Melissa Schmalenberger, Published December 09 2012
Ms. Simplicity: Are we ever done, and does it matter?
I know she is not alone in her feelings. I feel this every time I decide to take a few days off from work and focus on a project around the house. I haven’t scrapbooked in over two years, yet I am still taking pictures. I gave up about two years ago thinking that they will ever make it into albums. Right now I am OK with Facebook being my scrapbook. At least the pictures are in chronological order.
But this is the thing, time is not holding still for any of us, so what can we do?
• Cut yourself some slack. As long as you are enjoying life with your friends and family, what more is there to life? Getting things done can wait, and you need to not beat yourself up about it.
• Sometimes we need to call uncle and just give up. If you feel pressure to scrapbook and you don’t enjoy it, stop doing it. If you feel like your house always needs to be perfectly clean, please know that it doesn’t.
• Know when to ask for help. If you need to organize the garage, ask for reinforcements. As the saying goes with many hands make light work unless of course they drive you crazy, then send them out to run errands}.
• Give up on being perfect. Nobody knows it isn’t perfect except you. Stop striving for it because you are going to drive yourself and your family crazy. Cleaning the grout on your tile with steel wool before your party, may be a tad bit extreme. Sometimes just making sure the dust bunnies are not bigger than the guests is good enough.
• Find something that you can get done and pat yourself on the back. For me, that is having all of the laundry done before 3 p.m. With my kids being in school and gone for a large portion of the day, I can usually have all of the laundry done for a few hours … and that feels great. Maybe it is having the mail sorted once a week or reading a magazine within a week of it coming into the house. Find something, and feel good about it.
• Figure out where the pressure of being “done” is coming from. Is it from you or a family member or even a well-meaning friend. If it is your boss and you have to get a project done in order for the rest of the company to move forward, that is a big thing and you probably need to get it done. But maybe you think it is from your mother-in-law and it really isn’t. Or maybe it is from your mother-in-law and you simply need to stop feeling guilty if she is being unreasonable.
• Does it bother other people? If you are the only one that seems to be bothered by certain things not getting done, then just go up to steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 and repeat until you feel better.
Remember, life is short and we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. We need to let the little things go and focus on the big things like our friends and family. If we have good relationships with them, in the end, that is all that matters. But if we are too “busy” making sure everything is perfect, what are we missing out on? I would rather sit in your dusty house and have a cup of tea than you be too busy trying to get everything done. Because for some of us … done is not going to be a reality.
Melissa Schmalenberger is a professional organizer. She blogs at mssimplicity.areavoices.com.