Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Focusing on the task at hand...the downside
When my life was a duel between grad student and homemaker, I almost always had to just do what had to be done, one step at a time. Especially when our commute took up nearly three hours a day. THREE HOURS.
As a full-time "SAHM" now, I still use this approach for most everyday tasks. I don't really want to look at the broader view of the day and cringe at how much is full of mundane, repetitive housekeeping chores. If I just follow a rhythm of doing a few things that need to be done, then play with my children, take a break to read and have a mocha, then do a few more things that need to be done...then usually everything gets done and I don't feel overwhelmed.
The problem comes when I want (or need) to do more than just maintain the household. In Sheila Wray Gregoire's excellent blog, she asked yesterday for readers to comment on the biggest source of stress and "busy-ness" in their lives (she's getting ready to teach us how to simplify, woohoo!). This was an easy answer for me: House. Work.
I already know what I need to do to streamline housework. Mostly it involves some storage containers and a weekend of deep cleaning. But before I get storage containers, I need to paint my bookshelves. And before I paint my bookshelves I need to refinish my dining table and paint it. Which is going to require some coats of polyurethane, which means I need to clear out space in the garage (which is full of boxes of books waiting to go on freshly painted bookshelves). Before I do that, I need to spend an evening finishing up the final little details on my awesomely cute coffee table-turned chalkboard activity table.
Oops. Anyone see a problem with my (non) plan of action? If I just take care of the task at hand, I'll never actually complete the above list of projects. Fortunately, by writing out the list I was able to see that a lack of strategy won't work. And now that I type that out..."duh".