I was caught up once, in the year 2000, and it lasted about a week. I remember it quite distinctly, because it felt absolutely glorious. I’m not sure how I managed it, exactly (I was the mother of two young preschoolers at the time), but nonetheless, for one brief week, I was completely, 100% caught up on housework, projects, crafts, everything.
It hasn’t happened since.
The fact is, I simply have more to accomplish than can reasonably be done in the time allotted me. Period. Add to this that I am easily distracted and even more easily overwhelmed, and what do you get? Many, many unfinished tasks.
I begin unloading the dishwasher and halfway through I realize I’m out of detergent so I add it to my grocery list, but on my way to the grocery list I see a pile of dirty socks on the floor so I take them to the laundry room, but when I get in there I see my husband’s shirt that needs a button sewn on, so I get out my sewing supplies but when I look at my scissors I remember I have a gift to wrap for a birthday party, so….shall I go on?
After a few hours of this, I realize that I’ve been very busy, but little has been accomplished. I’ve just been bouncing from thing to thing, finishing nothing. And that little part of my personality that craves a sense of completion every now and then is frustrated and stressed out. Does anyone else have this problem?
This was becoming such a cause of frustration for me that a couple of weeks ago I instituted a very simple rule for myself. One word: FINISH.
If I’m unloading the dishwasher, I do not allow myself to veer away to anything else until I am FINISHED unloading the dishwasher. Even if it seems important. Even if I’m afraid I’ll forget it if I don’t do it RIGHT NOW. The reality is that something else will probably remind me of it later. And truly, if my children are fed and loved and taught about the Lord, is any of the rest of it THAT critical?
There are exceptions to my rule, of course–life with little children is full of important interruptions. Sometimes I must stop what I’m doing to
referee a wrestling match teach my children to love each other, and that’s okay. But when I’m done wiping the blood off of them leading them to reconciliation I’m making a concerted effort to come back to what I was doing, instead of finding another task to start.
This may sound terribly elementary to some of you who are more disciplined than I am. Maybe you get up at the crack of dawn and are utterly on top of everything in your home (if this is the case, then why in the heck are you reading my blog? Comic relief?). But if, like me, you need a little help in the focus department, then please, leave a comment and share any pointers that help you FINISH.