Thursday, July 16, 2009


This summer I've really been focusing on deep cleaning my house and decluttering. I still have a little cleaning to do but will be through (Lord willing) before school starts in September. Flylady is the ticket!

One day last week I had finished straightening up the house in the morning. I walked from room to room and realized that I didn't have anything to do!
Oh, there's always painting projects and other bigger things to do. I mean there wasn't anything left to clean. Amazing! But as I walked around I began feeling a little bereft. It's been so long since I had a big chunk of time to call my own that I didn't know what to do with one when I had it!

I may have blogged about this before. I don't remember, and I'm not going to go through all the posts trying to find it. So just bear with me if this sounds familiar.

I used to get so frustrated when I had four small children around 24/7, because I could never get deeply into a project without being interrupted. You moms with young ones know what I'm talking about! A good friend with seven children gave me this one piece of invaluable advice that changed my life. She said, "You have to learn to work in small increments."

Sewing, at that time, was my major creative outlet. I made all my own and the children's clothing. Most were smocked and french handsewn, so they were labor intensive. Her advice meant that I would break down my project into very small pieces.

First I would gather up all the supplies needed for that particular project. If time/children allowed, I would thread the needle on the sewing machine. If time/children allowed, I would read step l on the pattern guide. Keep in mind that I may have had ten interruptions between step 1 and 2.

I trained myself to work this way almost thirty years ago and have gotten many, many things done. But this isn't my stage of life any longer. I only have two children at home now. I've learned how to efficiently clean my house and can get it into shape with about thirty minutes of cleaning a day.

You may ask, "So what's the problem?" The problem is that my level of concentration is on a par with a three-year-old! I can't settle to anything for longer than five minutes. I never anticipated this problem when contemplating my "golden years"!

Not that I've ever contemplated them much. I JUST WANT TO LEARN HOW TO FOCUS AGAIN!

I was able to do it the week I was at the folk school, but I was out of the house then. All we were doing was painting, so it was easy.

I guess I'll have to pick a project to work on and make myself focus until it's finished. I've tried doing that and it's really hard now. Very strange. Any helpful suggestions?


Katy said...

Not from this quarter! I can't wait to see what you learn.

I just want to be able to remember what I walked into a room for.

laurel said...

I wonder, if after having children, one can ever concentrate for more than 3 minutes again. I have my doubts. At least your house is clean! That is something!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I haven't concentrated well since having a mid-life baby (and he's nineteen now).

My son had a huge yard project he had to do for the friends who are letting him stay in their house close to campus this summer (they are in Finland).

I reminded him what I've learned from dealing with chronic illness... tackle just a little every day.

He now has the front yard mowed. :)