Just Don’t…

Sometimes the secret to getting caught up on housework is not a “to-do” list, but a “don’t” list.

Don’t do those things that get done whether we have the energy or not. For me, laundry gets washed and dried, and the dishwasher gets unloaded and loaded whether I have the energy or not. Maybe for you, that’s something else.

So tonight when I had a burst of energy, I deliberately (and with great distress) told myself, “Don’t unload the dishes. Don’t look at the dishes in the sink. That will get done in the morning because it always gets done.” Should the dishes be washed every night? Yes, they should! But every night they end up in the dishwasher, and every night it’s the only thing that gets done. And on the occasion when I don’t get all the dishes done the night before, it gets caught up in the morning, no matter how big the pile of dishes is.

I also had to tell myself, “Don’t put away the clean laundry. Don’t sort the dirty laundry. That will get done in the morning because it always gets done!” Same as the dishes.

But there are other don’ts, too. Dishes and laundry are necessary, but I am by no means behind on them. The following don’ts are not necessities, but diversions:

Don’t pick up the cell phone or iPad
Don’t turn on the TV
Don’t pick up a book
Don’t write a to-do list
Don’t sit down
Don’t blog about housekeeping in lieu of actual housekeeping. (In my defense, I’m cuddling with a fussy baby, which prevents much work, anyway… and I gathered all the household garbage, first.)

By not spending extra energy on the no-energy tasks or unproductive diversions, I am forced to channel this caffeine-induced energy into some backlogged work, like the clutter that has been sitting there so long it blends in with the paint. No, not literally, but it might as well.

Baby’s almost asleep, so I can set her down, turn off the TV, put the computer away, and get working on my to-do list.

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