Here's a riddle for you: who does all things all day but never gets to finish anything?
A parent. If you answered correctly, congratulations! You're a parent.
I was recently chatting with Abbie, a blogger friend of mine (check her out right now—seriously, I'll wait). We were bemoaning how blogging and social media management and writing tend to take over—but the "take over" rarely feels productive and instead just feels frenzied. This conversation helped me realize I feel this way in most of my life.
I'm always writing but feel like I'm only inching toward my goals.
I'm always doing laundry but it's never folded and put away.
I'm always cleaning but my house is utter chaos.
I'm always working but I'm never ahead.
Relate much? Please say you do even if you don't and make me feel better. Thanks.
I've decided it's time to deal with the chaos. Right after talking to Abbie, I ordered myself a blogging planner from a lovely Etsy shop, pulled out a pen, and started brainstorming realistic ways to end the frenzy.
Here's where it gets tricky: I fail at "routines." Weekly cleaning charts always start out with good intentions but end up glaring at me disapprovingly from my fridge. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of gal, so when I (frequently) end up unable to do all the things, I swing back toward doing none of the things. That's why I've made a few guidelines for myself that I'm testing out this week. If they work out well, I'll try doing them for a month to develop the habit and (hint, hint, kind reader) create a customizable printable.
Here are the guidelines I'm sticking to:
- Do one thing at a time: I think I'm a great multi-tasker, but personal experience and that pesky thing called science tell me otherwise.
- Do what's in front of me: Here's how I typically clean the kitchen—Begin unloading dishwasher. Hear phone chirp. Answer text message, notice toddler being cute. Take picture of toddler. Wipe toddler's face. Notice toddler needs a bath. Start toddler's bath, notice bathroom is filthy. Pour cleaner into toilet. Notice hair is crazy, begin fussing with hair... You get the picture. I need the permission to ignore everything else and focus on what's in front of me, and I'm doing that by setting a daily rhythm (more on that later).
- Limit time-wasters: My phone and computer can take over if I'm not careful. I've set specific times to check social media, email, and work during the day. Other times, the phone is plugged in on my nightstand.
Since I fail at routines, I've decided to dub this new experiment a "rhythm." In other words, I'm going to try to dedicate parts of my day to certain tasks: mornings to cleaning, mid-mornings to writing, midday to time with Charlie, afternoons for work, and evenings for relaxing and planning my next day. I've given myself a daily task for each day of the week such as cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming the floors—and if the task isn't done on the day it's assigned to, I don't do it that week. This is the only way I can get over the aforementioned all-or-nothing attitude.
Since this is my experiment phase, I'd love to hear your tips and tricks. How do you keep ahead of the chaos? Comment with your thoughts and I may just try your idea out this month!