It’s the reality of many working moms: work gets busy and life backs up, and it’s almost impossible to catch-up. So you end up with this ongoing backlog of things that need doing. Closets that need to be cleared out, minor repairs that need to be fixed, family photos that need to be printed and sorted into albums. The list goes on and on.
The critical must-do task somehow get done, but the less pressing, oh-well-I-can-live-with-it stuff just keeps getting shoved aside for whatever is immediate and pressing. And so we learn to live with this backlog of to-do’s that continue not getting done. Surely we’ll be able to find enough time in retirement to tackle them all?
That’s why I decided to take a mini sabbatical of sorts and catch-up on all those undone tasks that kept getting lost in the daily grind of work and parenting. The idea was that by establishing better household systems, the chaos of searching for rain jackets or a small duffle to take to school would be eliminated (or at very least, greatly reduced).
Everything would FINALLY have a place.
Even better is all the extra clutter would be purged instead of getting buried in the deepest, darkest corners of the house, shoved there in a panic and all but forgotten. These things would get found, and either put to good use or donated to the local reuse it center, but the key is that they would no longer be gathering dust as they are shuffled from one inconvenient location to the next.
What I Learned by Putting Everything On Pause for a Week or Two
#1: It’s Important to Feel Productive Even If You Aren’t Working (That Much) — Without much planning or preparation, it was impossible to put everything work-related on pause for two weeks, but if you are lucky to be between major deadlines, you can certainly get by with minimum efforts. That said, it’s a bit of a shock to the system to suddenly have very little to do so be ready with your get-it-done jobs or you’ll go crazy.
#2: You Probably Don’t Have As Much Freedom as You Think You Have — Think you’ve managed to build a freedom-based business? Try suddenly pulling the plug on doing any work in your business and find out how much freedom you really have. Chances are you will be surprised one way or another. You may find you have more freedom that you thought or you may find that glaring hole in your freedom plan.
#3: There’s a LOT That Needs Doing If You Start Looking for It — Once you turn your attention to all the tasks that got missed or neglected, you will find there are a lot of them. Depending on your regular daily habits, it may be doing a big wardrobe purge and closet reorganization, or sorting through school artwork and creating memory books for your kids.
#4: Work (Even Work You Love) Isn’t as Much Fun as Goofing Off — Not working while not on holiday (which sometimes also feels like work) is pretty nice. Starting your day with a latte and a leisurely read through your favorite blogs is a nice change from prioritizing your task list and deciding what to tackle first.
#5: Finally Catching Up on All the Other Stuff Makes Focusing Easier — Think of all the undone tasks as little blinking lights that you only catch out of the corner of your eye. Yes, it’s possible to ignore them, but when they are finally gone, you notice how calm it is without them blinking at you, which makes working a whole lot easier (shocking, I know).
The result of my little personal experiment is the desire to take more time off of the daily grind to just handle the stuff that needs doing (and yes, even take a little extra time for myself).