Do Better December 17th 2014 The Blessing and Curse of the No Commitment Day

17 Dec

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When you have a calendar that’s as busy as mine, a day with no commitments is a rare and beautiful thing, and I am blessed to have one today. It means I get an entire day to do whatever I want without distraction. It has such a sense of opportunity with it, and if you’re like me, your imagination runs wild with all of the things you can accomplish. You can do multiple loads of laundry. You can clean the house from top to bottom. You can cook and bake. You can wrap gifts. You could even write more than you’ve written in the past two weeks and maybe get ahead for a post or two. These are the scenarios that play in your head when you finally get a day that isn’t filled with deadlines, and they fill you with hope and anticipation. The reality of your life, especially when you have ADHD tendencies, is often different.

When there is ADHD in your life, it’s amazing how quickly a day can slip by. While you’re busy imagining yourself with a pristine home, a healthy dinner on the table and a well-rested, well-exercised and well-coiffed you, the clock has mysteriously moved six hours ahead, and you barely have time for a shower and grilled cheese for dinner. You imagine all of your clothes washed, dried and put away, and you realize the load you started yesterday is still in the washer and needs to be re-washed because they’re stinking up your laundry area. You think about the delectable goodies you plan to make and bake and realize you’re missing one item for each recipe. You fantasize about having all your gifts wrapped a week before Christmas only to realize you either have several more to buy or you’re out of wrapping paper, again, and writing? Who has time for writing what you’re committed to much less getting ahead? Even though you may have gotten up at 6:00am, before you know it, the clock has reached the point of no return on the day, and all you have to show for it is some smelly laundry, some unfinished tasks and a bunch of good intentions gone bad. I have been there more times than I care to count.

There are ways, though, that I’ve learned to stay on task. They may not all work for everyone, but they certainly work for me, and I plan to put them to good use today. The first and most important for me is a written list. I have a typed list for things I try to do every day like wipe down my bathrooms; I live with four males and bathroom upkeep is crucial. I try to run my Swiffer vacuum daily and I’m happy if it gets done a few times per week. I try to do a load of laundry per day because if I let it pile up, the laundry monster reminds me of an ever growing blob of yucky-ness. All of those things are on the list, along with a few more personal items, like breakfast and lunch, which I have been known to skip if I get on a roll and then wonder why I have a headache and feel awful by mid-afternoon. At that point, I overeat and feel even worse, my energy level plummets, and I spend the rest of the afternoon on the couch telling myself I’ll just rest for a bit, when I know that I have done myself in for the day and my family will be lucky to get that grilled cheese I mentioned earlier.

To combat the full on afternoon meltdown, my greatest ally is a timer. I love using a timer for several reasons. The timer gives me a deadline and helps me to focus on the task or tasks at hand. I especially like it for the tasks I’m not thrilled about doing like wiping down the bathrooms and running the Swiffer vacuum. I clump them together and do my best to get them finished in twenty minutes so I can move on to activities I enjoy more. It is really amazing what you can accomplish in twenty minutes. You may not get your bathrooms scrubbed top to bottom, but you can keep them presentable and maybe even keep your floors clean as well. When I get to more fun tasks or those that I need to spend longer to accomplish, the timer reminds me to drink water and rest when I’m working on the fun tasks, and it gives me a time I get to stop on the ones that aren’t as much fun. Even if I have to reset the timer more than once, I’ve built in breaks so I don’t overdo, but I’ve given myself a reason to stay focused and not get distracted by something else, and if I do get distracted, I’ve built in a way to get back on track as well.

Music is one of my favorite tools. I enjoy all kinds of music, so the style can change from day to day, but it’s almost always happy music with a great beat so I can dance my way through the day. I listen to the radio if I want variety. I listen to Spotify if I want a genre, and I listen to YouTube if I am looking for a specific artist or set of songs. Mixing up my music selections keeps me from getting bored and it’s fun to occasionally find new favorite songs along the way.

My next suggestion isn’t so much a tool as it is having learned a lesson, and it’s one I know several people balk at for a variety of reasons. This one is to put on shoes if you really want to move forward quickly and with determination. I prefer athletic shoes, which I call gym shoes. I know some people work around the house either barefoot or in slippers because they don’t wear shoes in the house, but you move differently with shoes on. Shoes give purpose. I have a pair of slippers I love. I am actually wearing them as I type this post, but when I’m finished, I’ll be heading upstairs for a quick shower and I’ll be putting on my gym shoes to keep me focused for the rest of the day. Kicking shoes off is a sign of rest for me, and I don’t do it until I’m ready to be finished with my day. I know this may not feel good for some, but be aware of how you move through your day when you are barefoot, wearing slippers and wearing shoes. I know you’ll see a difference, and that could be the difference between feeling good about your day and wondering where it went.

Finally, if you’re easily distracted like me, you probably won’t make much progress if your TV is on. TV invites you to sit down, relax and watch for a while. If you have anything that requires your undivided attention, you’re doomed to fail. If you have anything that requires you to leave the room, you are challenging yourself. If, however, you feel like you just have to turn your TV on, I have a game I call “commercial roulette” that you can play. Every time a commercial comes on, get up off the couch and do something productive. During an hour show, you can make some amazing progress. I have done this and cleaned up a very messy kitchen in two to three minutes increments in less than an hour. I have spent time going through piles of paper, balanced my checkbook, addressed Christmas cards and much more, and it’s even helped me to enjoy the commercial breaks more because they turn into a blessing rather than just a hiatus from the show.

There is one last thing that will help me get through this day and that is accountability. This blog post gives me some accountability because I always want to walk my talk, but on days that I’m not blogging about being productive I have a group of friends on Facebook that I can be accountable to, or I use FlyLady’s chat room for immediate feedback. These aren’t so much tools as a way to connect with others who are doing the same things I’m doing which makes me feel like we’re all on the same team and lightens what I can see as a burden at times. It also reminds me that I’m not alone in my hopes of creating a better home and life for those I love, and that is a beautiful way to go through the day, especially when it’s a day filled with laundry and cleaning.

So, my strategy for this wide open day is to make a list, get myself dressed and get to it. I’m excited about the possibilities, and with the tools I have, I know it can be a day I can be proud of by the time I’m finished with it. I hope you have the same kind of day on tap; one that is filled with possibilities and ends with you feeling proud and accomplished. Remember to have fun along the way, and you’ll fall asleep tonight with a smile on your face that will get even bigger when you wake up tomorrow and know you can do it again.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone and use your day well. Until tomorrow, thanks for being you and have a great day.


One Response to “Do Better December 17th 2014 The Blessing and Curse of the No Commitment Day”


  1. Do Better December 17th 2014 The Blessing and Curse of the No Commitment Day | karenbemmes aka Better Living Daily - December 17, 2014

    […] Do Better December 17th 2014 The Blessing and Curse of the No Commitment Day. […]

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