Works for Me Wednesday: Motivation to Do the Next Thing!

Shannon, blogger extraordinaire at Rocks in My Dryer, sponsors a "blog carnival" called Works-For-Me-Wednesday, where people share tips that work for them. Here's my first attempt to participate!

As a stay-at-home and work-at-home mother, sometimes the to-do list can get rather overwhelmimg. I don't know about you, but when I have a lot to get done, I tend to flit frantically from one task to the next. I'll start folding laundry and then remember a business phone call I need to make. So I'll leave the laundry to make the call and then I'll see that I didn't complete the breakfast dishes or the pee-pee sprinkled toilet will BEG to be wiped down (Do you have boys? Then you know what I'm talking about. Our toilet is just ONE BIG PEE FEST!!! Gah!). Anyway, before I know it, an hour has passed and I've not accomplished much.

A woman I admire named Elisabeth Elliot, when asked what to do when overwhelmed with tasks, gave this advice: "Do the next thing." This means the next thing that comes to hand, whichever task presents itself. I love that advice, but I do find myself asking, "WHICH next thing should I do now?!" In addition, sometimes, y'know, every now and then, I'll have a job to do at home that I just really, um...don't want to do. Like putting laundry away. Or making dinner (don't tell anyone, but I don't really enjoy this task). Or going through the mountains of papers that come into our home each week. Anyway, (or as my dear English friend, Melissa, says that we Americans say, "anyways") HERE IS MY TIP FOR YOU, dear reader.

Divide your day (or your hour) into fifteen minute chunks. When Mt. Laundry intimidates, I can say, "I will fold this laundry for 15 minutes!!! Then I will be done!" And I'll actually set the timer and fold like mad for 15 measly minutes. It's amazing how much I can do in fifteen minutes! Or I can say, "I am going to work on this kitchen for 15 minutes!" And usually, I can get all the food and dishes cleaned and put away, if I work diligently for that whole time. The best part is that I can usually stay motivated to my task for 15 minutes...impressive, I know!

It also works in my business. If I am prepared and ready with phone list and essential materials, I can do my business calls for a focused 15 minutes. I can check and respond to email...for 15 minutes. I think I need to make myself a new rule...I can read blogs for 15 minutes.

Head on over to Shannon's and see what might work for you!

Have a great Wednesday!


  1. Great idea - this is my approach to getting on the treadmill and off the computer too :)

    I'm now off to do 15 on the treadmill because you have reminded me.

  2. What a good idea! I need to do this when I need to dust. I usually don't dust until the kids start writing messages in the 1/2" of dust on the furniture!

    Welcome to blogging!

  3. Oh, Momala, I hate dusting, too! I'm coming to visit your blog next. ;) Great post, thanks for the tip. Always nice to try something new to help me be more productive.

  4. That's a great idea. I'm going to try it!

  5. I do the same thing and it works out great! I get so much more accommplished and I'm less stressed out! Thanks for sharing! Great job for a 1st timer!

  6. Too funny - I am in the middle of doing this right now. I'm here on my 15 minute break in between tasks. LOL

  7. With my distracted nature, I know what you mean. Even I think I could handle this system. Thanks!

  8. Thanks for all your comments, ladies! Imagine my surprise to come to my blog that has all of three posts and see comments! I can feel the love!

  9. Great ideas and welcome!

    Having 4 boys, I know exactly what you are talking about regarding the toilet. I have boys old enough now that I have shown them how to clean it up! :) So now it is one less thing that gets me sidetracked during my day. :)

    Off to tackle the basket of laundry that has been sitting all day waiting to be folded! :)

  10. Oh, I go from one thing to the other, often not finishing anything, because I get so overwhelmed. This is a great idea. :) Thanks!

  11. 15 min is a great idea! I'll have to try that... Maybe it will give me more focus. :o)

  12. Hey, Kit. The timer is totally my friend. Its amazing how diligently I work when I know I have a certian amount of time devoted to a certain task. Its quite motivating for me. I just started a blog a couple of weeks ago myself. Check it out when you have a chance. Hope all is well with you and your clan.

  13. Hi Kit,

    I found you via WFMW. I clicked on your link, it came up and I started to cry. Why? Because there was a picture of my favorite place on earth...Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

    You see, I'm from Maine, and am now living in Hong Kong for a few years with my family. We've only been here three months and the homesickness is kicking in. The picture reminded me of home.

    Of course, I am glad this is the winter we are missing since someone left the weather selector on "snow" and then the knob fell off. :)

    I hope you enjoy your time in New England. If I were there, I'd make sure you were welcome, settled and knew your way around. Enjoy New England for me, will you?

  14. Oh, Deanne! I feel for you! We live in Massachusetts, but go up to Maine each summer for a few weeks with my parents. We have come to love Maine, and the day we visited that light house was especially lovely.
    I'm so glad that you found me and my picture. And you told me the full name of the light house, as I had forgotten it.
    I can only imagine the homesickness you must feel...try to remember the snow and the shoveling...the shoveling and shoveling.
    Though my husband and I are from the Southwest, all four of our children are true Yankees, born here and Red Sox fans.
    Best to you!

  15. Hi Kit:
    Love the ideas. Reminds me of my days of teaching time management and of my video: Time Management: It All Begins at Home
    Great reminder. Thanks


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