Saturday, August 14, 2010

Do Five Things

I've been fighting a bit of lack of productivity lately, so I've come up with a system to bribe myself. It's called, Do Five Things. So during my morning if I feel I need a break and I want to read, I stop myself and count how many things I've actually gotten done. If the number isn't 5 or higher, then I can't read. Ditto afternoon naps.

I'm also strict about what counts as a "thing". Working out does count. Showering does not. Loading or unloading the dishwasher counts. Making meals doesn't. Putting in a load of laundry counts. Diaper changes don't.

I've just boiled it down to if-I-decided-to-spend-the-entire-day-in-bed scenario, what would I still do? I would still shower, I would make meals and keep the baby's bum clean. So none of those things count.

The bad thing is, that even when I'm getting 8, 9, 10 things done in a day, I tend to be haunted by what I didn't get done. Instead of thinking, "Oh good, I went to the bank, picked up the dress, loaded the dishwasher, cleaned up Nate and Annika's room and bought wedding presents," I tend to think, "Drat! I didn't pay that bill, mop the floor, fold the laundry, sort that project or email that person."

Positive self-talk. That's my struggle right now. It's as if someone has pulled out one of those carnival mirrors that distort everything and that's how I see my whole life. As a series of failures. Everything I'm not doing. There is almost not an area of my life where I don't feel like I'm failing.

So I stay after it. And I'll do five things. Today I'm going to deliver a belated wedding present, sort my stamps (a child of mine removed a single stamp from some 6-7 stamp sets and now I have to figure out which stamp goes to which set, sigh), pay the credit card bill, change sheets and do dishes. After a reading brake, I'll probably try to mop the floor and fold laundry. Wish me luck.


Unknown said...

I like this '5 things' idea. I often find myself making my kids more accountable to their chores then I make myself. Like right now, for example, I won't let my kids watch TV until they finish their chores but I'm sitting here checking blogs when I haven't finished mine yet.

zippy said...

Oooo...I LOVE this idea! Thank you so very much for sharing it. I think I just might implement it in my own life!

D-dawg said...

I like this idea ... a lot.

Jenna- I'm sorry you're having such a hard summer/life right now. I liked your comment on my blog. It is true. And I always think to myself "this too shall pass" although some things don't and we have learn to be happy even with a "lifelong" trial. ANyway, hope you're doing ok.

zippy said...

Just wanted to check-in and let you know that this approach has been working well for me! Not only does it help keep my motivation up for getting things done, but at the end of the day I feel like I've actually accomplished something because I look back at the day in specific vs. general terms. For example, before this approach I would look back at my "To DO" list and "running errands" would count as ONE thing done rather than: 1. Depost checks 2. Drop off cash at J's house for the peach order 3. Pick up M's new glasses, etc. Thanks again for the new vision!