Laundry in chaos!
Drudgery Mountain, approaching Everest proportions! Never conquered. You climb, and the mountain just increases in altitude!
You get home from work, or finish the morning homeschooling (or whatever), and realize the need of that dark shirt buried in the bin. But clothes occupy the washer. Wet clothes. So they must go in the dryer, but the dryer’s full of laundry you didn’t get to folding…
You’re in a hurry. (As usual. Isn’t life just one demand pushing another aside continually, like children jostling for attention?) So you gather out the dry and dump it… where? Living room sofa! Throw wets into dryer, darks into wash! Get both machines going! Now, we have to run that errand…
Maybe while you’re on the errand, eldest son comes in, “needs” his bin-buried jeans. Guess what he does?…
By the time you return home, what you dumped on the sofa trails onto the floor, pushed aside by what you stuffed in the dryer, and your dark load lies tangled damp atop the dryer. Dear son’s jeans et al are tossing serenely within it, but everything else is wrinkled! And overwhelming.
This scene (or its like) replays repeatedly across America. Laundry seems to loom over life, dominate minds, interrupt the beautiful, the worshipful, the sweet and pleasant, with its incessant nagging demand for attention.
I once inhabited this drama (to a greater or lesser extent—and I’m not telling which), my mind dominated by, or interrupted by… the great, earthshakingly important issue of…
A Homeschool conference. A class, “Time Management for Women.”
Words from instructor Pat Berg, which I never-after forgot: “Turn your crises into routines.”
Words of supreme wisdom! (I thank my God on every remembrance of her!)
This changed my life.
Because I started doing it. One crisis at a time.
Or, one area in which I longed for improvement, for greater beauty and benefit. (Like now, my spiritual life, my closeness to God.)
How did this work?
Key word = Routine
Key ingredients of Routine:
1) A set time. Scheduled. Same time each day, ideally. My best time = as early as possible.
(For laundry, this meant right after waking, making bed, and dressing.)
(My present priority, time alone with God, pre-empts laundry in that sequence.)
2) Reasonable time allotted (scheduled!) for the doing. Neither too little nor way too much.
Time the task or endeavor. You might be shocked.
A big wash load, start to finish, including all folded or hung and put away, takes but fifteen minutes‘ hands-on. Really. Try it! Don’t dawdle, but don’t kill yourself either!
3) Do. One. Thing. (Emphasize each word separately, last to first) —
Thing: What precisely will I complete in this time slot?
One: Keep the task small. And don’t try simultaneous accomplishments!
Drop all multi-tasking illusions. Latest research shows it lengthens task time, lessens work quality, even temporarily lowers worker IQ! (Google this stuff if you don’t believe me.)
(So don’t try reviewing darling daughter’s spelling or watch TV as you fold laundry. Focus on task instead. Enjoy fresh smells, neat folds and smoothness — and the victory of everything cleared away in so few minutes.
Do: Do, do, do it. Barring fire, blood, or criminal invasion, complete the task started.
4) Regular repetition. Repeat over 21 to 28 consecutive weekdays, and, experts say, you’ll get a routine going. Continue the routine through the next month, and you’ll move well into HABIT!
I’m applying this whole approach to closer intimacy with God. Regular times, regular place(s), if possible. (How much time do I need to settle and focus? What can I use for a focus point — a verse of scripture, perhaps? What exactly will I do in this time slot? Read three Bible chapters? Or meditate on one, fully and unhurriedly? Or, review my memorization? Or pray — what kind of prayers? Or just stop and call on Him to make me aware of His presence in my crazy day? Etc. You get the idea.)
I have tons to do in this area. But I’m not trying tons at once. Just one thing at a time. Like with laundry.
[A note about interrupting children: Get them on your team, and use the opportunity for them to learn with you. Let them watch you fold, smell the freshness, feel warm smoothness, man the timer as you “race.” You never know, they might get enamored of doing laundry, folding smoothly, “racing the timer” themselves. Maybe you’ll even work yourself out of a job if you make it appealing enough. My Mom did this with ironing, with her little girl (me). Have fun with this. And God bless it!]