I have started a new project. I always have a bunch of little tasks that nag at me and never seem to get done. I tend not to list them because they are unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but they don’t take care of themselves and go away.
I will be honest here – one of them is doing dishes. We have a dishwasher which is used for dinnerware and glass. I do pots, pans, and plastic stuff by hand. I wash the dishes every time I make a meal, which requires a full clean-up. But on days I reheat leftovers, I tend to scrape and rinse the dishes and leave them by the sink. I also pack lunches and snacks for work, rinse the containers, and pile them on the counter. When I get a full sink’s worth of containers, I wash them all. It makes sense to me at some level – why waste water to wash 2 or 3 containers at a time – but even I don’t like coming home to stacks of used dishes on the counter.
I always procrastinate on mending, too, whether it’s an actual repair or just sewing a button. Another one is cleaning shoes and boots – this needs to be done a lot, to remove road salt in the winter. I also put off errands such as going to the bank or post office, although those are infrequent.
A whole category I like to sweep under the rug is Regular Maintenance. I am not fond of making appointments, whether it is for health check-ups, car maintenance, home repair jobs or whatever. Mainly because I have to take time out of my work day to make and return phone calls, and then take time off work to attend them. I do eventually come around, but begrudgingly.
I haven’t resorted to rewarding myself – maybe I am stoic, but I don’t think I should have to bribe myself to take the car for an oil change, or sew a button!
In the past two months, I have decided to apply the Getting Things Done method. In that book (which I wouldn’t recommend – it is deadly boring), the author suggests that if replying to a phone call or email would take you two minutes or less, reply immediately, rather than adding it to a list of things to do. I realized that a modified version would make my life simpler.
I am really not very short on time. I do have time to myself before and after work and on weekends. Apart from the weekday getting-ready-for-work rush, I can fit tasks in perfectly well, if I so choose, but it takes self-discipline.
So now, when I see that something needs to be done, I am trying to Just Do It. This mostly involves putting things away in their proper places, cleaning things and repairing things. Making arrangements for things to be checked and fixed. Buying pieces and restocking things. Resisting the lure of a good book and a cup of coffee while I wash the fricking dishes and polish the fricking boots!
Now you might wonder if Rom and I nag each other about doing things. As far as Rom is concerned, he does not nag. Not ever. Nor does he do things that I have agreed to do. What a great strategy! For me to eliminate the pesky tasks that nag at me, and then never have him mention anything I should be doing, means a stress-free home life. As for myself, I am not so virtuous. I am more the “remind-once-and-then-do-it-myself” type.
For the bigger jobs, I have decided on a new tactic. Sometimes we say we will paint a room, for example, or dig a garden bed, and we usually have a timeline in mind. The time comes and goes and the job doesn’t get done. It’s not urgent; maybe it can wait a month. Then maybe 6 months go by and we say: maybe next year. If the job is dependent on having saved money first, that makes sense. But if it’s only a matter of setting a high priority on it and getting it done, I have decided I won’t procrastinate any more. I will (a.) set a reasonable deadline (such as “by the end of the summer”), (b.) attempt to set a specific date (such as the first two weeks of July), and (c.) if after two attempts, I can’t manage to set a date, I will pay someone to do the job. Keeping in mind that procrastination will both cost me more and require me to make appointments, I will be highly motivated to get the work done myself. Or, I will consider the money well-spent.
What kinds of tasks nag at you? Is there much nagging at your house – and are you the nagger or the nagee?