In the last month, I have been struggling with getting things done. There’s too much to do at work, too much to do at home, just too much everywhere I turn. And with Christmas coming up (rapidly I might add), there’s no relief in sight.
What typically happens when I get a case of the “too much” is that rather than do anything, even one thing so that I can say I did something, I end up establishing a nest on the couch and binge watching a stupid amount of TV. Because that’s a better solution than doing something.<- I need a universally recognized sarcasm font for times like these. Just as an aside.
The good news is that eventually, I run out of TV to watch or I get tired of myself. Usually the latter. There’s a lot of TV to watch and most of it will hold my attention. More likely that I’ll get tired of myself.
Problem is by the time this happens, my house could probably be classified as a hazardous materials storage space. Let’s face it, with three small boys, my husband and myself in the house, it really doesn’t take long to reach hazmat proportions. And then the case of “too much” starts creeping in again.
At some point, before it totally takes me down and I risk being featured on an episode of “Hoarders”, I usually manage to focus myself. This has been the case up until now. Track record for digging out is still intact. Go me.
The best and only thing that works when a case of the “too much” kicks in is to fight it with “things in threes”.
I like the number three. It’s enough to feel productive and not so much that I feel crazy. Like the boys. I have three of them. Anymore and I would be stark raving mad.
The “Things in Threes” Principle
Here’s the deal, after day two or three of couch surfing, I start talking myself out of the couch nest. I make a deal with myself that I only have to do three things and then I can sit down again. The first time, it’s usually three small things, like putting a load of laundry on. But I finish those three things and then I sit down again and watch another show.
And repeat until order has been restored to my world. Or at least my home.
But I don’t stop there. Because everything is cyclical for me, I will then do my best to not resort to chaos again. At this point, I start making my to-do list again. Always a list of three things I want to get done each night.
Sometimes I actually get all three things on the list done. Here’s the secret, more often than not, I throw an easy one on the list so I have something to check off. It’s usually laundry. Because there is always laundry to be done. Then I can build on the momentum.
Once I have the easy one on the list, I throw on a challenge. One that I know that I am going to struggle to finish. But I put it on knowing that if I even get started, it will make me feel substantially accomplished. The third thing is something that I know will make me feel good to walk into my house in the morning. So it’s usually something involving my kitchen. Clean the countertops, dishwasher emptying. Tidying the living room/kitchen. Usually fairly straight forward but has a good solid return on investment.
Now, if I could pull this off for extended periods of time, I wouldn’t be in the position I often find myself in that I described at the beginning of this story. In reality, this state of being lasts maybe a month, if I’m lucky. Then things start slipping. A busy weekend, a school holiday and suddenly the laundry is piled up, the sink is full of dishes and I can’t see the floor because there are toys everywhere.
And then it’s back to the couch nest and then focussing on three things at a time.
It’s a comfortable cycle, if not necessary a practical one.