I walk past my guest bedroom door one too many times, and I finally can no longer stand it. This room becomes my laundry “staging” room during the week, and although I rarely have trouble getting loads of wash through the washing & drying process, somehow the folding & putting away process seems to take infinitely more energy, so the cycle (more often than I would like to admit) comes to a halt on my guest bed, where I drop loads of clean laundry and proceed to procrastinate on folding and putting the clothes away. Finally, I just snap, make a snarling sound under my breath, and drag all the laundry out to the couch where I fold it and then deliver it to its proper home. I breathe a sigh of relief each time I complete the cycle–and then I wonder why I tortured myself for so long before finishing it.
I pull the trash bag out of my small bathroom trash can and hover a new bag over the can, ready to replace it, when I realize that I really need to bleach that can because, well, it no longer smells nice. I take it outside, scrub it with bleach, rinse it thoroughly, and set it in the sun to dry and sanitize. Back inside, I take the opportunity to clean the tight spaces in my bathroom now that the trash can is temporarily removed from its usual spot, and I realize that my slate floors, which never look dirty, are actually rather disgusting. Pretty soon, a scenario of “if you give a mouse a cookie” plays itself out in my bathroom, as I scrub the floor to within an inch of its life, then realize that my baseboards are caked in dust, stand up from the crouch position for scrubbing the baseboards and grimace at the smudged light switch plate… and eventually I’m spraying down the windowsill, cleaning the window track, and basically scrubbing down every single open surface in the bathroom.
Productivity and completed projects breed greater productivity. It’s a simple fact, and I’m sure no one would argue with it. But how easily and often I forget that simple fact! I need to remember the cumulative effect and how completing one project inspires me to tackle the next project–not just with cleaning my house (although I could certainly use the momentum there!), but also in the everyday tasks of my daily life and work. Knocking off that project that’s been sitting on my to-do list for 3 week gives me a rush of motivation to move on to the next thing and cross it off the list as well. Making that phone call that I’ve been dreading all morning gives me a sensation of relief and energy, and then I wonder why I didn’t just do it first thing when I sat down at my desk.
This goes hand in hand with the truism of “eat a frog every day” or my favorite rendition: “Slay your dragons before breakfast so they don’t eat your lunch.” In other words, tackle your most dreaded task first, and then the rest of your day will seem like a breeze by comparison!
How do you keep momentum going in everyday tasks? What tricks have you learned to increase your productivity? Tell me about them in the comments!