Monday, January 19, 2009

One thing at a Time

On Saturday I worked for hours scrubbing about 5 layers of scum off our floors. I vacuumed, swept, mopped, and attacked extra gross areas with a brush. I didn’t even stop to think about how long it had been since I did more than a quick surface cleaning. It would have been too embarrassing. I know that my mom gave it a good scrub while I was recovering from my gallbladder removal in early November. But since then my house has suffered. Once I felt better I had to catch up on work, the holidays came, and I had an emergency appendectomy the weekend before Christmas . . . Oh did I forget to mention that in my posts? Yes, barely six weeks after losing my gallbladder, my appendix expired.

I almost dreaded feeling better because feeling better meant making up for lost time. Talk about overwhelming! I needed to clean the bathrooms, dust, and don’t even get me started on the refrigerator. Let’s just say, it’s amazing that none of us got botulism, salmonella, or cholera.

Usually I would try to do it all in one weekend. But 2 surgeries in six weeks taught me a new skill—how to pace myself. So I tried a new approach. Each day I tackled one project—one room that was grossing me out, one long overdue chore, one shelf, closet or drawer that made me want to scream each time I opened it. Sometimes I ended up doing three projects but I always started with one “I have to” job.

Three things happened:

1) I didn’t burn out. I’ve accomplished more in the long run because I didn’t try for more than I could handle.
2) I enjoyed the process. Now that I’m seeing the results of my labor it’s kind of fun to look around and consider, “Hmm, what can I accomplish today?” It actually felt good to have the energy to wear myself out cleaning the floor.
3) It rekindled my drive to keep things tidy on a daily basis instead of letting piles, dust bunnies and smells add up. Obviously I had a good excuse this time, but it has been four weeks since my trip to the ER so “I don’t have the strength” isn’t going to fly anymore. Now that the house is cleaner it’ll be easier to maintain.

The dog doesn’t quite know how to take it though. While scouring the tiles under her
food and water dishes I caught her looking at me like, “What are you doing? Is it my birthday or something?” Still, it feels good to see things LOOKING good.

Are you dreading a project that seems beyond you? Have you put off a term paper, let your room become a health hazard, or procrastinated on your college applications? Instead of taking on the whole job at once try breaking it down into steps. Make up your mind to finish one step per day. You’ll be amazed at the results. Not the mention the feeling of accomplishment when it’s finally done!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NICE! I can totally relate. I put off the big cleaning cuz it's just too big.... but it sure feels good when it's done. I did some of that this past weekend, boy did it feel good.

Thanks for the post!