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On Doing One Thing At A Time

If you are not of an organised nature, creating and adhering to a routine is horribly difficult. It means forcing yourself to do a whole list of things when you would really rather be doing more interesting stuff instead. It means setting aside the creative to do the necessary and despite knowing all the wonderful promises doing the necessary brings, still feeling that niggle, nay that raw scratch of pure irritation as you shuffle through the house, pretending to be committed to performing a routine in the manner of a resentful circus monkey.

I have long nagged you about the benefits of routine. I have even tried to jolly things up by insisting you pretty up your days with personal ritual too, but I am aware that for some of you, both routine and ritual are difficult to instigate. That your brain just doesn't work like that. Or that your job makes it impossible. Or the kids have got you so harried you can barely think straight.

Darling I know.

While I may gave the impression that I am a paragon of routine virtue, I am nowhere near perfect and over the past ten years I have talked to enough of you to  know that routine doesn't come easy. That sometimes remembering to brush your teeth is all you can manage as you herd cats and dust bunnies and impossible toddlers and all grown-up men. I know.

So I have come up with a plan. How about we start with one thing? Not a list of ten that need to be achieved daily, but one thing you commit to doing daily. One really tiny thing you do each and every day? Something, teeny, tiny, titchy? One small thing you do every single day even on the days when your world feels like it is standing on it's head. Something so insignificant and yet something you make so precious, you cannot even imagine not doing it! And then when that one thing is an essential part of your routine your turn it into a slightly bigger thing, or add another little thing altogether! And over the months those "things" become routine and at some point in the distant future you have a routine so instinctive you barely have to think about it. How does that sound?

So what kind of things am I suggesting that you begin to obsess about, even ever so slightly? How about you change the bathroom hand-towel every single morning without fail? Open all the bedroom windows before you head downstairs? Always hang your dressing gown up instead of leaving it sprawled over the bed? Spritz your freshly made bed with pillow spay? Always put used teabags straight into the bin? Wipe down the bathroom sink every single time you use it?

Start with something that you and only you are totally in charge of. Something you are currently neglecting to do. Something that will make a difference, no matter how small and then get truly, madly obsessed with doing it. For a short while make your thing, your raison d'etre. Accompany it with a mantra...

I am the kind of person who sleeps on lavender sheets...

I am the kind of housekeeper who always has fresh towels hanging in the bathroom...

Do it and do it every single day. Own your thing! Do it before everything else! Mutter your mantra as you open your eyes! Do it, my Darling Housekeeper, until you cannot imagine not doing it, and then see how commitment to your thing, feeds your sense of pride and your willingness to do the next thing... 

Make your first thing something connected to all that you do or don't do as you open your eyes in the morning and build a routine, one thing, or task, or puttery, silly treat at a time as the day goes on.   For at some point you will start to realise that there is no point in spritzing sheets if you haven't made the bed. Or aired the room. Or hung your dressing room. One little thing leads to lots of other little things! Because pride takes over and you start to feel good about that can be achieved when domestic life consists of just one absolute gotta do thing, and lots and lots of OPTIONAL others.

For there in a nutshell is the key to your success: you will not feel overwhelmed because there is only one thing you have GOT to do and everything else is a matter of choice depending of time and good will...

We can do this: we can build routines one day and one thing at a time and we can start to revel in how it feels to commit to the process of creating a lovelier way of life...

What will your "one thing" be?  

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