jeudi 14 avril 2011

Finishing Impossible Things

Sometimes when I'm overwhelmed I can't figure out where to begin to make things better.

An example: I'm really bad at keeping my bedroom clean. Especially when I'm busy. Clothes pile up on the furniture, art supplies clutter the floor, my bed is never made... eventually I stop putting things away at all because it doesn't make any difference. My bedroom looks like it has been ripped apart by a class of angry kindergartners.

At this point I have no motivation to clean my room. It looks like a circus? So what. It always looks like a circus. A messy one. 

Except that that's a lie and eventually the mess starts to get on my nerves.  

But I'm too lazy to clean it because I'm busy watching The Office.

Enter the Rule of 10. Actually, it's two rules:
1. I have to do ten things to make my room look better. Put away ten pairs of socks. Put ten colored pencils back in the pencil box. Whatever.
2. I can't do anything to make the mess worse. No more using my bed as a filing cabinet. Clean clothes have to be hung up upon entering the room.

If I follow these rules it ends up taking a really long time to clean my room. But it also doesn't take more than a minute every day. Usually I find that if I put ten things away I'll want to put ten more things away, and then ten more. You know. Inertia.
Mostly, though, it helps me to feel like I'm more in control. Like an it's going to take forever to do this but at least it won't be difficult sort of feeling.

This concept can be applied to a lot of projects that seem impossible.  Writing a book?  Write ten sentences.  Starting a garden?  Plant ten plants.  Doing your homework?  Finish ten problems...

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