One Thing at a Time

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

November 14, 2011


On the micro level, I can only do one thing at a time. Take a sip of water. Read a book. Wash a dish. Rinse a dish. Put clothes in the laundry. Type a note. Watch a movie. Watch Levi play a game. Play with Levi while playing a game. Talk to my husband.

On the macro level, I never do only one thing a time. This, I suppose, is a lesson I have yet to learn. If it’s one worth learning. My mother certainly always told me to only do one thing a time. One foot forward. One step at a time. One thing at a time. But, they are words I hardly heed on a daily, weekly, yearly basis.

I’ve always been involved in multiple activities. School teaches one to do so. You have 7 classes and 3 extra curricular activities at any given time. So, you’re constantly juggling: balancing.

When I started college (my MSU days), I was frustrated, at first, with the amount of reading material assigned. We’d read a book a week — for each class, and I was taking three or four.

I’ve gotten so used to these habits, that my norm is that feeling of trying to balance. Unless a book is deeply engaging (like the just finished Millennium trilogy), I will always have 3 or 4 on my “reading” shelf. I pick through a few paragraphs a day, maybe finishing the book inside of a month. Right now, there are three on the top of the list, and a total of 10 holding the rest.

The thing is, I like that juggling. I like feeling successful at the juggling. I like the sense of accomplishment when I finish out a week with home cooked meals, baked bread, to go meals ready for the first few days, successful meetings had, future meetings planned, and ready and rarin’ to go on Monday. On the micro level, I check off one thing at a time. But, the big picture shows I really have at least 4 major things going, on top of the books to read and meals to plan.

How do you go through life? Multiple projects? Or as close to one thing at a time that a person can get? How do you want to go through life? Are these two things different?

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