I would like to pass on something that I have fairly recently discovered.
Because I am getting a little long in the tooth as they say… my energy levels aren’t what they used to be. I find this trend disturbing. My responses to it vary and can take the form of simple frustration, or anger and on the bad days can even manifest as depression. I was not happy with this situation at all. None of those emotions are at all helpful.
Now, add to my diminished physical endurance the emotional fragility we are all experiencing due to the general tone of the entire planet right now and you have a pretty toxic brew.
One day when I realized my chores were starting to pile up to an alarming degree and the taller the pile got, the less motivated I was to tackle them, I had a few moments of clarity. I looked at one job with the jaundiced eye of an overtired toddler and saw all the steps between me and the completed task. I pulled myself up short and reminded myself that I am no longer a toddler, I’m a grown up and I needed to figure this shit out. And then it came to me like a gift from God.
When I was younger, I could push through a bit of a slump in energy AND I might be able to crack the whip to get myself out of a funk. But these days, I cannot do BOTH of those things at the same time. What dawned on me was this… There were too many hurdles between me and my goal. So I decided to tackle this problem by getting ready to do the task, but not necessarily committing to doing the whole thing in one day.
So I wanted to dig out the grass from around my little ‘fountain’ area and put in granite sand there instead. Okay, I need the garden cart. Oh no. The garden cart is full of branches I trimmed off the lilac bush. And where’s the shovel? I don’t have the sand. I have to drive up the mountain and get some. Then I have to actually dig the area up. Besides that, I need a new bucket for the water, the old one is rusted out. Ack! You see the problem. So… one evening, I grabbed the cart, took it to the burn pile and dumped it. I found the shovel, and the buckets needed for collecting the sand and put them in the car. The next day I drove up and got the sand. That’s all I did. Then on the third day I did the digging and turned this:
It took three days. But I accomplished it. I had to get rid of one hurdle at a time. Since I learned this trick, I have been using it everywhere. For small things and bigger projects. I’ll get out the vacuum and put it in the living room at night, or set up tools and containers ready to work on some garden harvest chore the day before it needs to be done. There is something so …. freeing… to then just go out and DO the thing without having to face the prep work [no matter how trivial that prep work is I found out.]
This evening, because I want to do a dye pot tomorrow, I set up virtually everything I’m going to need to begin the process. The pot is full of water on the stove, the pan to soak the papers is also full of water, the table is cleared and the towel put down. The papers are sorted in the order I want them and are stacked next to the soaking pan, the alum and the measuring spoons are out on the counter, and the rusty horse shoes are on the stove ready to put in the pot. The rack is on the table with the end papers in place.
Tomorrow morning, all I have to do is turn on the stove, soak papers and go gather plants in the yard and garden. I’ll have that dye pot simmering before breakfast if I play my cards right. I eliminated the hurdles to beginning the fun part of the job which is the stacking of plants between layers of paper. Just like the fun part of the fountain project was digging and cleaning up the messy area.
Anyway, that’s the tip I wanted to pass on for coping with the discouragement of a multi step project. Large or small. It’s like taking down a giant, one inch at a time.
Tomorrow, God willing, there will be dyed papers to share!
Though some jobs remain pretty straightforward. Pick up piece of wood, stack it. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 🙂
Perhaps the trick to this job is cookies and milk afterward!