Happy November! We are closing in on the last steps in my series 18 Steps to Getting Out of Survival Mode. If you haven’t read all of them yet, you can go to the blog home page and just keep scrolling down til you come to one you’ve not read yet…or when you get to step one, you can read through them in order.
So far we’ve talked about being flexible, developing a sense of humor, being open to new things, not discounting the silly ideas, not investing too much time or money in the ridiculous. And then some practical ideas: having your kids help, planning, using a crock pot, scheduling your time, and finding other tools to help. This week, I’d like to discuss another method to getting things done: Break them up into smaller pieces. Here’s what I originally wrote about this topic:
“11. Break up house work
I used to clean my entire house in one day. I can no longer perform that little feat of physical activity so I break up my housework into short spurts each day Monday through Friday. I wash clothes on Mondays, dust and clean the bathrooms on Tuesdays, vacuum and do the floors on Wednesdays, clean the kitchen and microwave on Thursdays and do more laundry (sheets and towels) on Fridays.”
When you are healthy or otherwise not overwhelmed, you may have time to do a task all at once. However, when you are older, have more responsibilities, are struggling with various trials (or even if you’re a new mom), you will come to dread certain recurring tasks that take up your time and energy. If you can’t delegate the task to another family member or hire a maid or personal assistant, the only alternative (besides living in piles of dust and germs) is to break them up into smaller pieces and tackle them one or two at a time.
I’d love to permanently break up with my housework, but my bank account won’t allow it. However, that’s not the only task I’d like to break up with! How about you? I discovered this lovely little trick many years ago when I started homeschooling. In order to determine how long a text book would take each day to be on schedule to finish it by semester end, I’d break up the chapters or pages into weeks and then further into days. There were 18 weeks in a semester so, if I textbook had 18 chapters, that would be one chapter a day. An average of 20 pages per chapter would mean five pages per day M-F. The same can be done with any task from housework to home business!
Need to read ten chapters by Friday, but you just can’t concentrate? Break it down into two chapters a day or even one in the AM and one in the PM. Have to plan an event? Break it down into categories: food, invites, favors…and take a day or week (or whatever you have left) to get each one done. Looking to clean out a room for when company comes? Break up each part of the room (closet, under the bed, floor, desk) and assign it a doable time frame. The closet may need a week, the floor two days, the desk a day, and under the bed…well…maybe you can get your son to tackle that scary task, eh?
What tasks do you need done soon? How can you break them down into doable portions?