Thursday, October 25, 2007

About three weeks ago, at our Communion Sunday, one of my friends mentioned in passing a website that would help you get your house in order and your act together. "," she called it, though I didn't write it down.

But later, being me, I Googled it ( ) and went to look around. I thought it was kind of cool, and probably helpful, but at the time it also seemed overwhelming. As my hubby would say, TMI! (Too much information). Too much of a program. They have a free email group where they send out reminders and motivational essays and testimonials. I didn't think I wanted that much management. Or that much email! But there were bits that made sense -- that it takes a month to develop a new habit, so you should choose just one and go with it. For an entire month. Nothing else, just that.

So I thought, well, mine could be to get the dishes in the dishwasher, wash them and get them out again. To keep the sink empty. I have a tendency to keep waiting to run the dishwasher until I've filled up every last nook and cranny. The trouble is, by the time that happens I usually have more dishes than I can fit into the dishwasher, which means I have to leave some in the sink while I run it. Then start the process over. I've also tended to drag my feet about unloading it. So it just seemed nice to keep the sink empty and try to get my few weekly chores done on the day I've planned to do them.

So that's what I did. Of course with the arm exercises and visits to the therapist and having the neighbor's dog over and trying to make up for the months I spent not cleaning or doing anything... I didn't get nearly as much done as I'd hoped. Or needed to do. And there were so many things... A gazillion thoughts of all the possible tasks buzzed about in my head like flies. Not just with the ordinary maintenance of the home, but with simplifying, decluttering, fixing, deep cleaning. Add to that some weddings and birthdays coming up, with cards to make for those, and Thanksgiving and Christmas already on the horizon.

And then there is Black Box, which I wasn't seeming to get any work done on to speak of. I spent the week doing research, but no writing. I'd go into the office and the next next thing you know I'd be doing something else. Surfing the web, or not even in the room. The situation with the book was the same as with the rest of my life. A ton of thoughts, ideas of what I needed to do, books stacked up needing to be read, plotlines to develop, characters, world building, all buzzing around, with no way to decide which I should do first, and so all too often I'd just do the old avoidance behavior -- I'd go make a card, or ... frankly I can't recall what all I did, but it wasn't write.

So last Saturday I was sitting in my office, once again facing the cloud of buzzing fly-thoughts, having no clue what to do -- housework? Book? Worldbuild? Plot? Continue with Chapter 8? I didn't know. It was all chaos. I ended up going to the Lord in desperation. "I'm just a stupid sheep, Lord. I'm confused, weak, distractable... I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to do something... I need your help!"

Shortly after that I was moved to check out Flylady again. This time I read the essay about why you need to get the email reminders. Just going to the website isn't enough. You need to have the daily reminders, encouragement and motivation. So I thought, what the heck, I can always unsubscribe or delete the emails if I don't like it. And I signed up. And just the handful of emails and articles I read that day SO nailed where I was, that it lifted me completely out of my funk. They have thirty-one baby steps for those who are just joining, and step number one is "Go Shine Your Sink". Well, I'd more or less been doing that one for the month so I was already started.

I can say, too, that it's amazing what a difference just keeping your sink shining makes. I've gotten lots of other things done too, and even used some of the principles to help me in my writing.

But it's only been a week since I've been an active recipient of the email program. So far I'm very excited about it -- the principles, the methods, her understanding of the root causes and her solutions. I think they're really going to work. Because it's a matter of daily inculcation, and from Bible class I know the importance of that. It's the matter of tiny increments of progress NOT perfection, and I know from Bible class the importance of that. That helps a lot with the writing, too. It's the identification of hot spots and the use of the timer... but I can see I'm going to go on way too long about this right now, so I'll save it for subsequent posts.

I'm a veteran of many organization books and systems, and am not totally in chaos. I already have many habits in place, so I know the habit system works. But I also know how you can get all excited about some new thing and then after a week or two the emotional element fades and pretty soon you're back to your same old ways. I'm still not to the 28 days she says you must practice a new habit before it will stick, and won't be for another week. I'll let you know how it goes.

I do have to say I love having the shiny sink and somehow emptying the dishwasher has become... fun.