Do you ever feel like you have so much to do, you don't even know where to start? It can be overwhelming. We all know that large tasks become infinitely more manageable when they're broken down into intermediate steps, but what happens when you can't even get your mind around organizing the task into smaller steps? How do you prioritize?
How do you decide what to do first, and then how do you keep yourself from feeling guilty about not doing all of the things you didn't decide to do first? How do you keep yourself focused on that first step so you are able to actually complete it, rather than being pulled away to start another job until you end up with 20 bazillion started, but unfinished, tasks?
Recently I read Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise, by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, because it was mentioned in another book that I'm reading. "Sidetracked" is a perfect description of what happens when I'm doing household chores.
Why, just yesterday, I was picking stuff up in my bedroom, and there was something that needed to be put away in the bathroom, and when I was in the bathroom I found something that needed to go to the kitchen, and when I was in the kitchen I discovered that we needed more paper towels, so I went to the storage closet and then I wandered aimlessly around until I found myself in the laundry room, and when I was in the laundry room I decided I might as well take the laundry out of the dryer and dump it on my bed and oops! What was I doing? Oh, right, tidying up my bedroom. Did you notice that my story didn't even involve any children? Yikes. Add two or three rug rats into the picture and it gets exponentially more complicated. Sidetracked.
Anyway, Sidetracked Home Executives is a really quick read, and those ladies have created a phenomenal system for staying on top of everything home (and life) related...but it's not for me. I've tried a modified version of their system in the past, and it's never been life-changing for me the way it's apparently been for the authors and thousands of others.
But there is one thing I learned from those ladies that I will be putting into practice. How do you decide where to start? How do you decide what's most important--the highest priority? Don't. Just pick an arbitrary point (for them it's the front door), and work your way clockwise around the house, dealing with each area as you come to it, until you've worked your way all the way back to the front door.
So simple, why didn't I think of that? It's not rocket science, nor is it a matter of life or death (well, not in most cases, anyway), so just pick a place to start, and work methodically until it's finished. The consequences of choosing the wrong place to start? Um, well, I can't really think of any, and at least it's a start.
It is so liberating to know that I will get to it eventually. I will get to all of it eventually. It doesn't have to all be done today. No more time wasted trying to figure out the most important thing. No more feeling guilty about all of the things I didn't choose.
And to know exactly where I need to pick up in the circuit the next time I find myself with a few spare minutes? Priceless.