MODERN DAY MARTHA

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    To-Do or Not To-Do…

    Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

    Today I woke up motivated.  As I snuggled with my two year old under the warm covers I contemplated what my day would hold.  I said my morning prayers and thought about change, progress and many good things that I wanted to incorporate into this beautiful Saturday.

    Among the things I was thinking about, one in particular was that I needed to do a major cleaning job on my kitchen.  I had let it go for two days and in that short period of time it had come to resemble the wake of a Class 5 hurricane.  Pretty bad.  Worse than bad.

    After I finally decided to get up, I went upstairs to the kitchen and began the morning’s cleaning; unloading the dishwasher, filling it up and so forth.  I fed my boys.  Then I turned around three times and the kitchen was a total disaster again complete with oatmeal smeared on the floor, the table, the chairs and a few spots on the living room carpet.

    I had a minor conniption fit while basking in my self-pity and uselessness.  I ran downstairs and vented to my husband for a minute or two and then attempted to pull myself together.  I was struggling with the suffocating feeling of being overwhelmed by all the chores I had to do this day.  I was feeling let down because I had been so motivated just an hour or so before.  I was feeling like I would never get all the rooms clean and my mental to-do list would never get complete, especially when my kids were seemingly running behind like some kind of elves and undoing all the work I had just done.

    So while I was trying to get my motivation back, I spent some time looking over Fly Lady’s site.  I watched her Shine Your Sink video and read the first few baby steps.  That was the inspiration I needed.  I decided to follow her advice and tackle my jobs in smaller increments and I decided to make a list of all the things I wanted to get done this day.

    My list looked like this:

    • Put up new bedside lamp
    • Change light bulb in laundry room
    • Shine kitchen sink
    • Put away dishes
    • Re-fill dishwasher
    • Wash kitchen floor
    • Clean off my dresser
    • Fold laundry
    • Wash/Dust TVs
    • Make a box for the cat to sleep in on the deck

    Not the most elaborate list but detailed enough so that I wouldn’t loose track of what I was supposed to be working on.  I find that I get side tracked pretty easily.  There is always something else that needs to be cleaned, put away, scrubbed, folded, shopped, chopped, watered, baked, etc.  I’m a mom.  That’s life.  I turn around and there is another project staring me down.  If I look at the whole house and all of the daily projects and chores that need to be done, I get overwhelmed and then shut down.  Then I spend the entire day on Facebook refreshing my browser hoping that one of my friends has updated their status or searching Craigslist for cute antique couches that I can’t afford to buy and I’m not really sure that I want anyway.

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    My bite sized pieces were the thing the kept me going today.  I was able to come back to my to-do list after cleaning up my son’s broken piggy bank and know what I should do next.  Like a buffet, I can pick and choose from my list the items I feel like doing at that particular moment.  I was able to maintain momentum and even found joy in performing the mundain tasks such as changing the light bulb in the laundry room.  I had so much fun doing that task that I was inspired to change all the light bulbs in my bathroom to the energy efficient bulbs.  Maybe I’ll save a couple of cents and can buy a new notebook when this one gets full of my To-Do lists…

    Tomorrow is a new day with a new list.  I will carry over a few of the items such as Fold Laundry.  All those clean clothes that I washed in between checking off items on my list are still piled up on the floor in the family room.  I’ll be honest, they might be there for a few days.  But that job will also be on each day’s new To-Do list and eventually I’ll happily cross that nice bite-sized chore off.