Compartmentalization -- A Bust!


This week, Elizabeth McCord, main character from the television series Madam Secretary, expressed out loud what I was feeling inside. “It is getting harder to compartmentalize,” McCord said after a hard day at the office as Secretary of State, only to face another challenge at home, as a mom of teenage and young adult children.

MIKE: Hmmmm…I am getting a little worried about this set up… thinking a smorgasbord of situations, a litany of lists or mixture of miscellany is coming my way.

Whether you watch the show or not – and let’s be clear, I have not experienced the extra pressure of working as a high ranking public service official – many of us can relate to the challenge of wearing multiple hats and working hard to keep them separate. The reality is that despite our efforts, there are the days that project manager and parent roles cross. All of the sudden I find myself writing project plans and holding accountability meetings with my spouse and kids, including agendas, deadlines and a space for new ideas to discuss.

MIKE: I wish she could compartmentalize more!

Who knew--the family members didn’t respond the same way as some, high achieving employees. Now, as I type this, I can laugh that I glossed over the obvious when I was in the heat of the moment trying to get “stuff” done. Family is designed to be a highly-enriching verses a highly–efficient operation.

MIKE: Awe….and she said she did not get the nurturing, compassionate gene. She may be coming around yet.

Sure, some families are both inspiring and well-organized at the same time. For our family, we live where all great intentions collide, and it is the state of chaos that I have come to like appreciate love! But don’t tell my husband, please. I still like chaos in the setting of an organized house with an agenda. It is getting harder to compartmentalize.

MIKE: I get that. Please leave your work at the door and embrace the chaos without a project plan.

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