On Monday nights, I volunteer for the Glen Eden Youth Center. I’ve been doing it for over 5 years now. Some nights, there’s a stretch of time when I have free time, and I used to crochet. I hadn’t done it in a while. But, the other night, I pulled out my crochet, and my friend there remarked that I was working on the exact same thing I’d been working on about a year ago.
I started thinking about that and it occurred to me that I don’t have any idle time anymore. I used to crochet when I would sit in the pick up line at schools. I’d pick up Scott (elementary school) then Jeb (preschool) then Kaylee (high school). It took about an hour. This year, Kaylee is driving her own car and the boys ride the bus home together. That removed that idle time from me and I honestly never have any more of those moments to pull something out and do something with my hands.
I work on something – either book writing, book promoting, book marketing, blogging, email, home, laundry, food — there is ALWAYS something to do. I write books when the kids are at school. When they come home, it’s homework time, parenting time, chores time, dinner prep time, dinner time, bath time, bed time, dishes time. After they go to bed, I’ll do social media work or blog work. I get up at 5AM, and it’s more email returning, blogging, social media work until I have to get them up at 6AM and start it over again.
The only time I’m really able to unplug is if Gregg actually removes me from the house. If I’m with him, I intentionally leave my cell phone at home so that I can break away.
So, the whole time I’m doing all of this work and chores and meeting responsibilities, I’m battling this internal laziness that just wants to lie on the couch and watch a good murder mystery and munch some popcorn. I’m probably the only woman on the planet who wasn’t bored during her several weeks worth of mandatory doctors’ orders bed rests of her pregnancies. Heh.
I cook dinner for my church on Wednesday nights. So, around noon Wednesday, I put work away and cook. I do quite a bit of prep work at home, then load up the car and take it to the church. After everyone eats, I clean up there, do dishes, clean that kitchen, then come home. And, I typically have a car full of stuff to unload and put away.
This past week, I came home from a week-long business related travel on Tuesday afternoon. When I woke up Wednesday morning, I started the day off tired. By Wednesday afternoon, I was rushing. I’d spent too long catching up on correspondence and not started early enough. So, I got done with the prep and the loading of the car and only had 10 minutes before the boys got off the bus — and I had to get to the church.
I looked at my destroyed and messy kitchen and thought, “Leave it. Do it when you get home. Who cares? You’re tired and it’s been a crazy day.” Then I remembered how exhausted I would be when I got home and just immediately started cleaning. It seriously only took me 10 minutes to get it all done. (If you start off with an empty dishwasher, kitchen cleanup is much quicker.)
We got home after church and it was pretty cold outside. I knew it was cold enough to leave the food in the car. I sat in the driveway considering it, and decided to unload. So, Gregg and I unloaded and I took it into the kitchen and took the 10 or 15 minutes to put everything away, put away the bags and shut out the light.
When I got up Thursday morning, I walked into a clean and ordered kitchen. My immediate thought was how glad I was that I’d not given in to this lazy compulsion of mine to “leave it for later”. It took me 10 minutes, and the result was a stress-free morning of making breakfast and packing lunches for my family – because I wasn’t battling the chaos from the day before.
And, I was still tired. Travel wears me out. Being away from my family wears me out. So, being tired on top of having chores left over from the day before would really wear me out.
My point is: Just do it. Get it done. Don’t leave it for another day. Don’t give in to the compulsion that it doesn’t matter. It DOES matter. Order and cleanliness matter to your mental health. I know life is crazy and there are a million things going on. Trust me. I know. I also know that if you function in order, you function more efficiently.
So, when you think “leave it for tomorrow”, don’t give in to that. Stay on top of what has to be done. Tomorrow, you’ll be so glad you did.