What’s the Difference? Ten Minutes.

What’s the difference between “I can’t do this! My house is out of control! I’m doomed!!!” and “Aaaahhhh. I feel so much better now”?

Ten minutes.

On last week’s podcast, I shared a reality check. My house was a wreck. A bigtime wreck brought about by my current Tunnel Vision writing this book that’s due in less than a month.

I’m stressed, my brain is completely consumed, and the last thing I can think about right now is how to deal with all this mess that escapes my vision except in sudden, overwhelming, panic-inducing moments of clarity.

Moments when I stuff the panic down and convince myself there’s nothing I can do right now, and it’s best just to keep the lights out and write in the closet and pretend we’re not home if someone drops by.

But on the same night I made my True Confession on the podcast, I had a moment of clarity at just the right time and declared there would be a ten minute pickup between the end of dinner and the beginning of watching Survivor (a much awaited family TV time).

Ten minutes?!?! My kids who already slump their shoulders at a five minute pick up were truly horrified. But they did it.

And ten minutes later . . . the groceries (purchased two days prior) were put away in the pantry, the kitchen was cleanish, and the living room looked pretty good.

And my panic was significantly reduced. Not gone, with the looming deadline and all, but reduced.

And I was reminded again that my love of the words “all” and “nothing” and “always” and “never” doesn’t serve me well.

I can’t always do it all, but there’s never a time I can truly do nothing. (see what I did there?)

Who knew ten minutes would make such a difference?

I did. I totally did. I just needed to remind myself.

Like always.

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  1. 1

    Doing something even if you can’t do it all makes an enormous difference, especially in the kitchen!
    It’s never really possible to get it all done and doing something is always better then doing nothing. That’s something you taught me and now I’ve got a reminder all packaged up neatly in one post! (I just had to, because I totally loved what you did. )

  2. 4

    My son is autistic – with a tendency to be a bit of a drama king at times. A typical response to, “we need to get our chores out of the way” goes something like this, “No! I’m NOT cleaning for five hours!” For one thing, the chores take maybe half an hour (but apparently feel like five hours to him). For another, even if they did take five hours, they would have to be done anyway.

    So I’ve been trying to teach him the value of small jobs. We’ve been working on it for a couple of years. I still – more often than not – get the attitude, the feet dragging, and the outrageous responses, but he is learning. Now, sometimes, he will even tell me it’s time to get moving. Usually that involves me saying something like “when ____ is done, I’ll start supper” (this only happens when it’s one of his favorites like biscuits and sausage gravy or enchiladas).

    All that to say yes. Ten minutes makes a world of difference in how a home looks – especially if everyone who lives in it would pitch in like your family does. 🙂

    Good luck with the book. You should try not to stress over it. You’ll get it done. Even if it’s in ten minute writing sessions. 🙂

  3. 5

    Will we ever learn???? I have to re-teach myself this lesson ALL.THE.TIME.
    Even being by myself, I’m amazed what can be done in 10-15 minutes IF I will just do it! 🙂

  4. 6

    Well said! Dear Non You have helped me so much with your words. I share your articles with my daughter who is in a similar stage of life. Her slob vision is steadily clearing and you create a bridge of communication between her and I. You inspire me to hold my nagging tongue. I have traveled the slob road but years of cleaning and caring for others makes you realize the mess is ongoing, never ending and relentless.Never give up! One thing at a time for me. Keep up the great work!!

  5. 8

    Yup…even if it’s so bad it makes me say **aauugghh**, if I set my stove timer for 10 minutes, it’s really amazing what can happen in that time period. Turns **aauugghh** to **aaaaahhhh** 🙂

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