Routines to the Rescue

The last few months have seen me on such a vegetative state as I haven’t been in years. The sameness of every week at home, raising a toddler as well as some personal challenges have led me to nurse myself by watching TV. I am allowing myself to relax because stressing out about productivity will actually frustrate me more. However, life goes on and I need to pick myself up. I have to say that staying on top of the most important tasks hasn’t been too hard thanks to simple routines at home.

Last weekend I was so tired that I didn’t want to unload the dishwasher, which usually takes less than 5 minutes. I remembered that regardless of how I felt, it was a super quick task that will allow our kitchen to stay clean because we can load the dishwasher once it is empty. It was also one less thing I would ask my husband, who would come home tired from work, to do for me. I got up, put the dishes away, and cleared a few dirty ones from the sink.

Laundry seems to multiply exponentially these days. I have two hampers: one for darks and one for lights. My loads are basically divided and I just have to dump the whole thing (or half if it’s very full) into the washing machine. Honestly the hardest part is not taking it to the machine, but folding it and putting it away. A couple days may pass and the hamper full of clean clothes stands in the middle of the room. So to get things going, I start picking the ones that need to be hung, as the low hanging fruit. Sometime later I dump the whole thing on the bed to force ourselves to fold it.

My to-do list has been simple since I don’t really have the mental energy to do much. The little stragglers that always lurk around still need to be taken care of. I write down what I want to accomplish and break it up between days, then start tackling them with the mindset that “this will only be a few minutes.” If it might be more, I only devote a set amount of time in an effort to get something done while not exerting myself.

As I reflected while writing this post, I realized that what has helped me keep my life in order is not that the tasks on hand might be simple (which is not always true). What helps me get up from the couch is knowing the amount of time something will take me. The dishwasher will be five minutes. Hanging clothes one minute and folding a hamper around five as well. Making a call can take five minutes and putting something where it belongs, about a minute. Instead of focusing on the physical effort, I keep in mind that it will only take a very small of time in order for me to get my result. A clean kitchen, my toddler’s pajamas folded and her doctor’s appointment set allows me to breathe easier in a time where the world around me is so heavy. A small investment makes me feel better, which in turn helps improve my mental state.

If there is something that you have to deal with, break it up into small sections, and just focus on the next one only. Take care of yourself so you can get better, but don’t add to more discomfort by not taking care of your surroundings. Find the priorities and remember that small steps will help you enjoy large benefits.

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