How on earth do you make changes in your life when you don't even have time to water the plants? Sometimes the tiny steps you need to take to make a difference in your life take far less time than you think. Often, procrastinating or worrying about a change takes far longer than the actual change itself!
Have you timed yourself lately? Some of the chores you hate most may take far less time than you expect. How long does making your bed really take? Pull up the covers: 15 seconds. Fluff the pillow: 5 seconds. Put back the throw pillows: 3 seconds.
Of course, your time may vary, but the point is, really, time yourself! Whether with your phone, an egg timer or however else you choose, time the chores you hate most. You might be surprised.
Once you know how long they actually take (as opposed to how long it feeeeeeeeels like they take) you'll be more willing to at least begin them. And, by just beginning a one or two minute chore, you're already half way done!
You may not like your tasks, we can't promise that, but if you can just get yourself started, you'll be done in no time.
Now that you've gotten the hang of timing yourself, what else can you time? How about your worries? If a problem keeps bothering you and you can't get anything else done because you're worried about it, give yourself five minutes and worry to your heart's content. Moan and groan and do whatever else you need to! Then, when the buzzer goes off, STOP. You're done. You've done your worrying for the day.
Ready to start timing another aspect of your life? How about giving yourself a reward break in the middle of a much hated task? Set the timer to remind yourself to take a break, then take it! Don't avoid it because you're "really not done yet." Then, enjoy your break. And, when the buzzer goes off again, get back to your task. By knowing that you really will get back to your project, it can help relieve the guilt of taking a break.
When you're in a hurry and running out of time, that's the most important time to take a breath and slow down. Taken moment by moment, you have more time in your day then you realize. Time really is on your side!
Doesn't it always seem like you need to hear the latest news, download the newest book or read every email within moments of it being sent? Yes, we need information. But sometimes, older information is actually better. Or, at least wiser.
In the search for all that is new, you may be ignoring one of the biggest resources in your life. Your elders. In a small New England craft store, a woman teaches her customers to knit and crochet, for free. They buy materials, create their projects at home, then lug them back up to her to unscramble when they get confused.
She's been helping out her customers like that for years, even as her business has gone up and down with the influx of Walmart and other chains. Some of her customers who originally left for Walmart when it was new and cheap have now come back to her as even Walmart can't supply what they really need. Expertise.
A younger generation is learning to craft and do handwork now that didn't grow up with mom and pop stores. They are surprised that someone would care if they get a project home and can't complete it by themselves. And, that the same person who sold them the yarn would later actually help them untangle their mess.
Though she may not have the bankroll of Walmart, the craft store owner does have the respect and loyalty of her customers.
The Stuff Whisperer remembers her grandfather being a loyal customer of a mom and pop store in his own neighborhood and reaping similar rewards.
It was during the Depression and my grandfather didn't have a lot. Whenever he went shopping, he always said hi to the produce man. It was a ritual and they became almost like friends. I remember whenever my grandfather went in, he got to sample the freshest fruits hand picked by the one person who knew them best.
It's in small ways like this that we build a community, unknowingly trading a smile and a hello for a fresh watermelon or a knitting lesson.
We don't say hi to someone or ask how they are to get something back later. But, by doing that, we have invested something in them and begun to treat them as an individual. Whether that “hello” bears fruit later on or not, does not really matter. Either way you've done your small part to build a community around yourself.
Share your stories of community with us. We'd love to hear from you!
about Liz Logan
I'm a professional organizer in Atlanta, fighting the good fight on my own home front and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly.
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