Last summer, before I had the idea to start this blog, I found the book Sidetracked Home Executives(TM): From Pigpen to Paradise at a garage sale. I knew that it was the book that inspired Flylady, and so I picked it up.
I enjoyed the book, even though I skipped over the chapter on how to actually get organized. I was so overwhelmed with my own disorganization that it boggled my mind. But the one thing that I took from the book was their advice to keep your change/intended change a secret. Basically, shut up.
I needed to hear that. See, I’m a talker. My inner monologue often includes me saying to myself “Stop, seriously, please . . . stop talking.” I’m a pretty open person, and so I find that when something is mind-consuming for me, I have a hard time not talking about it to . . . well, everyone I meet.
Their advice was to not even tell your husband that you’ve turned a corner and are going to change. It made so much sense to me. When I did the Flylady thing, I think this was part of my problem. I told my husband, and everyone who would listen, about this new life-changing way to keep my house clean and solve all of my problems forever and ever and ever. Everything she said was absolute housekeeping truth, and by reading her myriad of emails, I either had or would soon have everything figured out and every problem solved.
But here’s the problem with that. My husband was skeptical, and although he attempted to be supportive, it was hard for him to keep his skepticism from showing on his face. And when the skepticism showed, it made me frustrated. And then when he was proven right and I fell back into my slobbish ways, I felt like a complete failure, with the feeling made worse because I felt like an idiot for having claimed that I finally had it all figured out.
Another problem with sharing all of my “plans for change” was that I was trying to change him and others along with me. I was ready for a change, but that didn’t necessarily mean that he (or the other people whose ears I talked off) were ready, and that frustrated me as well.
By not telling anyone about my attempt at changing, I was completely focused on my own problems and solutions. I didn’t experience the frustration of having others not jump on the change-bandwagon with me, because they didn’t know what I was trying to do. It helped me see that it really was me that was the problem. I have to work on my own habits before I can try to change my family’s habits.
As I was driving last weekend, alone in the car except for a sleeping child, I was talking to myself. (I do that a lot, though I try to keep my mouth from moving when I’m walking somewhere.) It hit me that one of the reasons I was able to keep my focus without talking about it was that I did have an outlet to talk . . . this blog. Even though I was sparing my husband from the ramblings, I was writing those ramblings here. And even when I was audience-free in the early days, it helped me to start figuring out my “issues,” or, as I often say, it helped me figure out why I am this way, and what I can do to change it. Basically, it kept me focused.
So, I’ve decided to start Focus Check Friday. I had planned to write an explanation post like this one earlier in the week, and then start it today, but, well . . . my focus has been off this week. Oh, the irony.
I’ll start it next week, probably putting it up on Thursday evening. And believe me, I’m fully aware that no one may choose to join in. I’m not under the delusion that this will be some kind of viral Internet sensation. I honestly just want to provide the opportunity to you that you have given to me. Focus. An excuse to analyze what is and isn’t working in your quest for home-order, and a reason to rejoice or re-focus.
I’ll put up a Mr. Linky that you can join if you have a blog. If you don’t, feel free to write a novel in the comments. Or maybe, it will just be a prompting for you to talk to yourself about your focus – in the mirror, in the car, whatever. (I’m so glad bluetooths were invented, because even though I don’t have one, I feel like their existence makes me look less crazy when I’m rambling on in my car.)
As I say over and over (and over) on this blog, I don’t want to pretend that I have any answers on how to get organized. I’m just hashing it out for myself, working to stay focused, and making progress little by little. And honestly, for me, that’s worked better than any “method” or “system” I’ve ever tried.