I’ll do that later

So, it seems I’ve figured out the difference between people like myself and those sparkling Type-A personalities who seem to have everything done all of the time (regardless of whether or not it is an online fallacy created with filters).

They don’t leave it till later.

Lightbulb moment.

At my very core I’m a bit of a dreamer who easily gets overwhelmed when my to-do list grows quicker than I can read it. On a day when Percy is at my feet, the dishes need to be done, I’ve got a story due, lunch to make, a phone interview scheduled and washing that needs to be brought in, I can safely say that nothing gets done efficiently or effectively. And the general mess that occurs in the wake of a toddler or the school children that arrive home hungry and tired? Add it to the list.

But adding it to the list is just not practical because the list is only going to get bigger (I let go of the ideal of getting to the bottom of the list many years ago).

The efficient among us don’t walk over a toy and think: “I’ll put that away later”. They pick it up, put it in the basket, keep walking.

This methodical approach to cleaning a house does not come naturally to me. Not at all, not in the slightest. Which means one thing: it must be a learned behaviour.

On Saturday morning (after I got home from yoga), we spent some time sorting, tidying and cleaning. It was a family affair complete with music, whinging, distraction and gentle reminders to stay on task. Regardless of the slow pace and the coffee breaks, we did get a lot done which left the rest of the weekend free.

But what was glaringly obvious was Daniel’s efficiency and my tendency to wander off task. Or start a task and promptly move onto the next. Or clean a surface and rearrange the books and then light a candle.

Gah! I so easily find myself in a muddle.

So, I’ve been conscious of mentally repeating exactly what I’m doing to ensure I get it done before I move onto the next.

“I am clearing the table, I am washing the dishes, I am folding the clothes.”

Gentle reminders, mindful work, karma yoga.

And perhaps it’s karma yoga that is the very essence of keeping a house while mothering small children. Karma yoga is about setting aside time to do the work and walking away when the time is up, not necessarily when the task is done. It’s realistic for my life right now which is, well, brimming.

Cleaning in the moment is one thing, setting aside time to clean (even if it doesn’t get finished) is another. Writing about it is procrastination at its finest.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Kitty
    Reply

    You are in good company! I often wonder why I walk over something rather than pick it up, out it away and the move on … and am surfing your blog rather than picking up that pile of books … emptying the dishwasher, etc.!

  • Cristiana
    Reply

    Oh, this made me laugh! Mostly because I relate to it…too much! And I can add some, like meticulously organising one cabinet drawer or shelve When the whole room is a mess… I am (slowly) getting better in the past years and when I use the two minute rule at home (if a task takes less than two minutes, do it right away, don't add it to your to-do list or mental list- GTD system), it changes everything for the better.

  • Jessicah
    Reply

    I honestly believe having little babies killed my ability to concentrate. It was inevitable the 5, or 10 or 15 minutes into something I would be interrupted by the babies needs. And if 45 minutes passes by, I become a lost soul, wandering aimlessly until baby wakes again!

  • Jessicah
    Reply

    I honestly believe having little babies killed my ability to concentrate. It was inevitable the 5, or 10 or 15 minutes into something I would be interrupted by the babies needs. And if 45 minutes passes by, I become a lost soul, wandering aimlessly until baby wakes again!

  • M
    Reply

    This is me and my husband!! I try but I am so easily distracted!!! Just like Christina above I'm the master of cleaning one shelf while the house around me is in shambles!

  • Ronnie
    Reply

    "Writing about it is procrastination at its finest." This made me smile!
    Ronnie xoxo

  • katiecrackernuts
    Reply

    Oh dear, I am one of those people who pick the toy, sock, whatever up and clean as I go. I can't say I am any more efficient but the house is tidy – today. A friend of mine is testing out the Pomodoro Technique, which was new to me, but is effectively how I manage work time and productivity anyway. Might be worth Googling.

  • Audrey
    Reply

    Oooh this is me! I think you also need to give yourself a large amount of grace here though, because if there is one thing I have realised it is that my children are not massive fans of me doing much at all for much time at all – their father on the other hand, seems to be allowed to wash dishes / cook dinner / do outdoor tasks all while hanging out with the kids. It is extraordinary how differently they treat Mama 🙂

  • Nikki Fisher
    Reply

    Can relate! I a married to a Type A x 100! My man is so on task, so efficient, so productive and prolific (he's published nine books! and can't understand why I haven't finished my 1st!) and he cannot for the life of him understand why the rest of the world or at least those he lives with aren't exactly the same. My new habit is every time I catch myself in my mind saying "I'll do that later", I just do it now! It works. Good luck xo

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