‘Chain-tasking’ in June

The Never Ending To-Do List

“Chain what?” I hear you say. “Chain-tasking.”

Is it a new way of delegating that most delightful of girl’s summer activities, making daisy chains? Nope. It’s a new word that came to my tired little brain today that best describes what the month of June has forced me to do.  Going from one task to another, to another, to another, with very little pause for healthy breath, much like you do when chain-smoking.

Olympic multi-tasking was another that frequently flitted past my consciousness this month, but that’s a phrase, not a word, and I was inspired today by Post40Bloggers weekly Writing Prompt: Invent a New Word.

I know this is probably what most of you feel you do every day, and my days are mostly like that too, but this month’s activities have taken it to a much higher level, such that if I dropped any of those tasks on that unending list, it would make one almighty, resounding crash.  That did happen to one of those tasks but I won’t go into that here.

My list was like the Magic Porridge pot: never ending and growing inexorably before my eyes.

When someone recently asked me why I was so busy, I hesitated in recounting the list, at risk of losing not just their interest but their friendship ;-).  But when pressed, the list when something like this (in chronological order):  attending my book launch; going to Britmums Live, an annual bloggers weekend event where I was asked to represent the wonderful Post40Bloggers; designing lanyards for aforementioned event; chasing courier around south Herts for said lanyards; organising everything needed for my daughter’s Year 6 trip away to the Isle of Wight, organising same daughter’s birthday party, same daughter’s birthday presents, making bears ears for the school play, attending both children’s concerts (one in the middle of the bloggers event), rehearsing for my own singing group’s concert in July, buying kazoos for aforementioned, sorting out a leaking roof, praying for two friends in dire physical health, finding tie and shirt for my son’s football award ceremony with 2 days notice (thanks husband!), serving Pimms & Beer at the school fair, and decorating my son’s way-overdue bedroom whilst his sister was away (so couldn’t be done another time).


My friend conceded, with classic British understatement, it had been a busy month.  (I’m sure I saw her take a gulp of air at the end of that list).

To add to it all, the chain-tasking has often been multi-chain-tasking, i.e. doing several of these things at once, to a degree that was often downright comic.  Such as the moment when I had a courier explaining to me in a station car park why he couldn’t hand over the parcel to me that I had been pursuing him round south Herts for as there had been a mess up with the delivery time, whilst the automated car park payment phone line was telling me to punch in my bank account number “followed by hash”.  I swear I’ll write a book one day called “Followed by hash”.  I wish my day had been.

In case you were wondering what a 'lanyard' is....

In case you were wondering what a ‘lanyard’ is….

The thing is, I don’t see this level of busyness as at all healthy hence my reference to chain-smoking.  Stress is being increasingly cited as a major cause, or trigger, for serious diseases like heart disease and cancer and I can see why.  I didn’t chose to involved in many of these things, they were the things that come with parenting at this time of year (I like to call it my ‘summer Christmas’ its so busy), and the others, well, I had no idea that they would all converge so.  And believe it or not, I did actually say ‘No’ to a fair number of things…

The other thing about ‘chain-tasking’ is that for those of us ‘do-ers’ in life, it can be addictive. But if we don’t break the chain, it’ll break us. Those of you who are less task-oriented are actually a gift to the rest of us – we need you ‘who gives a stuff’ attitude.

But all I know right now is that I’m so glad I can at last put my feet up and watch a slice of Wimbledon whilst writing this blog post and ignoring my eternal but not so pressing to do list.  There I go again….Know the feeling?

PS  I just have to tell you that my son won Player of the Year for his team for his brilliant goalie skills (such a proud mum & dad), my daughter totally loved her trip away and didn’t lose a single item of clothing, Britmums Live was inspiring and informing and full of interesting, funny, sassy bloggers (most of them in the Post40 community), I managed to speak half knowledgeably at the book launch, and my daughter adored her presents and son totally rocks his newly decorated room.  It may not have been restful but it has been darn successful!

6 thoughts on “‘Chain-tasking’ in June

  1. Oh my goodness, this is my life too. June is a stressful month for me every year, but this year has been just a bit worse! Funnily enough, I’ve written a post about it only today. I don’t often get tired, but I’ve had a couple of tiring weeks and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

  2. Oh Siobhan, this sounds like me a year or so ago and I just HAD to put a stop to it. I now say “no” to more things than I say “yes” to and I can’t tell you how good it feels. I do question whether you had to say ‘yes’ to the bear ears and I KNOW you didn’t HAVE to say ‘yes’ to Britmums Live! But I also know how difficult it is to say ‘no’ for us people-loving folk, when there’s something fun in store. If I can recommend one amazing book on this subject, it’s The Best Yes by Lysa Terkheurst. Practical, challenging and inspiring all in one hit. A great read for us FOMOs! x

    • You’re right, this level of busyness is definitely NOT sustainable, S! Its not FOMO for me, more that there are so many things I’m interested in, and then there’s that thing where you offer help (like making bears ears!) ages back when things weren’t busy. I don’t like to let people down when I’ve said I’ll do something either. Much as I really enjoyed Britmums, my ticket was paid for as a ‘speaker’ so i didn’t feel I could turn that down, but maybe I could, this is where the learning comes. I’ll check out that book, looks very good, maybe similar to Boundaries book? thanks S x

  3. what a brilliant word! I was just today telling someone how crazy june has been for us! (we too have shows coming up and birthdays in June). My bedtime is getting later and later each night in an attempt to keep up with everything that needs to get done – to such an extent that I have contemplated staying up all night in an attempt to catch up! Some lovely positive stuff in your post too – brilliant about your son’s footie and daughter’s trip. Hope you get a chance to catch your breath and enjoy July! x

    • Thx R – the fact that you’re up reading and writing a reply to this confirms what you’ve just written! My normal bedtime has crept back about an hour this month too. I have dark rings under eyes as proof. And so, with no further ado, to bed!!! I am determined NOT to continue chain-tasking for the next few days at least! Sx

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