We’ve all heard the joke about the guy that comes home from work to find the kids half dressed with cereal in their hair, stuff everywhere, dishes all over, and the wife happily sitting on the couch. He just stares at her in disbelief. She doesn’t take her eyes off the tv and says, “You know how you ask what I do all day?”
“Well, today I didn’t do it.”
Ba da bum. I know, it’s not a great joke, but it kind of illustrates today’s point. Be honest, how often do you start in one room on a specific task, only to find yourself several hours later doing something completely different with the first task barely started? It all starts off innocently enough. Well, I’ll just make the bed. Look, there’s a sock, I’ll go put it in the hamper. Oh man, the hamper’s full. I guess I’ll start a load of laundry. Crap, who left this load of laundry in the washing machine, I’ll restart it. Hey! Who left the milk out? I’ll just put that away. What is the sticky stuff on the refrigerator shelf? So the great fridge clean out begins, only for the phone to ring, the dog pukes, or maybe the kids get into a fight. It’s always something and on your way back to the refrigerator, you find someone dumped dry -hopefully- cereal, after you step in it . . Don’t lie, you know how it is.
The worst part though? Have you ever noticed how during a cleaning or organizing job, there is this moment where everything looks like it’s gone to hell in a handbasket? It is, without a doubt, worse than before the job was even started.
When you have a rabbit trail day, all of the started chores only get to the hell in a handbasket stage.
I do this. And I do it far more frequently than I care to admit. Part of it is my personality -squirrel!- part of it is just having young children, and part of it is a lack of self-discipline on my part.
This week, I’m going to try to be more disciplined in what I’m doing. The dirty sock that derails the bed making? It can wait until the bed is made. My rational side knows this, if I can just get a few things done to completion the house will be in better shape.
How do I force myself to focus? A timer helps, 10 or 15 minutes at a time isn’t too unreasonable. The key though is that I have to STAY in the room where I start. Sometimes this means bringing in a trashbag or gathering my cleaning implements before I start.
Are you with me?
Need a place to get started? Click the chore chart post-it right up there. It’ll take you to an explanation and a printable version. I know that when I do the chores to completion my house stays clean. This week, my goal is take my own advice.
How about you?
On a completely unrelated note:
If you are the praying type, could you keep some of our Australian readers in your prayers? If not, just send some good thoughts their way. Some of them have been hit by the flooding. I don’t have any details, I just learned this through an automated response.