The second thing I've been doing during this particular Crazy Zone is follow-through, both on work projects but also and especially household chores. Rather than leave laundry in the dryer for days or piling dirty dishes in the sink because I can't be bothered to empty the dishwasher, I start and finish the task at hand.
This reduces my stress in many ways:
- I don't have a million little tasks using up brain space.
- My environment is visually calm.
- I show my love for my husband, who is stressed by a dirty and messy house.
- It gives me perspective on how busy I think I am.
- It encourages mindfulness.
Of course follow-through is not always possible. My handy dandy schedule lets me know when I can take a few minutes to finish the job and when time is simply too tight.
Another technique I use when I don't have time to finish a task is splitting it up into smaller steps: I start and finish one guilt-free, knowing the next bit comes later.
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I recently did this when taking on a big task which was important to my heart but had nothing to do with work. My next-door neighbor, who is 92, was fretting because her side garden hadn't received topsoil in over 15 years and was generally looking a little shaggy. She cannot see this side garden from her home unless she opens a window and looks down, but I have a lovely view of it from my dining room. So of course I offered to take on the job - even though I knew time was tight.
Over the course of a few weeks, I pruned the plants, turned the soil, ordered compost delivery, spread the compost, turned the soil again, and took two trips to the hardware store to buy supplies so I could install soaker hoses.
Doing this project made me feel honored; I got to help my sweet elderly neighbor, and work a garden that's been on this planet twice as long as I have. It kept my perspective on the important things in life. It was fun, and gave me a much-needed break from deadlines.
* * *
There is so much we can't control in life, but a little bit of follow-through shows us how much power we do have in creating a life that we love.