Monday, October 15, 2012

Motivational Monday #68 - What Am I Doing Again?

Do you ever have that crazy feeling like you have forgotten what you are doing?  It is the sensation you get when half way through a task you realize you have no idea what the original purpose of the task was. 

Sometimes I get this feeling when doing the laundry or washing dishes, I mean really, what is the purpose of those nasty tasks?  I also get this feeling when I am knee deep in a closet clean out project and years of belongings that once nicely fit (read: stuffed) into my closet are now all over the room.  It is at the moment I find the once useful, but now broken/corroded/dated/ugly "wonder appliance" that I realize I have a few urgent questions:
  1. What is this thing?
  2. Why did I buy it?
  3. Why did I keep it?
  4. What do I do with it now? and most importantly...
  5. Why in the world did I drag it out of my closet?
Yep, about then I have no idea what I was doing.

I think many of us feel this way about preparation.  We start out with a fabulous "pie in the sky" type of plan.  We say to ourselves, "Self, it is time to get prepared," but we don't give ourselves any specific goals.  It is kind of like saying, "I am going to organize my closet."  What does that actually mean?  Does it mean I am going to get rid of things that don't fit, or does it mean I am going to arrange all of the things I hate into nice even groups?

When organizing ourselves, it is important to have clear goals.  Your goals should be simple and have only a few steps.  Here are a few examples of organizational goals.
  1. Today I will gather all of the extra blankets and put them on the empty shelf in the guest closet to make sure we have enough blankets when guests visit.
  2. This month I will put the paid bills in the top drawer of my desk so that I can start a budget next month.
  3. This week I will buy twice the normal amount of dry goods so that I can increase my food storage.
  4. Today I will call the doctor and ask for a copy of my medical chart to include in my personal medical record.
  5. This week I will make sure to recycle all "junk mail" before I put it on the counter to reduce clutter.
Do you see how simple and well defined each goal is?  Each statement gives a time the goal will happen, and lets you know the intended outcome.

In contrast, here are some of the goals I think most of us make.
  1. Clean out the garage.
  2. Clean the closet.
  3. Get organized.
  4. Go back to school.
  5. Spend more time on myself.
  6. Cook healthier meals.
  7. Spend more time with family.
Do you see the difference?  The statements on the second list have no time frame, and no goal. They are abstract ideas, and you will quickly find yourself lost in the middle, asking yourself, "What am I doing again?"

My humble suggestion is that you break things down.  I tend to get lost in the task of dishes.  I can't tell you the number of times I will just walk away from a fairly dirty kitchen because I am overwhelmed and feel like I will never get the task done.  I found that if I tell myself I will go in and just unload the dishwasher, so that I can have a place to put dirty dishes later, I will get that done fairly quickly.  Then when later happens I realize I can put the dirties straight into the washer without stacking them on the counter.  Wow!  What a difference!

Once I identified a realistic goal, and the outcome I intended, the task was completed.  You may laugh that I get lost in the dishes, but I'm sure you have a task just like it.  Try breaking it down the way I did and see what happens.

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