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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How To Get Things Done


We all would like a magic formula on "how to get things done". And I know one sure fired magic formula.
Are you ready? It's amazing.
Start.

That's it.
Just do that.
Start. Begin. Do 15 minutes.
Just start.

As I walked around my home this morning, it looked as if a series of cluster bombs had gone off in various rooms. There is the kitchen with nearly two days worth of debris scattered about it, in spite of half-hearted attempts to clean and put away. And over there, the bedroom with the bed unmade, the couch full to bursting with clothes that have not been folded or put away. Here's the livingroom with controllers, pillows and various kid clutter scattered about. Speaking of kids, I don't even want to look over there, particularly not in Bear's room, which is a sad far cry from the day it looked after I spent a full 8 hours decluttering. The yard and porch and deck are full of leaves and debris.
Then there is my "work" as well. And it's work that involves papers and documents and writing and thinking.
It is, in a word, overwhelming.

And I am tired. The children and I have been away from home for nine days and it has sapped me.
And sad. My grandfather died (part of why I was gone), and there is no funeral, no memorial, nothing to "officially" honor and recognize his life, or his death. The part that I could do to honor him, I did, but this still leaves me sad in ways beyond the grief of his death.
Yesterday, I spent the day in semi-hibernation, finally emerging at 3 p.m. to do the three necessary things for the day:
1. wash and vacuum the car
2. buy minimal groceries
3. go to the gym and exercise

And I did those three things.
Today, I've gotten up and started to work on the cluster bombs.
Just 15 minutes at a time.
For me, that starts with what I like to call a "walkabout". I set the timer for 15 minutes and walk about the house (or when I had a desk job, the office) and pick up the clutter, move all the papers into a general stack, start a load of clothes, gather all the dishes into the kitchen from all the various rooms of the house, move toys from all the other parts of the house to the kids rooms, tidy pillows and throws, etc.

Immediately, the livingroom and den look presentable. There is now, at least, one place (even if it is just the couch or your office chair) that is "tidy" and "in order". Next 15 minutes for me, is always, always the kitchen. It doesn't have to be perfect, but having the kitchen gotten under control, makes the entire home feel "put together". It is, for me, the equivalent of getting out of your nightclothes and putting on the day's outfit. Depending on the state of chaos, the kitchen may take more than 15 minutes. Start with one. Then take a break and do something else. Again, I set my timer, so my "something else" doesn't take over the time I've committed to "getting things done".

Then I move in a radius, alternating between things that are easy and things that are more difficult.
Emails, quick office tasks, follow-up calls, meetings, reports.
Social media, coffee break, online shopping.
Dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, laundry, sweeping, leaves.
Housework or office work it can all be handled in short bursts.
Just try it.
You don't have to do it all in one day... or maybe you do.
So start now.
15 minutes.
Make it a game and "race the clock".
Find some music you enjoy to listen to.
My timer has gone off... time to stop writing and get to the next challenge.
As ever,
~e