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The COVID-19 Diaries Day 2

03/23/2020 05:19:46 PM


יום שני, כ"ז באדר, תש"פ
Monday, March 23, 2020

No one is good at everything.

I know I have talents, but I am also aware of my challenges.

I have a hard time focusing on things that I consider insignificant. When these tasks are long or numerous, or both, I get anxious and frustrated and my emotions start to shut down my ability to get them done.

My other paralyzing challenge involves multitasking. I know I am not alone on this one, but I thrive when I can calmly focus on one thing at a time. When I encounter too many tasks at once, again my emotions start to shut me down.

So when I am faced with organizing four Elementary School children’s schedules from a disorganized email, printing out assignments and sheets for countless classes from twenty different emails (all forwarded from my wife because for some reason my email address wasn’t included in the school list), chasing down and locating those children in between classes (today we had snow outside!), keeping track of when the next class starts for each of them, making sure they eat (a “healthy”) lunch so we can have dinner at a normal hour, following up with homework, and checking on my other three boys in High School, while simultaneously giving my own shiur on Zoom for Yeshiva, being inundated with messages from WhatsApp about sometimes important and often irrelevant or [not-really] amusing memes, plus the occasional sheiloh, or individual that needs chizzuk, it kind of stresses me out.

I’m not saying any of the “Online Elementary School” tasks are objectively insignificant, but each one is a small detail in a big picture that I would rather be seeing from afar (where all the tiny brush-strokes blend together into a beautiful composition). The multitasking element is clear.

That is what I am finding hard to handle. Baruch Hashem, my wife is around somewhat (as unfathomable as it sounds, she was instructed by the NYC DOE to continue her OT sessions via video conference), and is a powerhouse when it comes to getting the multitasked details done.

Today I made it until about four o’clock before starting to fall apart. Right now my wife is working with our youngest who in first grade has more, and more detailed work than any other child in the family. Meanwhile, I made myself a coffee, and am listening to the sounds of a fan on Youtube on almost half volume while I am writing this to keep my sanity.

It’s working pretty well.

One thing that I tell people all the time. Stress is usually the result of feeling “overwhelmed”. Overwhelmed means that the tasks you feel responsible for, are bigger than you can handle. The truth is that they only seem that way, they aren’t really. That’s one of the reasons why telling your problems to someone else, or putting them on paper, helps to reduce stress. If it can be concretely told, or delineated on paper, it can’t possibly be that big. At that point it’s no longer “overwhelming”.

  10 Nisan 5783