Saving Time for Cleanup

I always used to be in the middle of a thousand different projects in various stages of completion.  I would get involved in something up until the last possible second and then abandon it right at a stopping point to put out the next fire in my life.  The result was a big, chaotic mess both literally, in the environment around me, and also in my mind.

One of the biggest steps I’ve taken to reverse the chaos and turn it into order is to build cleanup time into every activity.  Planting flowers in the yard?  No longer would I stuff the last one I could manage into the ground and leave the spade lying beside it, abandoned for who-knows-how-long, along with the empty plastic pot.  “I’ll get back to it tomorrow,” I would tell myself, but tomorrow was already spoken for by other things I needed to do (a separate issue).

Now I tell myself, “I have fifteen minute more for this, so in eight minutes, I need to stop and tidy everything up.”

Paradoxically, the result is that even the in-progress looks a lot more finished than it used to even if less got done, and I’m actually far more likely to pick up where I left off because I know where all my supplies are and I remember more clearly exactly what I’ve done so far and what I haven’t.

Ava Lovejoy

Ava Lovejoy is a budding essentialist. After years of trying to keep too many plates in the air at once, she is doing more by choosing less. Central to the struggle is her genetic neuromuscular disease and a rare and severe sleep disorder, which add serious challenges to her life. An entrepreneur, a mother, and a teacher, she balances many roles and demands on her time.

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