All You Need Is Love

Earlier this week I said to someone, “Considering how much of life is maintenance, I figure you better really love what it is you are taking care of.”

Which she interpreted to mean she should love doing laundry. “No, no,” I countered, “Doing laundry is part of taking care of your children – which you do love. It’s that higher purpose that allows you to make peace with a task you don’t enjoy for itself but must be done anyway.”

Loving what you are taking care of doesn’t mean you’ll love every part of its care. But being aware how a maintenance task is an essential part of something bigger can make it easier to do consistently, even joyfully (or at least without resentment).

I don’t exactly love balancing my bank accounts, paying bills or preparing my taxes, but I do love the prosperity that comes from taking care of my money. I don’t exactly love filing and archiving, but I do love the clarity that comes from being organized and uncluttered. I don’t exactly love washing dishes or vacuuming, but I do love the ease of a clean environment. I don’t exactly love weeding, but I do love the bounty that comes from a healthy garden. I do these things not because of some abstract and external “should,” but because I understand their connection to what I value.

Business and life are full of unavoidable maintenance activities – pretending that isn’t so just leads to chaos and frustration. Embrace them instead.

If you are struggling with procrastination, remind yourself of why a task is important and the outcome that is served by doing it – sometimes that’s all it takes to get yourself unstuck and back into action.

If you are struggling with overwhelm, thinking about who or what an activity serves is sometimes a better way to choose what stays and what goes than simply whether you like doing it. In planning your schedule, decide what you most love and figure out what is necessary to its care. When your calendar is full, stop adding more to care for. There are limits to your capacity, so choose well. Yet do so knowing that when you focus on what you love, the maintenance is much less of a challenge – even fun.

Tomorrow: “But don’t you recommend delegating the maintenance we don’t like doing?!” Well… it depends. Do it the wrong way and you won’t get the results you expect.


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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



© 2008 Cairene MacDonald, Third Hand Works. All Rights Reserved.

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