Monday, March 28, 2016

Day 28 SOL 16: Getting Started

A little over a week ago the rains came down for hours and hours.  The water swelled in the backyard forming a temporary pond to fool the ducks.  The skies stayed gray and our sump pump worked and worked.  My husband headed downstairs the next morning to put salt in our water softener to find water rising just above the first step of our basement.

Since that day, we've been working through the process of getting the basement back together.  I find the task overwhelming.  Where do we begin?  Do we get a dumpster?  Do we haul out everything?  What can stay?  Thankfully, I handle most of our day to day jobs, but my husband is the king in crisis.  He's ready to dig in and get it done.  He's just waiting on the green light to toss all of the items that rest below our first floor.

To get the ball rolling all I really need to do is walk downstairs and inventory.  What can be saved?  There are so many items of memory downstairs:  photographs, books from when the kids were little, Christmas decorations, furniture that has been passed across generations.  It's impossible for me to walk down the steps without feeling the need to turn around and race back upstairs so I'm telling myself to take thirty minutes.

Thirty minutes seems to be the magic number for me to get things done.  In thirty minutes a lot can be accomplished, yet thirty minutes doesn't sound like much of a commitment.  I can do most anything for thirty minutes.  A procrastinator at heart, I work well under pressure.  However, the true reason for my procrastination I've discovered is that I have a hard time knowing where to start.  I've learned across the years to take overwhelming jobs and break the project into smaller parts to feel it is manageable.  Then the hardest part is getting started.  That's when I tell myself, "Just work on it for thirty minutes."

Thirty minutes seems to be magic.  Truthfully, once I begin a task I find that at the end of thirty minutes I'm either finished (many tasks take much less time than anticipated), close enough to being done that I want to continue, or so interested in what I am doing I can't stop.  Thirty minutes writes a Slice of Life post (right now this one has taken 17 minutes), sorts through the overwhelming mail stack, cleans a room, and weeds at least one flower bed.  By telling myself I'll commit thirty minutes to a task I get a lot more done.  The secret to those challenging tasks, it seems, is simply getting started.






For the month of March I will be participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers.  It will be a busy month of writing, commenting, and learning with this community.  Stop by today's link up to join the conversation or find some great reading.

13 comments:

  1. Ugh! i have been there before in a flooded basement. Lots of things had to be thrown away including my high school yearbook and many books. Great idea to use the clock as a motivator. Good luck!

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  2. I like this idea. I use 15 minute commitments for cleaning the house. I hate cleaning the house! I can get quite a bit accomplished in 15 minutes. I find that for an overwhelming task, if I write a list of the individual pieces or tasks of the big task, then I'll take one thing at a time and cross them off the list once completed. I like the visual of crossing off the list. Good luck to you! I'm sorry you have to go through this though!

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  3. I'm totally stealing and remembering the thirty minute concept. I have used the five minute concept on my daughters to get them to clean their rooms, but I REALLY like the 30 minute concept one to get ME started on jobs I'd rather ignore. Thanks!

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  4. I'm totally stealing and remembering the thirty minute concept. I have used the five minute concept on my daughters to get them to clean their rooms, but I REALLY like the 30 minute concept one to get ME started on jobs I'd rather ignore. Thanks!

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  5. I do the same thing --often I use 60 min - but same concept. It does really work. Funny how we can trick our own brain... I wonder how that works??? Hope the basement is coming together!
    Clare

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  6. Oh dear, what a mess - I've lived through this myself. But 30 minute installments sounds doable.

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  7. Oh dear, what a mess - I've lived through this myself. But 30 minute installments sounds doable.

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  8. Ugh! Sorry to hear about your basement (and memories). Small chunks is the way to get everything done.

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  9. Ugh! Sorry to hear about your basement (and memories). Small chunks is the way to get everything done.

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  10. So sorry about your things in the basement, Cathy. In this especially I can see how hard it would be to start. I like your 30 minute idea,though. Sometimes I just tell myself to "start", & let things happen. I hope that your own "30 minutes" helps you this time.

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  11. What a great idea. I'm sorry you have to deal with this task. As I sit in my basement and look around, I can only imagine the agony I would be in if the same thing happened to me here. Hoping not too much is lost!

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  12. Cathy,
    I'm so,sorry you have to deal with water in the basement. It's a nightmare. I've had it twice (two different houses) and I feel your pain. Not fun at all...I like your 30 minute idea. When we had the water, I just started at one end and worked my way across the basement. Good luck with the recovery process. Thinking of you!

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  13. A great idea! I usually sit my timer for 60 minutes, but 30 minutes might be more fun.. I'll have to try it! Hope the basement clean up is over quickly and you can get on with life..

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