There are times when life overtakes us. We have a mound of laundry to do. The fridge is almost empty. The toys are scattered all over our home. The children need our attention. We have work to complete. The floor needs vacuuming (and decontaminating). There is some unexpected cr*p we need to deal with (see picture). And, we desperately want to sit down with some tea/coffee/wine/beer/chocolate (circle all that apply).
When we talk about the importance of work life balance, we never seem to account for the work that needs to get done at home, and our “break time” is sadly not a priority.
I do not have any answers. I wish I did. But, I do have a strategy that helps me feel less overwhelmed on crazy days.
Choose ONE task
Simple, right! Just choose one task. Sometimes the choice is made for us; the baby needs feeding, or the toddler is stuck in a cupboard. Other times we need to be grown up and choose for ourselves; should I do the dishes or put the laundry on? Maybe I should run out and get groceries first. There is no wrong choice – only a lack of decision.
As soon as you know what you are going to do, life becomes simpler.
Say what you are about to do (now).
As a determined (not very good) multitasker and (excellent) procrastinator, I find Step One the most difficult. I need Step Two to get me moving. It may seem strange, but I find that by stating my intentions out loud the other distractions fade away. For example, I opt to do the dishes so I say, “I am going to do the dishes, now.” The key to this statement, and any variation on it, is the word “now.” When you say “now,” you commit. Everything else fades away and becomes less of a priority. There is no procrastination. The same is true when we do not choose a task, when the task chooses us; the blanket fort has collapsed again and your child needs (urgent) assistance. Simply state, “I am going to help you, now.” And that is it – you both feel better!
This might seem obvious, but sometimes there is a big, fat distraction between us and the job at hand. The other day, I had a break!!! But, out of the corner of my eye, I could see vegetables waiting to be washed and chopped. It took a huge effort (well, not that big), to ignore them and finish pouring my cup of tea. The trick? When saying, “now” step toward the task .
Do not deviate.
Do not look back.
Do not compromise.
Unless you hear urgent cries for help, in which case return to Step One!