Getting the Job Done

I’m sitting here thinking of writing. The article written for the site last night just didn’t want to come. I knew what I was thinking but couldn’t make the words align in an interesting way. Ever been in that situation? Not just in writing but in any area of your life? You know what you want but you just can’t line it up. Sometimes you look at it one way. So wrong! You turn it around 180 degrees and it doesn’t add up to what you started with in the first place. The trick is trying to figure out where you went wrong. It’s a trick that sometimes looks too hard to start. I want to quit until I am reminded of the words of Marilyn vos Savant. ‘Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.’ I’m still working on that article but in the meantime, I’m being reminded that I’m not that different from most every other person on this planet. We all come up against times when working through a tough project seems like an impossible task. So, I thought I would offer a few suggestions that have worked for me in the past. Hopefully, they will help you as well.

The hardest tasks to unravel are the ones with way too many components. The bedrooms of my children come to mind. I send them into their rooms every day to clean them and every day they assure me they have done it. Because I lack fortitude, I don’t check on their progress for several days. After all, if I check, I will have to insist that they do it right. Then we’ll go through the battle of ‘it’s my room. Why can’t I have it my way?’ I then go through the same spiel I went through the last time we had this conversation. Chips spilled on the floor invite bugs which will spread into the rest of the house, dirty gym socks left lying under the bed will eventually require a gas mask for anyone passing ‘your’ room; etc. Procrastination doesn’t improve the situation. Eventually, I will have to enter their room for one reason or another. That’s when I am forced to accept my role as mother and teach my offspring correct cleaning techniques. When the carpet on the
floor isn’t visible because of the books, crayons, laundry (dirty or clean?), toys, and papers, you can feel slightly overwhelmed. That feeling is only intensified by the amount of stuffed animals, dresses, shirts, and socks piled on a bed that hasn’t been made since the last time you checked. Your only hope is to take things one step at a time. For instance, the bed first. Break the bed down into it’s many components. Any dresses on the bed still on hangars can be considered clean and re-hung in the closet. All other clothing should be considered suspect and returned to the laundry basket. Stuffed animals can then be returned to their designated container. By this time, you should be able to identify food, candy wrappers, soft drink containers, etc that can be thrown into the trash. Once everything has been removed, you can replace sheets, blankets and pillowcases. One part of the room is done. Take the floor in the same manner. I like to remove the biggest things from the floor first simply because I get a clean spot faster that way. Then start removing things in categories as you did with the bed. And now you have a manageable task. This technique can be applied to any task with an overwhelming amount of work involved.

Then there is the problem of the project that requires concentration and study. You learned as a student that the best place to study was the library. Why? Because your roommates weren’t partying in the next room, the television wasn’t blaring, the radio couldn’t be heard in the next county and the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook. Hang onto that concept when you’re trying to sew a complicated Halloween outfit for your child. Or when you are trying to decorate the perfect cake for the party. Trying to do either of these chores when the kids are up is a bad plan! Wait until they’re in bed. Or, if you’re too exhausted to do anything once they’ve gone to bed, get up before they do to get the job done. The project is so much more enjoyable when you are uninterrupted.

Since you already know that I lack fortitude and tend to procrastinate, it will not come as a surprise to you that I like to put off unpleasant tasks. It is amazing how much I can accomplish while avoiding giving the dogs a bath. The beds need made, the laundry should be folded and put away, the kitchen floor needs washed, the front porch hasn’t been swept. I should probably dust the books shelves. I haven’t called a stressed out friend in a few days. I could get my house totally spit polished, my car buffed and shined, the yard and porch cleaned and on and on and on. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing except dogs are living beings for whom I have accepted responsibility. So they have to be bathed. My solution is to assign myself a day and time to do this particular task. It’s important that I inform family and others of my intentions. Otherwise, I am too willing to be distracted by other things like ‘come have lunch with me’ or ‘let’s go garage sale-ing’. Once I have stated publicly that I will be doing this job, I might have time to go to lunch or even spend a little time at garage sales but I will have to be home in time to bathe the dogs. I’m sure there is a task that you have that is equivalent to bathing the dog. So schedule it in! Short of an emergency room visit, do it as scheduled!

I’m sure others will have little techniques they use to get the job done. If so, please feel free to put in a comment for the rest of us. Thanks!


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One Response to “Getting the Job Done”

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