While we all have our "bumblebee" moments in the garden, I find that I am neither an "ant" nor a "bumblebee." Most of the time I am a hornet. I tend to focus on a particular task at hand with a single mindedness that ignores time, aches and pains, heat and cold. Like the hornet repeatedly stinging its prey to death, I relentlessly attack the task until I've "killed" it off.
I'm not recommending this sort of behaviour, as it has gotten me into trouble. First, I engage in the activity to nearly the point of exhaustion, leaving no energy for the cleanup. An example is pruning a large hedge. I attack the hedge without stopping until the trimming is finished, at which point I'm left with sore hands, an aching back, and a large pile of trimmings that need to be tidied up. What ends up happening is the cleanup gets left for another hornet session of its own.
Second, I lose all track of time, to the detriment of my personal relationships. My mom has told me that my children complain that I'm "outside all the time" in clement weather. My husband has described himself as a "gardening widower." I have nearly been late in picking up the kids because of my hornet tendencies.
I can't remember where I read the advice that gardeners should spend no more than 15 minutes on an activity before switching to something completely different to avoid strain on hands and muscles. While I can't quite follow that advice, I have found a way to help myself avoid falling into hornet mode. While gardening, I've taken to wearing a watch that chimes every hour. The chime reminds me of the passage of time, the need to take a break, the need to get the kids lunch, and the need to do some cleanup as the project goes along. Here's hoping I can heed this warning bell in the garden this year.