‘I was once asked: “How do you know you are living?” and I said, “I create, so I know I am living.”‘ – Florence Broadhurst
We create to make a mark, to express ourselves, to show up, because we can’t not.
We create by an act of our will, with just the tiniest slither of an idea, with only a pinpoint of a thought, by sheer determination, straight out of thin air sometimes.
Creating doesn’t rely on ideal conditions or a perfect plan, it doesn’t require flashes of brilliance or strokes of genius or even mind boggling talent – – – – thank God because where would that leave most of us. That would be my creating done and dusted right there. That’s me packed up and gone home before I’ve written a word, or taken a photo or arranged one room.
Creating doesn’t start with any of those things.
It starts with starting.
The first stroke of the brush, the first sweep of the broom, the first line of the story, the first stem in the vase, the first sketch in the note pad, the first phone call or conversation.
And when you start more comes – – – –
More ideas, more insight, more understanding, more clarity, more know how – – – –
More than what we thought.
I see it time and time again, you start with what you have, doubts, misgiving, second guessing and all, throw yourself at it and somewhere along the line it takes on a shape and form and a life that you couldn’t imagine when you began. Hoped for maybe. I call it the God breathed part, more than what I could do, so much more than the sum of its simple and fumbling parts.
It starts with starting.
Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with shaking hands. Start voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have . Just – – – start. @myinspiredmind
Creating is risk though. Multiple risk. We risk it not turning out the way we think it will. We risk failure, we risk criticism, we risk it not being as fabulous or as amazing as we want it to be, we risk an indifferent audience, we risk losing control, we risk it not contributing anything, we risk being misunderstood – – – – – its all a risk but the other option is to not create a thing and in that we create a poorer life.
Creating is part of our living, part of our being human. To make something out of nothing, out of the dust of this life, we feel more connected , more alive, we feel His breath, its worth the risk.
Hi friends – something a little new here on the blog at this half way point of the year.
I have long wanted to join in with Emily P Freeman’smonthly post and link up called “What I Have Learnt” which covers anything from the profound to the trivial to the simply fun that she has learnt in the month just gone. (You can read one here)
The thing I’ve found though as months have come and gone, is that I’m not all that great at articulating what I have been learning, big, small or anything else. Any one else like that? But I would like to be. So as a way of easing /tricking myself into paying more attention to what I’m learning, I thought I’d start by paying attention to what I’m doing and enjoying and finding because that tells us things too. Worth a try. So this is my first “What I have Found” end of month post. It‘ll be things I have found at the op shop or online or possibly in my garage because I’m always finding random things in there to paint or fix up or reminisce over. Remember this find? It will be things I’ve found interesting, fun or inspiring as well and maybe some others I haven’t thought of yet. There will be an element of “just because I like it and you might too” with hopefully a good balance of house shaped and heart shaped finds.
So yes I am going to just go ahead and assume that you are as interested in a good find as I am. So here goes and if you have a favourite find yourself feel free to share in the comments.
Lets start with something practical.
1. I found this cane basket at my favourite op shop – yes I know its just a basket like a million others and I know they’re not at the top of everyones must have list, but me – I have a soft spot for a sturdy cane basket. They’re just the handiest things to have around and this one just so happens to have helped turn my school morning rush around. I started putting it on the corner of kitchen bench in the morning and throwing everything I need for the day when I walk out the door in it. Wallet, phone, book, glasses, snack, paperwork/letters etc. Now you might think ” well I have a handbag for that purpose”. Good point and I do too but it wont sit neatly on my bench – it falls over and I can’t see into it at a glance – so this just works better for me. Now I don’t take it into the shops or to the bank or out for coffee because I am not 3 (or 90 for that matter). It just it sits on the passenger seat in the car and I have things at hand when I need them.
2. This well loved copy of Under The Tuscan Sun. Found in a rambling country shop in Berrimaon a cold, blustery and wet Saturday afternoon when most normal people were at home. So warm and cosy in the shop we hid out in there for a good while and my apologies to the owner, despite the loveliest range of clothing, artworks, stationary and homewares all I bought was this book off the 2nd hand book rack.
So of course I’m reading Under the Tuscan Sun a good 10 years after most every body else has. The movie is one of my favourites and as many a movie goes they didn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story which is fine by me but its been a feast to read the original memoir where the countryside and the food and the buildings and Bramisole itself are the leading characters. And as with all books your drawn head and shoulders into it’s not long before you find some of yourself hidden in there. Its always these stories of fixing up and pulling straight and uncovering beauty that’s been there all along that speak to me loudest and hold me longer.
We arrive at the house dazed by the events and the grappa. Anna and Lucia have washed the windows and exorcised layers of dust as well as many spiders webs. The second floor bedroom that opens onto a brick terrace gleams. They’ve made the bed with new blue sheets and left the terrace doors open to the sound of cuckoos and wild canaries in the linden trees. We pick the last of the pink roses on the front terrace and fill two old Chianti bottles with them. The shuttered room with its white washed walls, just waxed floors, pristine bed with new sheets, and sweet roses on the windowsill, all lit with a dangling forty-watt bulb seem as pure as a Franciscan cell. As soon as I walk in, I think it is the most perfect room in the world. page 23
What this snippet leaves out is the total shambles the rest of the place is in. Too good. So during this cold and rainy June I’ve had a little trip to the warm Italian country side each time I pick it up. What drew me in – apart from all of it – wasn’t the idea of escaping to an idyllic life in Italy (although who would argue) but the theme of appreciating and celebrating the good and simple things in lifeand the reminder for me that that has much less to do with location than we might think. This Instagram feed has been a perfectly timed slideshow to my reading.#tuscanywritersretreat
3. Speaking of books I found out how to reduce my long list of “must read” books without spendings big $. (My kindle for mac app has had one lonely book downloaded on it for ever and my Pinterest board of Books To Read was getting longer and longer). So I now follow the authors of the various books I want to read on Instagram and they very nicely let you know when the kindle version of their books are on sale. $1.99 for some, $2.99 for others. Now thats a find.
(Another option is to subscribe to the Amazon daily deal and it is tailored according to your search history. How handy is that). So I think I might have gone and learnt something after all and it’s just how much I love to have a good read on hand. A good book – like a friend you can always turn to for a little quiet, solace or even a laugh. Not all of them deep and soul searching, some just a soft place to fall.
4. Next find was a couple of Fan Iris’s.
Now I would really love to say I found them at a beautiful nursery that sold amazing plants and pots and coffee and homewares and that they called my name from across the top of my cappuccino – – – but I can’t. I found them on sale in BIG W. Yes thats just how glamorous things get around here.
So I mention Fan Irises like I chose them especially but I’ve had two empty cement planters for so long that I truly didnt care what went in them. The tags on the Iris’s said “loves pots”, there were two, they matched, they were on sale – so Fan Irises it is. I’m hoping with a bit of TLC they might show me some blooms at the appropriate time.
It’s my goal as a filmmaker to impact people’s lives. But will I? How many people will remember Over-the-Rhine (or my name, “baby”) a thousand years from now? Heck, how many people will remember it five years from now?
Each of you has the capacity to do what’s important to you, but there’s no way that can include everything. If you expect a perfectly clean house, manicured yard, homemade food on the table every night supplied from your flourishing vegetable garden, a fulfilling job, margin for personal creativity, community with friends and family, involvement in the community, 60 minutes of daily exercise, time to read and watch TV, and all the other things you think you should do, you’ll literally become an insane person.
6. And I found this very lovely instagram feed @brushed_ interiors Its decorating on a budget at its prettiest and finest.
I found out, which means maybe I learnt – that even when everything in my world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket (a sturdy cane one probably) that it really isn’t. That there is always a way through, that there is always One who leads, One who makes a way when I haven’t the slightest clue. We know it and then there are the days when we live it for real. This Women Connect post says a little more.
Prompt word, five minutes, just write – no over editing, no overthinking.
This weeks prompt word:
I read this on Instagram yesterday
“Grateful that some things didn’t work out the way I once wanted them to”(myinspired mind)
Oh me too. Arent we all.
Yet we were so sure at the time that we knew exactly what we wanted – that person, that job, that home, that opportunity, that group of friends, that phone call – and not at all impressed that it didn’t go to plan. Yet looking back later, much later sometimes – so grateful that there was a different plan.
But there’s lots I want right now.
I want to do things that matter.
I want to contribute.
I want to be a good mother and wife.
I want to be thinner.
I want a lovely cushy “statement” rug for the lounge room floor.
I want fire warming the house each night during these wintery months.
I want to see England and America, and Italy and – – – –
I want to have more adventures with my kids.
I want an uncluttered, comfy house.
I want to write good words.
– – – – and that’s the short list.
Some wants hold more weight then others, some run deeper. Some get me up in the morning and have me doing things I don’t necessarily feel like doing. Some take work. Some have me putting other things I want aside for a while. Others are sweet day dreams, “one day”, “all in good time”, “won’t it be nice when” kind of wants. Then there are those that are deep down where only God can see – the ones that make you cry – the contour of them only God knows.
I’m not sure “want” is the dirty word we often think it is. Wanting keeps us looking and foraging and mining the depths of what’s possible. Wanting keeps us growing and changing. I think God created us rich and diverse and hungering.
But we don’t want it to ruin us. To make us miserable and ungrateful. We don’t want it to blind us to how good and rich where we are right now is, even when its not all good.
Maybe the wanting isn’t really the issue.
Maybe its what we do when we don’t get what we want. What we do when we think its all gone pear shaped. It’s what we learn and how we navigate this life when we don’t neccessarily get what we want in the colour or shape or size we ordered it in or it just doesn’t arrive at all. And right there is where most of our living is done – in the place we never planned for, the unwanted zone.
But its where the magic can happen all the same. Where the near to God -ness can truly happen. Where we can find more and better and true- er than what we thought we wanted. Where our hands get dirty and our hearts get broken yet we come through wholer than what we were anyway.
David found out about wanting at the sharp and pointy end of life. Found out that he could be good and OK and not needing a thing right now because he had God with him. We can assume these words were said by one at their ease, fully satisfied by life rather than one running for his life, alone, accused, defenceless , all at a loss – – – – but God. A man who out the depths of a place he had never planned or wanted to be, was able to say “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”. Now theres a thing or two I’ll spend my lifetime learning.
Not what we would choose, not what we want – – – – – but just as well we don’t always get what we want.
I wrote this recently (not in five minutes):
We would choose an easier way with saner people if it was up to us. We would choose less heart wrenching, less exhausting and less scary. We’d choose people we could get a handle on, not so messy and mixed up. We’d choose bigger and better and looking good while we do it. We’d choose things we feel more qualified for.
So just as well we don’t always choose, because we’d choose the easy way and we would never find out what we are made of, we’d never reach deep, we’d never lay hold of the miracle of God in us and God flowing out of us. We’d never discover that it’s not just about us, that it’s so much more. We’d never discover what He has put us here for, we’d miss the eternal – – – – we’d miss the whole point of it. On Making a Difference
So if you haven’t read a FMF post of mine before I’ll let you know how it works for me. I go to the host site Heading Home and see the prompt word usually on a Friday. Many a time I see it and just call it a day right then and there but this week I was determined. I never read any other FMF posts already linked up there before I have done mine – it would just totally skew my thinking about the word and defeat the purpose of it – which is free writing. I give myself some thinking time and may not come back to it till the next day but mostly the ideas or real thoughts only come when I start to write anyway. I set my iphone timer and write fast for five minutes – whatever ideas come. After that I will spend up to half an hour fixing typos and grammar, adding any links needed and making sure I actually make sense (even partially will do) because no one wants to read my unedited, un previewed ramblings. I don’t add any new ideas to the ones already there even though its very tempting to add in a fancier word or another thought – but I do round ideas and sentences out, rejig them a bit so it flows. It may not be a true five minutes (more a 45 minutes) on my part but I find it a great free writing exercise that gets the words flowing without me over thinking and something good(hopefully) being said.
The answer doesn’t always have to be long and complicated. Sometimes (not always but more often than we think) the answer can be simple and it can be easy. In fact they’re my favourite kind. See I’m a great one for overcomplicating and overthinking things – things like my faith, my writing, raising these two beautiful children God’s blessed me with or even cleaning the bathroom sometimes – – – and it can get me stuck. Deer in the headlights stuck. But what I’ve discovered is that simple does the job really well somedays and for me, seeing progress in even a small way can be all the boost I need to get me back on track and moving forward.
So enough with the overcomplicating and lets go with a quick and easy post today. Quick because you will be able to read it in 15 minutes or less and easy for me because I’m writing about one of my very favourite things. So before this birthday month of mine expires entirely I’m sharing five simple refreshes (or we could call them tiny changes) that I use all the time when my house is feeling a bit flat and lifeless – or I am.
1. Clean something. A surface, a floor, a corner, a shelf, just one small area. Pick the thing that’s bugging you the most or is the most visible. For me its quite often my kitchen bench – it seems to attract the most amazing amount of items in the span of a day so cleaning that down fresh always gives everything a lift including me but it might be the bathroom vanity, the coffee table, the sink, a work area, the front entrance, or just giving the floor a sweep – give something 20 minutes of your love and care and you’ll be amazed how much better it looks and feels.
2. Bring in some green. In my opinion green makes everything feel better and somehow puts instant life and freshness into a space. A few indoor plants (or even just one will do) or a bunch of leafy branches from the garden arranged in a vase works wonders especially if its on your freshly cleaned down counter, coffee table or vanity.
It won’t cost you anything and the stroll around the garden will do you good too. A bowl of fresh fruit, a clean cloth on the table, fresh tea towels in the kitchen or hand towels in the bathroom work a treat as well.
3. Have a rearrange. Maybe not the whole room in one go but a shelf, a mantle, the top of a dresser, a bookcase, a side table, a few chairs, anything really. A change – well it really can be as good as a holiday and who says everything has to stay in the same spot anyway. There’s a lot we don’t control, there’s a lot that is out of our power to directly change but a shelf or where I put a lamp shouldn’t be one of them.
“Nothing is sacred around here. Just because I bought something with the bedroom in mind doesn’t mean it has to live there FOREVER. This is not a prison for my things. I want my things to bring me joy and sometimes if they sit in the same place for too long, I don’t even see them anymore”.Edie Wadsworth.
My favourite quick rearranges are my kitchen shelves, the cushies on the lounge, the laundry shelves, my work area and the verandah out front. So please give yourself permission to change things around as much as you like – you’ll be surprised what a difference a change of scenery, even a small one can make. Remember there’s no punishment if you put something somewhere and you don’t like it. Just try it somewhere else. Isn’t all creativity just a process of trial and error anyway.
4. Set a surface free – this is a good one if your feeling a little or a lot overwhelmed by the amount of things you have sitting around and are just not sure where to start. It cuts out all the decision making and umming and ahhing about what to do with each thing. Just clear off one space – again a mantle, the top of a bookshelf, a buffet or a TV unit, a side table, a corner or a coffee table – anywhere thats annoying you because it simply has too much stuff on or in it – be it books or photo frames or vases or any number of cute things. Pack the items away and leave the space empty for a day or two. Just let it breath all on its own for a while and enjoy the uncluttered feel of it. Photos show the top of my TV unit that’s in our back sitting area all naked and my bedside table as well which I cleared off because I can’t be trusted not to cram seventeen items on there.
It takes no time at all and when your ready – only put back items that you really love and enjoy looking at. I can almost guarantee you wont want to overfill that space again and you won’t be tempted to drop just any old thing on there. We enjoy and appreciate the things we have so much more when they are not vying for attention in amongst a whole lot of other things. The other thing with leaving a surface empty for a bit is that it gives you a chance to rethink how you have been using it. So with the TV unit above I’ve worked out since I cleared it off that I don’t need another surface to put pretty things on – being a bit more of a utilitarian area what I could use up there are some baskets (nice ones of course) to store the kids craft supplies,board games and books etc in. As for the items that don’t make it back on the shelf, here’s a couple of thoughts: keep a donation box handy – just because you have enjoyed something for a while doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. If it’s no longer inspiring or seen better days or your keeping it simply because it was a gift – it might be time to let it go. Less stuff to contend with on a daily basis – now thats a refresh in itself. Or for the keeps, just leave some things put away – all our nice things don’t all have to be out at the same time. They can be rotated just like the sheets and towels. In fact I try and have more put away than I have out these days so that when I do get something out that I haven’t seen in a while, I enjoy it more, it makes a nice change and is way less expensive than a trip to the shops.
5. Take a break. Now this ones about you. Sometimes when everything’s feeling a bit blah,it’s us not the house that need’s a freshen up. When getting anything done feels like wading through mud its a sure sign we are just plan old tired and running low. Same goes if you find yourself going all day without sitting down or taking a break. I know it’s easier said than done but doing something to refresh yourself either body, soul or spirit for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day will pay off on so very many levels.
What refreshes each of us is entirely personal but heres a few thoughts: get outside in the fresh air, take a walk, read a good book with your feet up, watch a movie, spend some time in quiet and prayer, take a nap, get out with a friend, take time by the water, in the garden or enjoying a view, do something creative – not work creative but refuelling, just for pleasure creative. While your at it – drink some water and take a few deep breaths. It doesn’t have to be luxurious or idyllic to work. It doesn’t have to be Friday afternoon and it doesnt have to involve a glass of wine. This recent instagram post I read sums the idea up exactly:
So much of life — pulls and minuses and divides us. But these evening moments of solitary walking around our little city lake – walking with seniors and students, Syrian refugees and soldiering on mamas – add to me. I don’t walk fast, I pray sometimes but mostly I just pay attention and I keep going. I feel like I’m getting somewhere.Sarah Bessey.
Author and blogger Emily P Freeman describes it as pressing your ear against the heartbeat of your own life (I love how she says things). Some describe it as margin or white space, I just call it room to breath. I’ve not always been so good at that and no doubt I’m not alone but taking regular pauses where I’m not doing or making or planning or thinking so darn hard puts me in the direction of it. I know I feel better when I rest and do something I like to do and better when I take time to breath deep and stare for a bit into the distance. Yes that so called unproductive “wasted” time, has a way of building and blessing and keeping us sane.
So take a moment – take 20 or 30 or an hour regular like and do something that adds and refuels and refreshes you on the inside.
So there it is – a few simple ideas for refreshing your home and yourself. I have tried to keep this one short, sweet and of course simple but if you would like a little more, here’s a few places where I am constantly inspired in pursuit of home and heart refreshment or if you’ve any simple refreshes that work for you please share away in the comments below.
Now I know the posts of late have been few and far between but I have still been writing my weekly Women Connect posts. If you have a moment you can read them by clicking on the titles below or just browse the Women Connect page here.
So something I haven’t readily confessed to you up to this point is that I get easily distracted.
I start a task with enthusiasm, often a houseworky type one but before long the whiff of something more interesting or creative and/or pressing has me wandering off and starting on something else before I’m finished the first thing. Anyone else?
It happens as well when I have so many things to do I’m not sure what to do first – so I start in on five things frantically and end up with a whole lot of things started but nothing finished – I’ll have the clothes washed but not hung out, a post half written, dishwasher half packed or unpacked, clothes maybe folded but not put away, everything pulled out of a cupboard but not put back in and the clean sheets on the bed but not the pillowslips or doona. In real time and real life it looks like one heck of a shamozzle and so not the end result I’m looking for in my day.
The other scenario is, I’ll get totally involved in something I love doing – usually not a houseworky type one – something crafty or creative, writing, gardening, taking photos, rearranging a room or a combination of all the above – and end up doing none of whatever else I need to do that day. Now that’s Ok if your husband and kids don’t care about eating dinner or wearing clean clothes and – if I was a totally bohemian free spirit who just enjoyed going where the mood led and who didn’t mind a mess – we’d be all good.
Here’s the problem though. I like things done. I like thing squared away and neat and clean far more than I do messy and thrown about. I like the counters cleaned down and the clothes where they should be – in the machine if their dirty, on the line if their wet and put away in drawers when their dry. I like the wide open spaces and peace of clean uncluttered rooms.
I just can’t always seem to manage it.
I get constantly caught somewhere in between the creative “lets rearrange the furniture and paint something” side of me and the “lets get everything neat and organised” side of me.
So thats where my 20 minute a day theory on getting things done comes in. You may have heard me mention it here on the blog a few times now – it’s a favourite.
A girl who’s easy distracted has gotta have some sort of secret weapon up her sleeve to keep her life a bit organised and this is the one that works for me.
I set the timer on my iphone and do ONE thing only for just twenty minutes. Clean the kitchen, fold clothes, read/return emails, write, garden, dust, clean the shower, tidy a room, clear out a drawer, change things around, make phone calls, etc etc
It keeps me calm, it keeps me focused, it stops me doing 65000 unnecessary laps of this house in one day, it’s how I get things done.
I don’t do it all day, all the time – usually 4 to 5 x 20 minutes stints a day, mostly in the morning, is enough to keep this home civilised and functioning the way I like it and keeps me making progress with the creative things I love to do.
The First Twenty Minutes
The photos below were taken maybe two years ago. It was the first time I really discovered the power of doing one thing full on for twenty minutes. This is the side of the house where no one ever goes and where I shove things I don’t want to look at. Mostly it gets forgotten about but there was no ignoring this sad state of affairs – even the dogs didn’t want to go around there. It was such a shocker I took a photo and had a joke with Ken that if I wasn’t out in twenty minutes, to come in after me. (Word of warning – wear gloves, covered footwear and protective glasses for jobs like these. I came across Red Back Spiders, Blue Tongue Lizards and a few other scary things). I set the timer, I think because I really didn’t want to do it and decided that 20 minutes was all I was up for and then it was Ken’s turn.
It only needed 20 minutes. I was totally amazed at what got done.
So the idea kind of took off.
One Thing Only
So if I’m giving 20 minutes to the kitchen – (usually my first 20 minute stint after I take the kids to school) – I am just getting it back to civilised. Cleaning off the counters (because my kitchen counter collects everything) clearing the sink, packing the dishwasher and sweeping the floor. In this time I won’t be cleaning out the fridge or cleaning the stove or reorganising the pantry or making a shopping list. When those kind of extras need to be done they need their own twenty minutes.
I’ve found it works really well when you need to have a quick tidy up around the house and it works really well when you’ve got an almighty mess like I had this morning – I’m blaming school holidays and Netflix on this one.
Now I’m well aware that most people wouldn’t get themselves into this sort of mess in the first place and I’d much prefer to show you nicely styled after shots rather than everything all over the place but this is the reality of life some/most days and I’m hoping for any one a little like me – – – who struggles with staying focused and on task or who gets side lined by creative pursuits but then hates the mess your left in afterwards – that this might be a help.
So this is what I’ve found.
In 20 minutes.
You get soooo much more done than you think you will
It lasts longer than you think it will – I often check the timer because I’m sure the 20 minutes must be up and usually find I still have 2 or 3 minutes to go.
20 minutes can be squeezed in just about anywhere at any time.
You work faster and more focused than you would without the timer, so you get more done.
It gives you a reachable end point to your task – when you get to stop, look back at what you’ve accomplished and enjoy the result.
Getting one thing done in 20 minutes is so much more satisfying than getting 10 things half done in two hours.
Big jobs (that often get put off indefinitely because they seem undoable and overwhelming) get broken down into small manageable bite size pieces. More on that below.
Often we think we’ll need an hour at least to get a task done – the fridge, the stove top, a desk top!! – so we put off doing it because we don’t have that spare hour. But I have found that nine times out of ten you can get it over the line in 20. I’d rather get something done the best I can in 20 minutes than never getting it done waiting for that elusive hour to show up. And after 20 minutes if you have the time and really want to do a bit more – then set the timer again and do another twenty. I always stop at that because who wants to be cleaning and/or organising for more than forty minutes straight anyway. The whole idea is balance – you get something done and move on.
In my office area, in 20 minutes I was able to clean off and sort out papers on the desk top. I didn’t try to clean out the desk drawers or reinvent my filing system – even though I probably needed to do both.
I could have left it there, its a big improvement on what it was but because I had time, I did a second 20 minutes – I was able to finish cleaning and filing as well as do some rearranging and a bit of prettying up. I had time to swap out the chair for another one but not time to iron the new cloth I put under the key pad.
Two x 20 minutes and I think we can all agree the space is vastly improved.
Tackling Big Projects
As mentioned above its also a great way to make a big project more manageable and doable.
I’m with this guy.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks and then starting on the first. Mark Twain
Two things often happen when it comes to big jobs around the house – you either avoid getting started because you know it’s gonna take a great big chunk out of your day/week that your not sure you can spare OR you launch in, pull everything out or apart and two hours later your totally overwhelmed, sobbing into your tea or something stronger and it takes the best part of the next week to get it all back together again
For bigger cleaning jobs like the garage or a full room overhaul or even things like cleaning out the pantry or a linen cupboard – I would rather do 20 minutes each day for a week – say one shelf or one small area a day – rather than pull everything out, all over the place in one go and then having the unwieldy task of putting it all back together. I’ve been there and done that and it can be a nightmare.
For me small steps taken often get you so much further and with less collateral damage then huge dramatic leaps and bounds that are, in my book equivalent to lobbing in a hand grenade.
Creative/decorating projects can get the same treatment. Lets take for example, the gallery wall you’ve been meaning to get to for a couple of years. 20 minutes a day, one or two pictures hung each time and within a week or two you have the wall of memories and inspiration you have been wanting.
The garden is another great example of how you can chip away at a big job in small doses. As much as I love gardening it has a way of totally getting away on me if I leave it alone for any amount of time, which I pretty much did over the summer. It’s not something I ever seem to have a whole day to devote to on a regular basis. What I do have though is 20 minutes here and there and I’m always surprised at what can get done in that time. Heres how it went.
This is some of my garden a couple of weeks ago.
Shocker I know – so I decided to start in the far back corner of the garden which I “romantically” call my secret garden. (Not so much at the moment but it has potential). It’s where I have a small fire pit, a hotch potch of seats, and a largepotted ficus tree. I’ve used a large square of rebar (concrete reinforcing steel mesh) vertically in front of the back fence and planted a white blossoming potato vine to climb over it. It climbs wildly during the summer covering the fence and anything else nearby. It can be a pretty and cosy area when its looked after but as I said – it’s got away on me a bit.
So over the course of 5 days I spent 20 minutes each day on it – just one x 20 minutes per day because pulling out weeds is exhausting. I’ll warn you none of the photos are any too glamourous. They don’t show a finished beautiful product – they just show small progresses being achieved with 20 minutes a day focused attention.
Day 4 .
So altogether it only took an hour and forty minutes to bring my “secret garden” back from the brink. I still have the rest of the garden to contend with but now as the cooler weather comes we have this area to relax in and enjoy.
So thats my twenty minute a day theory on everything. Not deep, not complicated but it works. So why not give it a go, just set your timer and see what good things you get done. Would love to hear.
Thanks so much for reading. For a little weekly inspiration you can check out my latest Women Connect post here.