In March, in my Just Saying’blog, I talked about doing things the simple way rather than making them overcomplicated. Alongside that, I feel I should also mention the benefits of doing things in small pieces rather than going all-in and struggling to complete something. Cleaning a shelf a day for a week gets the pantry clean. Filing for five minutes a day for a week tidies away a lot of paper. Pulling weeds for ten minutes a day keeps the garden in order. It’s certainly a lot easier to find five or ten minutes a day than an hour or so later in the week.
I got thinking about this because of my husband. Traditionally, he’s been a last-minute kind of guy. Even the way used to speak about getting things done indicated a “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow” sort of attitude. Our daughter, when younger, worked out his code. If he said, “In a minute” he actually meant “some time today but certainly not in the next couple of hours.” If he said, “Soon” that indicated he would tackle the task over the next couple of days. If he mentioned the word “Later” my daughter knew not to wait as this translated to “some time never.”
However, things have changed. He can now quite regularly be found tackling house maintenance and cleaning the cars with a fervour unheralded in days gone by. I commented that he had turned into my father who had the same enthusiasm for getting jobs around the house done. My husband replied that he’d discovered it was much easier to conduct regular maintenance than it was to leave things forever and have the job be twice as big as it should have been.
I’d learned this lesson years ago. As a kid I would sporadically have days where I cleaned my bedroom, trying to sort out the entire mess in one day. Inevitably I would get to the end of the day, have lost enthusiasm and barely be able to find my bed at night for the piles of my possessions littering every square inch of the room. Two extended bouts of chronic fatigue also taught me that it’s not impossible to get things done – I just had to do them in small pieces as energy allowed.
I take the same attitude to story planning. Right now, hubby and I are in the planning phase of a writing project that’s been years in the making. We are making incredibly slow progress – don’t rush out and want to pre-order! – but we are making progress. It’s the Neil Armstrong philosophy of life – one small step for man – or in this case, one small step for whatever project you want to tackle.
Coming soon. . .