Search Results for: label/Non-negotiable tasks

Focus Check Friday – The Very First! Come Join In!

It’s Focus Check Friday!

Last week, I shared how the one thing that has made the biggest difference in cleaning up this mess has been . . . . focus. It’s easy for me to have selective vision, ignoring the mess and only seeing the fun stuff. But then the mess gets so big that I can no longer pretend it isn’t there.

Keeping my focus on my home has meant that I am much more likely (though never guaranteed) to see things like shoes covering the floor by the back door before they take over the entire room. Focusing means that it occurs to me that I should really run the dishwasher to avoid the sink pile-up, rather than wait until dishes have to be done in order to pour one of the kids a glass of milk.

My post last Friday also explained how much blogging about my efforts has helped me. It helps me to hash out what I’m doing or not doing that is or isn’t helping our house to get in better shape. It helps me stay focused by giving me an excuse to talk to myself.

So, with Focus Check Friday, my desire is to give to you what you have given to me. An excuse to stop and think about what is and isn’t working in your housekeeping efforts. How has your week been? Has it been crazy, and the last thing on your mind was the house? Has it been successful, and you’ve kept an area clean or decluttered a difficult spot?

I’m just encouraging you to check your focus. Stop for a moment to blog about it, leave a comment, or talk to yourself in the mirror, and either pat yourself on the back or decide what could be changed to help you do better next week.

I’ll go first.

How’s my focus? Ummmm . . . a little off, honestly. The only day this week when I did my designated task for the day was Monday, and I didn’t even fully complete that one. There’s a small amount of clean-and-dry-but-not-folded-and-put-away-clothes (though not a full-fledged laundry mountain) on the loveseat. Tuesday I felt I didn’t have any choice but to nix Clean the Bathrooms Day so that I could get an early start running errands. Wednesday I did do my grocery shopping, but had to rush because I enjoyed myself a little too long at lunch with friends. And Thursday? Today involved my mom’s group meeting and Field Day for my kindergartner (hot, humid, yucky Field Day). So . . . no mopping.

Have I failed? I don’t know how I want to answer that at this point. I think that if I let next week be like this one (full of good excuses), then yes. But considering that our home used to suffer from way-more-than-a-week’s-worth of neglect on a regular basis, I think it’s okay to miss a few tasks as long as I take special care to do better next week.

In some ways, I’m glad that I got to see how much of a difference one week off has made in how clean the shower feels. I mean really, I went . . . ummm . . . . quite a while longer in the past, totally ignoring how bad it was getting. Even though the change isn’t terribly visible after a week, I do notice it. Additional proof that the more I force myself to be consistent, the more my focus improves. Hmmm . . .

My goal for next week is to get back to checking off my non-negotiable tasks. I haven’t been physically checking them off of my chart in quite a while, so I know that I’m ignoring some. Since starting this blog, those tasks have kept this house in pretty good shape, even before I added the bigger weekly tasks.

As I kick into high gear to prepare for my garage sale a week from Saturday, I need that list to keep me focused.

So how’s your focus?
Please feel free to share in the comments, or if you’d like to write a post on your blog, you can submit your link below.

***If you do link up below, please put something like “I’m linking this up to A Slob Comes Clean’s Focus Check Friday” somewhere in your post. And then link to this post within your post. If you need help to know how to do that, let me know. It’s easy.

I’m so hoping at least one person links up! I can’t wait to see how your focus has been.

Accepting How I Learn – Why Flylady Didn’t Work for Me

First, let me clarify a few things. 

1. Flylady is awesome.  When people ask me for advice here, I try to make it clear that I’m no expert when it comes to cleaning, organizing, etc. and I generally send them her way.  If you want to know what it takes to get your house under control, she’s your woman.  And she’ll tell you exactly what to do.

2. When I talk about “how I learn” I automatically feel defensive.  One of the reasons that my own disorganization used to confuse and fluster me so much is that I am generally a very intelligent, competent person.  I’m a thinker, an analyzer.  I taught Theatre and literature, and absolutely loved analyzing the deep and symbolic meaning behind a poem or a play.  I even enjoyed doing proofs in geometry class.  Figuring out the whys and the logical steps was fun for me.  So why in the world, when I can think analytically, can’t I seem to notice one dirty towel on the floor until it becomes an entire bathroom covered a foot deep in dirty clothes?  This was mind-boggling and incredibly frustrating. 

Then today, I had another tap-dance inspired moment of realization. 

I pulled out my tap floor after several weeks of making excuses that I was too busy to use it.  I started going through my beloved DVD, and after the first few basic steps, I decided that I would skip that part and move on to the combinations portion.  This was big.  When I first started doing the DVD, I felt like an elephant.  Even though I knew that I used to be able to do the steps, my shuffles just weren’t happening.  But by practicing the basics, the feeling came back to me, and I got them. 

Skipping them today, I did okay.  The combinations section, which a few months ago felt completely awkward, was now simple to me.  And then . . . I moved on.  I went to the section where she teaches an actual dance.  You know, the fun part. 

And the elephant was back.  Really?  I know how to jump, and I know how to shuffle-ball-change, but trying to put them together made me feel like an idiot. 

Sooooo . . . . I stopped the DVD, and hoofed it out.  I jumped and I shuffled and I ball-changed.  Over and over and over and as ungracefully as possible.  I did it slowly and with very little rhythm.  I messed up again and again . . . but I kept going.  And after about 10 minutes, I had it.  Just that one little step, and far from perfect, but for me it was huge.  And the rhythm got a little better and started to sound like maybe, just maybe . . . I was actually tap-dancing

I turned the DVD back on, and tried it with her again.  And this time I got it!  I even went on with the next two steps, which were really easy, and felt like I had learned the first part of the routine.

See, I watch the video, and I get overwhelmed when I feel like I should have grasped that step by the time she finishes teaching it.  She teaches it, she practices it, and then she moves on.  But I’m not ready to move on.  I’m still tripping over myself, and if I do go on, it will be a complete train wreck . . . arms, legs and tap shoes everywhere. 

And this is when it hit me.  This is why Flylady didn’t work for me.  I needed the instruction on what was required to bring my home out of chaos and keep it in order, and she did that.  But I needed to build these skills at my own pace.  You could completely argue that it’s possible to do Flylady’s system at your own pace.  It definitely is possible.  But all of the emails, the sheer information overload was too much for me.  It overwhelmed me and made me feel like a failure, so I started ignoring the emails.  I set up a folder that they automatically went into (thinking I’d get to them eventually), and when I finally unsubscribed, I had over 6,000 unread emails in that folder. 

Again, let me say that Flylady is great.  She is big on saying that progress is more important than perfection.  She encourages you to just do things, and let go of your perfectionist tendencies.  But at the point when I became overwhelmed and stopped reading her emails, each one that came in (each 20-30 per day, really) made me feel like the class was moving on without me and I was falling behind.

This is why my own process, done at my own pace, is working better for me.  I’m taking it slowly, and although sometimes I marvel that even though I’ve been steadily decluttering and changing habits for almost 8 months now, I still am not done.  

I need to practice things until I get them right.  Until they no longer feel foreign.  And I need to practice them at my own pace.  That’s why, for now, re-learning tap by a DVD is working better for me.  I don’t have to feel like anyone’s watching me.  (Though, for the record, my 4yo daughter thinks I’m “doing great!”)  I don’t have to move on to the next skill before I master the last one, just because the rest of the class is ready.  I can practice until I get it right, without a teacher getting antsy that it’s taking me so long.  I have faith in myself that I CAN do this.  Some things come easily, and others take lots of practice, but I’ll take as long as I need, because that’s how I learn.  

My Weekly Tasks

It’s Wednesday. I’m rushed for time. Same old story as every Wednesday.

So since I haven’t been home and therefore haven’t made any progress, I thought I’d share my weekly tasks and how they’re working for me, all together in one post.

Here goes:

Monday – Laundry.

Tuesday – Bathrooms.

Wednesday – Out all day, but I do my grocery shopping on Wednesdays, so I consider that a big old necessary task.

Thursday – Mop the kitchen

Friday – Dust and Vacuum.

Saturday and Sunday – Not gonna happen.

So there you go.

If you’re not a slob, and there’s some huge and glaring omission from this list, please don’t tell me. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually and blog about it. For now, I’m pretty pleased with myself.

So, how’s it going with all of these?

I started the weekly tasks about 2 months ago. For the first 6 months or so of the blog, I added a daily non-negotiable task almost every week. Those made a huge difference in our home. They were designed (by me, NOT an organizing expert) to help me build habits that I’ve never had. I did them to help me start to see things that had always escaped my selective slob-vision. Things like piles of shoes, newspapers (multiple weeks’ worth) on the kitchen floor, and bathroom counters covered in . . . . stuff.

The daily tasks made a huge difference, and they’re a great thing to refocus on when I feel things start to spiral. I attempt to do them everyday, but even if I only do 4 or 5 a day, and have one day a week when I do them all, the house mostly stays out of chaos.

I began the weekly tasks after I felt like I had the daily ones somewhat under control. I knew that my house not as much of a disaster, but I also knew that the real and basic cleaning, like the weekly tasks listed above, was still only getting done randomly. And for me “randomly” doesn’t mean as soon as I notice that the tub is getting a bit grimy, it means when I look down in the shower and happen to notice that there’s at least a month’s worth of grime built up under my feet.

The weekly tasks are making a big difference. I’ve been mostly consistent with them, and if I’m truly unable (meaning I have a really good excuse) to do them one week, I know that at least they’ll get done the next week. The only one that this really happens with is mopping. Every other Thursday, I have a morning activity, so I have been mopping every other week. When I compare that to my previous method of mopping every Christmas, I think it’s okay.

But the weekly tasks are a little tiresome. They do get easier the more times I do them, and they are much easier on the weeks when I’ve done my daily tasks consistently.

But . . . .

Honestly, they make me feel like I’m always running, and not getting as many big and showy decluttering projects done as I did last fall. I guess that’s how it’s actually supposed to be. If you are consistently doing the real (and necessary) cleaning every week, and your daily tasks everyday, you avoid the need to spend 4 days a week, every week, doing major decluttering.

And here’s the part I didn’t want to learn. Keeping a clean house is work. Normal people make it look easy, but it’s work. When I walk into someone’s home that always seems perfectly clean, I get jealous that it’s so easy for them. But it probably isn’t. They probably get down on their knees and scrub that corner behind the bathroom door where their hubby’s leg-hair collects. And they probably do it before they jump out of their skin thinking it’s some sort of breathing organism.

Their back hurts too from bending over the dishwasher and they probably don’t like the smell when they clean behind their little boy’s potty.

But they do it, because it’s what needs to be done to have a clean, welcoming, comfortable home.

I am enjoying my more-clean, more-welcoming, more-comfortable-than-it-used-to-be home. And although my eyes have been opened to the amount of work this requires, it is completely worth it.

--Nony

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