgot my phone!” and began searching my purse and car for it in a panic! What would we do without that dangerous device that obviously has killed a few of the brain cells it reached as I was holding it to my ear while looking for it??!!
    Thanks for always being an encourager with helpful tips and for making me laugh as I know I AM NOT ALONE!! (PS–taking a long vacation and just got your book for companionship!) God bless you!

  41. After that Joplin, MO story, now I know what was REALLY on your mind when visiting the OWL Conference in the Missouri Ozarks last year. Ha! What a wonderful blessing it was you came to Missouri again, or I would not have your love and guidance. I also know about the two different kinds of work. Sometimes I need perfect quiet, but other times I can keep the TV on (SyFi DinoSnake or Celebrity Ghost Stories!) in the background while doing mindless stuff. I love BOTH kinds of work.

  42. You are the best story teller! If I could put videos on the fridge with a magnet, Zippy the hamster would be up there. I keep myself on task by (1) setting a timer when I’m on line (2) listening to recorded novels when doing housework, which makes the work more fun, and feels like homework because a writer must read! Thanks for the fine post. (oops, there goes the timer.)

    • Aerisa on June 14, 2013 at 7:21 pm
    • Reply

    Always a good laugh reading about your life (no offence). Here I thought I was losing my mind when I put my mobile phone in my bag, then without another thought spent the next half hour looking around the house for it. I guess writing a list will help me remember things I’ve done already too.

    1. I remember talking to my mom on the phone freaking out that I couldn’t find my cell phone *head desk* Yes, I am blonde.

        • Aerisa on June 15, 2013 at 1:02 am
        • Reply

        lol you deserve an award for that one 🙂

  43. Lists. I need to be better at making them. Lists. I need those….

    • Gail Walrath on June 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm
    • Reply

    I worry about your word, “fruitful.” I can’t hear that word without thinking, “Be fruitful and multiply,” as in have more babies!

    Your article, Kristen, was refreshing because it gave me the tinniest hope that I’m not insane–or, at least, I’m not alone in the world. Thank you, God! My life has been full of Mindless from my earliest memories. Excuse? I’m an Aquarian; my twin brother, of course, is an Aquarian and both my parents were Aquarians. So it was, not only a biological curse, but an environmental one as well. Aquarians are the second most intelligent sign of the Zodiac….no, really, we are, but we tend to get distracted to the point of pure stupid!

    Years ago, before the days of cell phones, I was going to the most important job interview e-vah! They had weeded (I’m not sure that word is flattering)–ok, they had selected 50 potentials from over 300 applicants. Every person in the world was more qualified than I. After weeks of interviews, chats, lunches and what nots, they had narrowed it down to three people. My interview was at 1:00 PM. I was all fluffed and powdered, actually looking forward to my interview when my tummy began to growl really loud. It reminded me of that line from Coleridge, “It cracked and growled and roared and howled like noises in a swound.” I decided to stop at Wendy’s for a quick bite and ate in my car for some calming time–translation, eating a Wendy’s burger to the music of “Pachelbel’s Canon in D. There was still 35 minutes left before the interview, only ten minutes drive away. I went inside to the WC– peed, washed my hands and, yes, brushed my teeth with my travel toothbrush. I reapplied my lipstick, gently bitch-slapped by cheeks for a fresh look and back to my car doing my “I’m a winner-walk” (ok, my sassy walk).

    Clean up time. I got all my lunch trash out to throw in the big dumpster nearest to me, with keys in my other hand. Done! I go back to my car, just as full of smug as a Southern girl can be, but…Holy Crap! I couldn’t very well start my car with my left over Wendy’s trash! Dang! I friggin’ threw my car keys in a 10-foot dumpster.

    No, I wouldn’t cry; I just couldn’t. First of all, my mascara was too expensive, and then there was THE interview. So, I go back into Wendy’s and offer a $100.00 reward to anyone who worked there to find my car keys in in less than ten minutes. (That was our food budget for the rest of the month.) You would think this was a Candid Camera episode. I bet a dozen folks were inside that dumpster with all the trash, dead bodies, rats and stuff, but just then, on the stroke of eight minutes, one of the guys found my keys. I had two minutes left to wash them and leave Wendy’s on time.

    Yep, I got the job! I was told later it was because of my “refreshing” honesty. One of the interviewers noted that I looked a tad bit flushed and wondered a loud if I were a little nervous. “No,” I said, “let me tell you the honest-to-goodness-truth!”

  44. Putting chips in the fridge is something I would do. I’ve been walking into rooms a lot lately and instantly forgetting why I walked in in the first place. 😉

  45. Naps and lists keep me going. I have a file cabinet filled with old lists. Huh! Maybe I could pitch some of them? Add to To DO list: “Go through List drawer.”

  46. ROFLMAO!!!! this post has helped me A LOT. this is exactly what I’ve been thinking about today.

  1. […] Are You Being Busy or Fruitful?. […]

  2. […] Lamb wrote a post today called, “Are you Being Busy or Fruitful?” It was timely, as I spent four hours working on something I didn’t think was due until next […]

  3. […] these days. Sumayyah Daud explains how to stop procrastinating; Kristen Lamb distinguishes between being busy or being fruitful; and Tom Angleberger says you do not need to write an hour a day to be […]

  4. […] Lamb wrote a post on this subject, from an overall perspective – Are You Being Busy or Fruitful? Anne R. Allen recently published another on the subject – 7 Ways Authors Waste […]

  5. Karl Jobst

    Are You Being Busy or Fruitful? | Kristen Lamb’s Blog

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