At times in my life I’ve been a bit of a drifter. It’s no bad thing. It’s good to let life carry you along, see where it takes you, not worrying to much about things that ‘need doing’.
Sometimes though I get overwhelmed. I feel surrounded by piles of physical and metaphorical stuff – coats to go upstairs, bags to come downstairs, bins to empty, people to ring, seeds to plant, floors to hoover, cobwebs to dust, parcels to post, library books to return, trains to catch, cars to fix, roofers to chase…
Ordinary life admin, no different to what everyone else has to deal with, but sometimes it’s just Too Much.
I often find these periods of everything being Too Much coincide with busy or stressful periods in other aspects of my life. At the minute I’m travelling a lot for work, so I get home late and exhausted, and having to think about library books and making tea is overwhelming.
When I’m despairing at having to take the compost out, I know something has to change.
Peter is very good. My tea is often cooked and waiting for me when I get in (even if he’s not here!) which sometimes makes me so happy I shed a little tear. Which in itself is a sign of being overwhelmed, if you think about it.
This month I’ve decided to take myself in hand. Drifting is all very well, and sometimes it’s the easiest option, but in the longer term I need a bit of routine. I need someone to tell me what to do when I get in from work, or I won’t do it. I need to keep an eye on my bank account or it will dance around and misbehave behind my back (another source of stress).
And so I created a checklist. I do so love to tick things off. It’s based on Flylady’s routines, which I come back to over and over but which have never stuck. Now I have my checklist though, things are different.
I created a chart, with the days of the month across the top, and down the side a list of things to do. In the morning is exercise, getting dressed (!), a quick swish round the bathroom, washing the breakfast dishes, and sweeping the kitchen. Obviously there are other things that get done in the morning (like eating) but on the list are the *new* things that right now I don’t do automatically.
In the evening there are more things to tick off. Washing up after dinner, making lunch, packing bags and finding clothes for the next day, 15 minutes of decluttering, emptying the compost, sweeping the kitchen again. All of these things already got done sometimes, but I’ve found it makes my life easier if I do them all regularly.
I’m fairly sure that this kind of thing is what everyone else considers a normal part of adulthood, and I’m kind of embarrassed that it’s taken me so long to figure it out… And I’m also kind of embarrassed about how easy it’s been to just look at the list, tick things off, and how much better everything feels because of it.
It’s only been a couple of weeks, so i’m not counting my chickens yet, but they’ve been the busiest couple of weeks I’ve had for a long time, and while I’m still a little overwhelmed at times, the house is picked up, I haven’t forgotten anything I need to take anywhere, and I’ve even actually done some decluttering! Quite shocking.
Have you had any revelations lately? Please tell me I’m not the only one!