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  • by Courtney

It won't take long

I suffer from the affliction of "that will take too long." I apply this wonderful phrase to many things: washing dishes, folding laundry, calling an old friend, and more. We are all busy. My daily life contains a healthy sprinkling of anxiety from yours truly, and I have a way of making small tasks big and big tasks huge.

I seem to forget that most chores and activities that make a difference, don't take long. Folding and putting away a basket of laundry makes me feel much better about the chore load in our home, and it takes no more than 10 minutes. The same is true for putting away dishes, dusting, and calling an old friend.

The actual tasks certainly take less time than I think they will. How many minutes and hours do I waste in a year worrying about all the things I need to do, rather than just doing them? How many minutes am I losing to concern? Why do I frequently forget that most things can be done quickly, and I feel so much better when they are wrapped up?

As the season starts to change to my favorite time of year, fall, I'm going to try to adopt the "it won't take long" mentality instead of the "I have so much to do" mindset. One of the most valuable things I have ever learned in therapy was that tasks are either owned by you or they own you.

You can let that work project dominate your thoughts, your sleep, your free time, and steal your energy, or you can own it. You can be in charge of keeping it in its place and only thinking about when you are working. The same is true for chores or even fun things. You can let the full laundry basket stress you out each time you walk by it (as I've done many times) or you can grab it and fold it or throw the dirty clothes in the washer. If you can't do that right away, you can tell yourself you will take care of it at X time and wipe it from your mind.

When we allow things to take up real estate in your mind, they zap our energy. They take away from what we are focusing on now, and we still don't make any progress towards getting them done. It's not as if you can translate all the minutes you've spent worrying about your dirty house into actual progress on cleaning. Life is so very short and precious. Sadly, no day or moment is guaranteed. Don't let your responsibilities that are not going anywhere, take away your joy. Keep them in their place, own them, and take care of them when you can. I am pretty sure that whatever you need to do won't take long.

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