Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Slice of Life: When Life Gives You Weeds, Grab a Wheelbarrow

This evening I grabbed my wheelbarrow and headed to the flowerbeds.  To say I had been putting off weeding my flowerbeds would likely be a bit of an understatement.  The mosquitoes had made it nearly impossible to spend too long outside without layers of clothing.  The thistles, grasses, and other unwelcome offenders had started to take over everywhere I looked.  I had to stop avoiding the inevitable.  With that in mind, I put on some long pants, grabbed my gloves, and headed to get the wheelbarrow.

Where to start?  That was the question.  Should I start in the front where most people actually see our beds or go to the back so my view from the patio was pleasing?  The task ahead seemed overwhelming.  I really just wanted to go inside, grab a class of lemon water, and sit on my couch.   That's when I remembered advice from one of the secretaries I had the pleasure of working with years ago:  "Just start with a wheelbarrow.  Fill it one time each day."  I started that day filling one wheelbarrow, emptying it, and decided I could handle a second trip.  The next day, I grabbed the wheelbarrow again and slowly I completed the job.

As I worked I was reminded that I should consider this type of thinking more in my life.  When I have a task that just seems too overwhelming I retreat.  I don't know where to start -- so I don't start at all.  Whether it is a blogpost, a letter to a friend, organizing family photos, researching our family line, that stack of professional reading, a longer writing project, the clothes pile on my dresser, the mail tower on the counter, or my basement, I just choose to ignore it.  Maybe instead of ignoring these hard tasks I should just bring a wheelbarrow --- figuratively of course.  (Well, literally to the basement.)

If I would just figure out the way to manage the task by taking small steps, I'd get more done.  Thirty minutes of writing would be a start.  Ten minutes each day with a mail pile would surely zap it.  Tackling one section of that overwhelming writing project each morning would get it under control.  Taking fifteen minutes to put clothes away and straighten up our room would keep it looking great.  Yes, that one wheelbarrow full of weeds every once in awhile would help me get started removing the weeds of my life so I could enjoy the flowers.


Today I am joining the Slice of Life Challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by today's link up and join the conversation.  



17 comments:

  1. I think you just helped me begin my post, Cathy. I've been messing about with it in my head all morning. Perhaps if I brought out the wheelbarrow and collected a few words, it will help! Thanks for the advice. Happy you passed it on!

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  2. Oh, I love this post. What a good analogy. Just start with one wheelbarrow a day - it applies to all aspects of life but especially the ones that I keep procrastinating about.

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  3. Wise secretary, but wiser you to remember her advice. Just a bit at a time gets the job done. Now I need to use that advice to tackle the pile of books I acquired at ILA.

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  4. Cathy, I loved the analogy and have plenty of places (including a weed-strewn garden!) that could benefit from my following your advice. This time of year it's easy to fall into paralysis when faced with so many things to do. Thanks for the reminder to take it one wheelbarrow at a time--now I just need to decide where to focus that wheelbarrow!!

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  5. Cathy, I loved the analogy and have plenty of places (including a weed-strewn garden!) that could benefit from my following your advice. This time of year it's easy to fall into paralysis when faced with so many things to do. Thanks for the reminder to take it one wheelbarrow at a time--now I just need to decide where to focus that wheelbarrow!!

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  6. Oh, Cathy, I love the metaphor: fill one wheelbarrow. Sometimes when I write I am scared to start. It's the old, mean censor shutting down my creative process. My Dad always says think of it like a pizza. You can't eat an entire large pizza in one bite, go one slice at a time. It's a lot like the wheelbarrow--bite by bite, step by step, load by load, the work gets done. Love that you tackled the weeds. We need to do that too.

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  7. Thanks for the inspiration! I have tackled similar feelings, most recently about integrating new teaching strategies into my plans this year. Turning ideas into practice is always a challenge, but like weeding, one that pays off with regular attention.

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  8. This post made me smile! I need a wheelbarrow for the mess in my car, the unkempt storage room, the to do list that keeps growing longer each day...one wheelbarrow at a time-wonderful advice!

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  9. If you're still in the mood, I've got plenty of weeds over here for you to pull! Couldn't get in my room today to work so stayed home and got a TON of home stuff done! The one thing not checked off on my list? Weeding! Too funny! I need to get back to slicing as well...ah, too much to do & not enough hours! Love your analogy and your wise secretary. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. If you're still in the mood, I've got plenty of weeds over here for you to pull! Couldn't get in my room today to work so stayed home and got a TON of home stuff done! The one thing not checked off on my list? Weeding! Too funny! I need to get back to slicing as well...ah, too much to do & not enough hours! Love your analogy and your wise secretary. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. If you're still in the mood, I've got plenty of weeds over here for you to pull! Couldn't get in my room today to work so stayed home and got a TON of home stuff done! The one thing not checked off on my list? Weeding! Too funny! I need to get back to slicing as well...ah, too much to do & not enough hours! Love your analogy and your wise secretary. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. What great advice! This reminds me of a book I'm reading, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. The chapter I'm reading talks about creating small targets rather than attempting to take on a huge task. For example, instead of thinking about cleaning your entire kitchen, decide on 5 minutes of cleaning and set a timer. Five minutes doesn't seem as hard and once you get started your more likely to keep going. It's much easier to continue with something than it is to start it in the first place.

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  13. What great advice! This reminds me of a book I'm reading, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. The chapter I'm reading talks about creating small targets rather than attempting to take on a huge task. For example, instead of thinking about cleaning your entire kitchen, decide on 5 minutes of cleaning and set a timer. Five minutes doesn't seem as hard and once you get started your more likely to keep going. It's much easier to continue with something than it is to start it in the first place.

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  14. I love this analogy! It really speaks to me and is a great reminder to just get started!

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  15. Some really big truth here. I'm in charge of the bookroom at my school, which needs a total reorganization, doesn't have enough shelves, etc., and I'm dreading it. Maybe if I just set a timer and went for 15 minutes a day! And then there's my bedroom, and the extension on my taxes and…

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  16. What a great post! Love the wheelbarrow advice and the connection you made to other areas in life! Very helpful to me right now!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad. Right now, we are dealing with weeds the easiest way --- cold. ;o)

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