Habit Building: How always is easier than sometimes…

So I’ve been pondering the virtue of order again, as I always seem to be, because I’m not what the homemaking guru the Flylady calls a B.O. (born organized). So this Lent, more than focusing on giving up something, I’ve been focussing on aquiring something, namely the virtue of order. I’m hoping to bring more rhythm and smoothness to my week, so that certain things can happen more naturally, because that’s now simply when we do them, rather than waiting for them to happen in a fragmented and haphazard way…

So this scatterbrained poet is cleaning bathrooms on certain days, and doing laundry on certain days, and things like this. But how did this come about? Moving and Lent. Moving was a great way to have a fresh start…to hit the reset button and begin again. And this happened to coincide with a great spiritual impetus for interior growth and change for the better, which is the season of preparation for the joy of Easter. 

These things complement each other well, because as when more things are planned (like meals, daily topics for homeschool, some daily and weekly chores) my mind is freed up to be more contemplative. I can read or pray without being quite as distracted by my revolving to-do list spinning about my head. I find those tiny household decisions take up a lot of brain power, and prevent me from being as peaceful as I’d like. (Who feels peaceful at 4:45 pm if you don’t know what’s for dinner and the kids are gnawing on your ankles?) So in this sense, knowing when I’m going to do certain things, rather than restricting me, has actually made me more free. 

 
One of the things I’ve been trying to do this Lent is do the dishes right after each meal, instead of getting distracted by the kids, phone, next project (squirrel!) and letting them pile up. I’m actually generally doing better with them than I did when I had a dishwasher! And often it’s over the kitchen sink that I think of new blog posts…my little reward!

Both the routine and a spiritual motive make it easier to do my work promptly. Somehow it’s easier to make myself do certain things when they are simply part of the routine, instead of something I might do now…or maybe later…when I feel like it (because honestly, when will I feel like cleaning a toilet?). 

The kids agree that stuff you do always is easier than stuff you do sometimes. My 9 year old told me, “It’s like making my bed…when I do it every day, it’s easy, but when I used to just do it sometimes, it was really hard each time.” So each week I am trying to add just a few more little things that we do on scheduled days. I don’t have really specific times for each thing, because too many details would set me up for failure…and be too much pressure. But little by little, I’m hoping to make this ship run more smoothly, with the idea that more pirate adventures can be had with mended sails and a swabbed deck!   

12 thoughts on “Habit Building: How always is easier than sometimes…

  1. I certainly agree. I try to never go to bed with dishes in the sink now, but because I do them all the time there are never many dishes to do! And it’s become a habit so I don’t feel right going to bed without them done.

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      1. That’s awesome! I’m really hoping it will be same for me…I’ve spent too many years with a house that looks like a preschool exploded! 😝 it’s funny how you can think, as an artsy type, that structure would be restricting, when it’s actually so freeing! And order is so important for the kids to learn as well…it will help them in their studies, and work places and marriages, too! So here’s to trying! 🍷

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  2. Roberta Cottam

    Me too! This is what’s been on my mind as I come out of newborn phase and establish infant phase…seems a new baby always throws me off my home-making game. And then, with a new little one added to the mix, when I come back to my previous schedules I notice they need to be redesigned to accommodate the new family unit. xo

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  3. Waverlea Koenig

    When we had to sell our house , I got in the habit of tidying up the dishes and beds etc. every morning before the potential buyers came by. That was much less tiring than standing at the sink for hours with a huge pile of dishes from several meals! My mum used to like having friends over for dinner but she would always do the dishes before going to bed even if it was 3AM! Being from Scotland she had a schedule of certain days for certain household tasks although with automatic washing machines, laundry became easier. She always loved to hang out the clothes on the line in the sun in the backyard, as I do also- exercise and fresh air at the same time😀

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