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  • Writer's pictureLaura Holian

Chipping at it a little at a time

Sometimes it takes exhausting one’s body to slow us down and re-evaluate our process. I recently went on a long walk, which I thought I was perfectly capable of doing, until by the end of the day, my feet were killing me. I’m fine or I will be with a little R&R. As a result I am on my couch giving my lower extremities much deserved rest.

My office became the home of all things random as a result of my minimizing attempts. It became the place where I stored items I wasn’t ready to deal with while other more pending objects took priority. Unfortunately, that made me want to spend less time in my overly cluttered work space, thus impacting my writing and blogging.

Each week I create a list of goals. Though not all get done, in the past some or most of them did. But my most recent attempts at fulfilling my objectives have fallen short. After seeing the pattern for a few weeks I decided to take a different approach.

Mondays. Manic and moody. The day every person, working at a less than fully scintillating job, dreads. Being a night owl, even I shy away from the weekday five-thirty a.m. alarm needed to get the kids off and ready for school. On this particular week though, I chose to use Monday as my day to set the standard for the week. A day to say, “I will not be bested by the urge to dwindle hours with distractions not on my to-do list."

Where to begin? My office? The next room we chose to minimize? Blogging? Cooking, cleaning etc? This is where the heart racing overwhelming feeling emerges and derails me.

February 2nd was the minimizing challenge deadline. After unpacking a box of one hundred CD’s and donating them, I foolishly considered myself ahead of the game, only to lose track of the calendar days and fall really behind. Then the room we were clearing out had very few of my belongings to contend with, unless I got rid of photographs. Those are a beast of an endeavor I am not emotionally ready to face at the moment. The next area we were tackling was my son’s. Can I count all the clothes he has outgrown as part of my Less Is Now tabulation? Hmm, that’s a gray area. I felt more and more behind.

The stack on my desk, though, does relate to my weekly goal list and they are of large volume, meaning my work space will feel more breathable once I tend to the items on it’s surface. Add to it, that I get to count them as part of my minimizer challenge. Double win.

It worked. Monday’s motivation made me feel like I was well on my way to accomplishing my tasks. Then Wednesday came with a creeper of laziness which began to claw at my toes. I could sense it trying to yank me off track. Thursday arrived and I went for a rejuvenating walk. Beautiful clear skies, waves crashing on the sandy shore. Gorgeous. I am so thankful of where we are living and being able to enjoy this natural beauty.

Near the end of my stroll, a hint of pain began to tweak at my ankle. It wasn’t even lunch time and I still had a busy day ahead of me. My walk was one of four exercises that day. My enthusiasm had gotten the better of me and now I was going to pay the price. By the end of the day both of my legs were worn out and sore.

Now it’s Friday and though the creeper tempts me with movie watching as a guise to rest my body, I realize I can continue to go through the items on my desk, knock things off my to do list and by sitting on my office chair, it stills give my legs a chance to recover.

One of the items I am working on is a huge stack of mailers. On Monday I had four stacks, now it is down to two and my goal is to get them all cleared off my desk and either mailed or in the car ready to be mailed tomorrow, in the event the post office closes before I finish.

Working my the way down the stack reminded me of the movie Shawshank redemption and how Tim Robbins chipped away at the prison wall with a tiny rock hammer and eventually dug out an opening large enough for him to fit through. For a few weeks now I have been disappointed in my lack of goal accomplishments. But the movie inspired an invaluable secret truth: Chipping away at it a little at a time.

Whether it is a list of goals. A minimizer challenge. Getting fit enough to run a race. Just start wherever you are at. Do one little thing and then keep doing that one little thing and eventually it becomes something bigger and better. An accomplishment.

Did I miss the deadline for the minimizer challenge? Yes. Does it matter? Not really. Because the purpose behind goal setting is it points you in the direction of where you want to be. The timeline is negligible. Sure, it would be great if everything happened exactly as we planned. But that’s not always realistic. Life tosses things our way and whether it’s a fun, wonderful, spontaneous activity or something disappointing that has to get dealt with immediately. It’s okay. It’s our life to live as it happens. Likewise, when we are done with whatever takes precedence we can go back and resume where were in our goal process.

I’m still continuing with the minimizer challenge, while simultaneously attempting to complete the objectives on my to-do list. I’ve minimized two hundred eighty objects out of a goal of four hundred sixty-five. Sixty percent complete to date. Chipping away at it a little at a time, one of these days all the items will be crossed off. Yay! Of course, knowing me, I will start something else I find amusing. That is the point to all this. Fulfill our duties while interjecting as much fun as possible while doing it.

My new routine might now include starting Mondays with an enthusiastic bang, pushing through the creeper of Wednesdays and finishing off the week’s accomplishments by Friday to enjoy the weekends. Maybe your week is on a less traditional schedule. What ever it is, I hope you find your accomplishment days, mix in a few fun days and discover your own perfect balance of what you want you life to be. What ever joys we seek, a little at a time, if we keep at it, we will get there.

#minimalism #decluttering #LessIsNow #MomLife #HavingEnough #settinggoals #achievinggoals #writerslife #determination #writingcommunity #joy #happiness


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