Have you ever noticed that the more things you need to get done the more wasteful you become of your time? I am convinced that this is an unconscious strategy we use to avoid doing those things that we don’t want to do.
I have a habit of putting off going to bed. This is because many tasks and rituals must be dealt with before the actual “going” to bed can take place. These include checking all the doors, turning off lights and other electric gizmos, brushing and flossing my teeth, getting into my pajamas, taking my medicines, setting my alarm clock, plugging in my phone to be recharged, getting a glass of water to have on my nightstand, and going to the bathroom one final time. That is quite a list. Often, the closer it gets to bedtime, the more likely I am to start playing a computer game. This is not because I necessarily want to play a computer game. I just don’t want to tackle all of the necessary jobs associated with going to bed.
I use the same avoidance tactic when I have an unpleasant housecleaning job to address. My bathrooms need to be cleaned from top to bottom, so I begin sorting through old photos or rearranging items on bookshelves. I do not particularly want to sort photos or rearrange items. What I want is to avoid cleaning the bathrooms.
That which was so easily identified and discouraged in my children (procrastinating), I practice with impunity. If I find myself looking through mail-order catalogs, surfing through TV channels, or wiping and re-wiping an already-clean countertop, it is a safe bet that I am avoiding doing something else.
It is when my house most desperately needs to be cleaned that I begin some random job like swapping out my summer clothes for my winter clothes or organizing my spice drawer or alphabetizing my recipe cards. Sadly, these completely unnecessary tasks create their own messiness, which means that I have put myself even further behind in cleaning my house.
It is possible that I would never balance my checkbook were it not for the fact that dirty dishes are stacked in my kitchen sink. My outdoor flowers get a good tending-to when every horizontal surface in my house is coated with dust. I make an all-day job of running errands when my floors are needing to be vacuumed and mopped.
When a friend and I go out to lunch, I relate to her all of the things I have managed to accomplish: the sorting, rearranging, gardening, organizing, etc. She is amazed, stating that normal housekeeping jobs keep her too busy to do those things. I just smile. She doesn’t need to know that the reason she and I are having lunch together is because back at home in my kitchen stands a dirty refrigerator begging to be cleaned.