Saturday, 17 July 2010

Wrestling with routines ~ round one to me, sort of...

This week I've been attempting to follow a routine.  This is in the hope that at some point I'll develop better ways of keeping our household in good order.  My usual approach is do the most pressing chores when they can no longer be avoided, and to do bursts of other sorts of cleaning and such from time to time, which isn't satisfactory.  While it enables me to indicate a semblance of order it doesn't stand up to close inspection, and it bothers me to have this constant backlog on hand.  I'm happier and work better when things around me are properly tidy and in good order.  One of my favourite maxims is that if I can't look after things I have I shouldn't have them.  Hmm...

Things piled up for several months while I was focused on writing my Wasteland Chronicle and since then I haven't had the motivation or energy to catch up with it all.  What to do?  On the face of it time-tabling seems as if it should work.  I've decided to give it a try.  Usually I'm hopeless at routines: my inner muse does work such odd hours, but maybe if I'm carefully realistic it could work.

So I spent some time devising a programme along the lines of the 'Wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, mend on Wednesday', style of thing, adapting it to include all the various things I'd like to get done if only I could bring myself to make the necessary commitment.  In management training I learnt that 'the goal must be achievable', so I deliberated carefully over what to include and how often, and decided that my little programme should work.  "No more than two hours a day on these tasks" I typed firmly underneath it in bold.  That was separate from the everyday things I ordinarily (should) do such as keeping the kitchen bench clear and making my bed. 

It's been an interesting week.  On Monday I did quite well, but for some reason found that by three in the afternoon I still hadn't completed my two hours worth of chores, nor had I made my bed.  And I had reached the door-slamming stage.  Frustration set in.  All manner of other things kept claiming my attention, and I hadn't written a thing.  However, by the end of the day I did manage to complete most of my tasks, and late in the evening I triumphantly put newly gleaming silver teaspoons back in their box.  Day one - made it!

The rest of the week has been much the same.  I've had to face up to how evasive I am about certain things, such as ironing and mending.  I actually quite enjoy these simple tasks but will do almost anything rather than start.  In one evasive skirmish I even cleaned the car!  I never clean the car, except maybe once, perhaps twice a year.  I drive it.  That surely is enough!  Well, of course it isn't,  but it's tempting to think so.  Somewhat to my surprise I've been looking smugly at dirty cars ever since! 

I have a large pile of mending.  Here I have to boast of an achievement: some months ago the lid of my cane laundry basket came adrift from its woven knob and I successfully stitched back together - with embroidery thread.  It took ages, but the result is immensely satisfying.  The stitching is visible if you look for it, but I don't mind that.  In fact, I like it!  Someone worked very hard and skilfully to create that basket, someone who probably wasn't paid much to do so, and I value it.  It's a handsome piece and I have now contributed to it my own small quota of skill. 

My sister came to visit that day, and while I rather uselessly drank tea and ate the yummy biscuits she'd brought with her, she kindly sewed on a couple of buttons that had been trailing threads for I don't know how long.  Sisters are great!  The rest of the mending will have to wait for next week.  New thought: perhaps mending is more fun if you do it with friends!

I managed to stick to my timetable of tasks, pretty much.  I got about 70% done of what I set out to do, which should be considered good, but... I got almost nothing else done, and certainly no writing worth the mention.

However, I'm not about to be put off.  Not yet anyway.  The house has an unaccustomed gleam in certain corners which I'm more than happy about and surely next week it will be easier.  Reading Tim Jones interview with writer Chris Bell last week provided me with some words of inspiration: Chris quotes Gustave Flaubert who said:
"Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work." 
I think I'd substitute the word 'vigorous' for 'violent' for fear of being misunderstood, but I know what he means.  It seems worth striving for.  Time will tell!

1 comment:

Grace Dalley said...

Good on you, Leigh!
And nice Flaubert quote, too. :-)