breaking it down.

Likely you’ve caught on by now that keeping up is an issue for me. (And I am in no way referring to the Jones’ family.) I’m talking the day-to-day stuff like losing my keys or phone, the piles of unrelated clutter, and tasks left undone that now look too overwhelming to tackle.

{I am beautifully and wonderfully made. I am not defective. I just have some areas that have potential for development and it is very wise of me to do so. Gee, that is so super smart of me. Whew. Just had to make sure I’m not engaging with that darn (or da$#) judgment voice.}

I took a test in O magazine to see if I am more L or R brained. Really, just for laughs. Not one answer did I lean toward the left side. Speaking of brain, I have a huge head. I mean the average hat does not fit me. It has been a fashion frustration for me as I like a cute hat as much as anyone else does. This has been a surprise to my pals, and I am always relieved since I do tend to toot my own horn now and then but must not push it too far.

One helpful tool that Ms. Sarah brought to my attention is the cycle of completion.

And this isn’t just for the big stuff. Like cleaning the whole entire house. Or building one from the ground up or solving the energy crisis. This can be broken down to the smallest of tasks. We caught on that I was going without this completion cycle as I would look at cleaning my closet to the point of taking everything out, to the finish of having the garage sale. Versus breaking it down to just putting away a basket of clothes. The problem with such a lofty goal is when will I find the time and energy for it? So instead I walk in and out of my closet feeling overwhelmed day-to-day and really there is not much I can do about it that feels any bit satisfying.

Each time I engage in this cycle and make my way around — what I’ve noticed is a little skip in my step. A little spark flies. I don’t care what day of the week it is – I could use a little more of that.

What does this look like?
Let’s just say I am home and feeling a bit lumpy and grumpy – I might wiggle my feet to see if they are still attached and in working order and sulk my way over to an overwhelming pile. (I don’t have to go far…) I can chose to put away 5 things. (Really??? That’s an option???) Moving my arms and using my brain I might file one thing, throw a few and put one away in the proper stowing place. I then, as I shut that lid just press both hands down for an extra moment. Like “there.” Or do that criss-cross-brushing hands together gesture a few times and put on a smile on to represent the celebration.

Walking away I don’t typically feel like being a grumpy lump. I might not feel like I can take on the world, but my eyebrows might sit a bit higher on my face, my shoulders might be a bit further back and I may no longer represent a dead woman walking.

One day I challenged Ms. Sarah—ok, this is all fine and good, but what if I’m really behind???? What then??? (Whiny voice.)

“The same goes for that. You break down a task to what you have the capacity for at that time, (boundaries! boundaries! boundaries!) setting a reasonable goal. You may not feel all resolved and giddy at the end, but in time and practice you will see the benefits of going back to that same pile, and how it is smaller, and what it’s like to experience more completion in your day.”

She didn’t say, “buck up and just clean the damn house girl. Seriously! What’s wrong with you!”

Shocking isn’t it???

So guess what?

I have felt a little bit happier about it all. This whole day-to-day routine. I am not spending so much time getting out of things as I am getting into them. In small portions. And I have a ways to go. I also haven’t been saying, “gee Emily, get a grip already – what’s wrong with you?” No.  Not nearly as much.

Here’s a bit of my right brain in action:

So that’s a bit (ok, quite a lot) of the inside story, the break down.

I am off to go cook dinner. I think I will try to celebrate once I decide what it is I will cook, again when I get out all the ingredients, again when I am done cooking and again when I am eating. Let’s see if sparks fly!

This entry was posted in cleaning, frustrating, HOUSEHOLD ISSUES, INS, me, monday, thoughtful and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    This is so helpful to me. I remember when you first shared this Ms. Sarah gem with me and I so appreciate the refresher. It’s such a downer to constantly feel like I’m never finishing anything. But to reframe the definition of “finishing” – to become the completion of a single step, or a small task vs. a huge one – that’s brilliant.

    It does remind me of FlyLady a bit. I can’t follow her plan to the letter, but her Five-Minute Room Rescue and 27-Fling Boogie have helped me more than once.

    I love this, Em. Thanks for the wisdom and I’m now going to file 5 pieces of paper that have been sitting on my desk all week, and then celebrate. : ) Yay!

  2. Posted November 24, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Funny, I just whipped through my kitchen washed all the cutting boards and pans, did a bathroom swish-n-swipe (fly lady I think), and now I poured myself some tea and lit a candle. Then I sat down to read a couple of posts. Ahhh! And honestly? It only took 15 minutes or maybe less. Thanks Em, for the picture of why my brain feels fresh and free, at the moment!

One Trackback

  1. By storage room * secrets. on March 29, 2011 at 12:22 am

    [...] Yay! I can see the floor. I can walk through my laundry room! I can find some fun paper and wrap up a gift or make a fun card. Celebrating I am! [...]

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