That title is a bit of a play on words, but I’ve found this past week that I need to focus on one thing at a time. And really, nothing (other than nothing) is more simple than that. Let me explain.
I struggle with trying to implement new routines and habits. In the past, I’ve tried to follow “plans” that included new morning routines and afternoon routines and evening routines and I could never stick with all of it. To me, simple means easy for me to accomplish and something that doesn’t complicate my life. So simplifying should not complicate things. I do not need (nor will I use, realistically) a 25 item checklist for my daily routines. So, this past week, I decided to focus on the one thing that makes me feel most stressed – my entry way/living room.
Our house has a very small entry way that leads directly to our living room. These are the most used areas of our house (by far) and it shows. Whenever I get them clean and tidy I feel instant relief. So, I decided that each day, I would make sure that they were just that – clean and tidy – at least once. And so far, only one night has gone without them being so. This singular focus has made me feel so much better about things. And because that room is clean and tidy (I literally pick up everything off the floor, vacuum and clean off the coffee table every single day), I’ve found that I have time and energy to do other rooms. So, my dining room (which is visible from the living room) is clean and tidy. My kitchen has been mostly clean and tidy (a couple of nights there were dishes left piled up, but they were always done the next day). Even my bedroom is pretty clean and tidy. None of that was on a list of to-dos for each day. Only the living room. But, just having that accomplishment motivated me to do more. That and the fact that if a room is cleaned every day, it doesn’t take long to clean it. Even my incredibly messy and dirty family can’t do that much damage in only 24 hours! This leaves me time to clean other areas of our home.
So, if you’re struggling with keeping some long to-do list or de-cluttering 201 things this week or trying to implement a bunch of routines each day, maybe you just need to focus on One Thing for a week or two. Pick the one that is most likely to stress you out or the one that makes you feel most exhausted thinking about it and then make a commitment to do that one thing and only that one thing. Maybe it is laundry for you. Make a commitment to do a load of laundry from start to finish each day. Maybe it is doing the dishes and then keeping your sink clean all day. Get those dishes done and put away each night (or early in the morning). And maybe you too will see that spill over into other areas. But, even if you don’t, you’ll have done the thing that will give you the most relief emotionally. And I think most of this simplifying thing is all about emotion. We want to feel the burden lifted and be able to breathe in our own spaces.