I’ve written before about how at one stage in my teaching career, when my every waking moment revolved only around school work, seating plans and data reports, I fell into a nasty habit of spending my one day off doing household chores.
As I said then, it wasn’t the chores so much that was the problem, but rather that I didn’t want to be doing them. I resented every second.
And while I had a lot of success in changing the way I approached these tasks – click here if you want to read more about that – I also just stopped doing a lot of them.
A quote from 19th Century writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, is what really hammered it home for me. He said,
“Things that matter the most must never be at the mercy of things that matter the least.”
At the time, my entire life was focused around things that shouldn’t have mattered to me as much as they did. It was just the nature of the beast that everything was made to seem vitally important; god forbid Ofsted were to come into school and find my seating plan was incorrectly highlighted, or that I couldn’t real off data figures for each child’s progress reports from the past two years. (Urghhhh!)
What I gradually realised, as I was angrily scrubbing away at the bath tub on my one free morning a week, was that having a gleaming bathroom (which no one ever saw anyway!) was no where near as important as me actually recharging my batteries.
So while I did still tackle household chores, I quit a lot of my OCD-esque cleaning habits and worked harder at ignoring things like dust on the TV stand. I did less of the trivial and more of the important.
The result? My house didn’t look quite as perfect, but I enjoyed my time away from work much more. I was happier. As always – it’s all in the perspective.
For all of us, in any role or profession, life is getting busier. Noisier. On those days when you’re feeling productive and you’re charging through your ‘To Do List’ without mercy; just make sure that you’re spending your time wisely. If you’re pushing out time for a yoga session because you didn’t finish cleaning out the kitchen cupboards; ask yourself what’s more important? Your body and mind need that yoga session a lot more than anyone needs those cupboards cleaned. Don’t let your ‘shoulds’ (my word for the bin) and the martyr of the housework act let you forget that.
Are you focusing too much on things that don’t really matter in the long run? Are you missing out on what is important? Could you ease up on yourself? Could you swap something you’re doing, for something that’s more valuable? If you die tomorrow, will you be happy with the way you spent today? Thoughts welcome: