How crying over my laundry helped me gain insight into being task-oriented
I was standing in my laundry room overwhelmed by the sheer amount of laundry that I, a single person, had accumulated in a week. Three large baskets overflowing with clean laundry waiting to be folded and piles of dirty laundry scattered on the floor and the hamper overflowing with bed linens and jammies. The rack where I hang clothes to dry had essentially become an extension of my closet. I wanted to turn off the light and walk out of the room.
I gritted my teeth and started at the top of one basket and then moved to another trying in vain to fold all three baskets at once while starting a new load to wash and checking the dryer.
I was frantic. I stopped and said aloud: “One basket at a time, Dani. Just finish one basket at a time.”
I began working on the first basket, focusing my energy on a single goal, and realized I finished it much more quickly than I’d expected. I moved to the next basket and then the last. I organized the piles on the floor and started a new load of wash.
While I was wallowing in my domestic hell, I started to clench my jaw my breathing shallow, my mind wandering, uninvited to the virtual piles of work at my desk. I paused and took a deep breath, bringing myself back to the task at hand and the goal in sight. Then, I had a lightbulb moment. I realized I could apply my “one basket at a time” practice to my work.
Sometimes, work projects feel as overwhelming as my laundry room and I don’t know where to start. I think about what the end result needs to be and work backwards. Once I start breaking down the project into smaller pieces, though, the sheer number of pieces can be just as overwhelming as looking at the project as a whole.
This is where my basket analogy comes in handy for me. One piece at a time. Just one. Once one piece is finished, I can move to the next and repeat. Before I know it, the project is nearly done. “One basket at a time, Dani” I tell myself if I try to go rogue again creating unnecessary stress for myself by trying to put my fingers on several different pieces of the project at once. Whew.
Maybe next, I’ll compare the finishing touches on the project to putting the laundry away.