I know that people think that I am mad, but I am not much happier than when I’ve got all my ducks lined up in a row – wiggling my toes against the sheets last thing at night knowing what I’m wearing in the morning, with my lunch packed and some semblance of a dinner for the following evening planned out.
I wouldn’t say that our lives are any busier than of our forebears; certainly I don’t slave over making bread, jams, pickling or preserving vegetables, let alone being elbow-deep in soap suds with red chapped hands like my grandmothers were on washing day. Imagine that, dedicating a whole day just to getting all your washing done, dried and ironed. The mind boggles at the effort involved when you can now shove your clothes in a machine, program it to start on either an energy saving cycle overnight, or to finish just before you return home so your clothes can just be hung out without sitting in the closed tub, festering away. Many of the fabrics in clothes now don’t even need to be ironed, you can just fold them and put away.
But what we are is time poor, with lots of ‘priorities’ are calling us away from the home. We used to live and work locally, we now often commute distances to get to our jobs, juggling child-care, after school activities, shopping, housework, life – all our balls in the air at the same time. We then have TV, the internet, social media calling us away again, sucking time out of our days, so is it any wonder we’re frazzled around the edges?
I’ve been there, I used to leave the house at 6:10am every weekday to get a train from the South Coast of England into London. I’d then cross London to my office, arriving (hopefully) at my desk about 8:30am. I’d leave my desk around 5pm, reverse the journey to get home (hopefully) about 7:40pm, on a good day. Going to the gym went out the window; housework was done in batches over the weekend; catching up with family and friends was run like a military operation as I didn’t have time to see people, so I would get booked up weeks in advance. After running out of clothes a couple of times, I thought ‘I need to keep on top of my washing’. After having cereal for dinner again one night, I thought ‘I need to sort out my meals’.
Luckily, I am by nature neat and tidy, I like to be able to find things in the places they belong, but when you think you don’t have time to do anything, you don’t have time to do anything. Making your life easier can be as simple as spending five minutes a day picking things up and returning them to their rightful places, but then you think – I don’t have five minutes!
This blog isn’t to criticise you in any way, it’s to lift you up. But do remember, the perception of perfection in life is as false as the airbrushed pictures of models in magazine advertisements. Standing in the middle of a room wondering where to start is overwhelming, particularly when you’ve a Martha Stewart-esque picture in your head of colour co-ordinated everything. My advice is to start small, clear one cupboard in your kitchen. Go through your bathroom cabinet and get rid of the half empty bottles you’ve not touched in ages, do a little bit every day and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve in a week.
Reading this article on the importance of meaning at work in a trade magazine resonated deeply with me this morning. I’m starting this company because my calling is to help others. I have a mother hen attitude where I just want to make people’s lives easier. Our lives are crazy, when we let them be. However, when we take a step back, look at the bigger picture and prioritise what is truly important to us, tab A fits better into slot B, ducks begin to line up in a row. Out On A Limb is there for you, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, lost or just fed up with not being able to find your keys. Finally, I’m showing up in my life to do what I love.