You know the old proverb about eating the elephant? You don’t? Here’s how it goes: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.
Why anyone would want to eat an elephant is something I don’t want to speculate about, lol, but the idea behind the proverb is that big jobs get completed by doing little pieces, one at a time.
The thing is, if you’re like me, you focus on the big project and think you need a large amount of time to get it done. So you never start because you never have a five-hour time slot open. What homeschooling mom does?
Today’s tip helps us get the big projects done, and here it is: Don’t neglect small amounts of time.
When you have five minutes free between activities, you could take a bite out of an elephant.
While I’m waiting for my sausage and eggs to fry in the pan in the morning, I clean the kitchen. It’s surprising how much of it I can get done.
(Actually, the other day I had 25 seconds while my coffee was heating in the microwave. In that time I was able to put all of the dirty dishes that were in the sink into the dishwasher and wipe the counter. In 25 seconds I had a clean kitchen, y’all. What a concept!)
When you’re waiting for your husband to finish using the bathroom so you can get in there to do your hair, you can make your bed or fold some clothes or even declutter your sock drawer.
I wrote a post about making a list of small jobs to have handy for when you have just a few minutes between larger activities. You can find it here: Five- and Ten-Minute Jobs.
When you are waiting in your car for your kid to come off the field from softball practice, you can write an email on your phone or do some knitting or even pay a few bills.
Using the small moments of the day to do productive tasks, rather than defaulting to checking in on FB or picking up your current read, can make a difference in how smoothly life goes along.
I talk about making a habit of decluttering on Day 17; you can make that habit possible by grabbing those small moments of the day to declutter something, anything, as long as you pick out a few things to get rid of and reorganize what’s left. It doesn’t really take that long to take out the silverware tray and wipe underneath it and put it back, for instance. And throw out that one spoon that got caught in the disposal that nobody likes to use because its jagged edges scrape the inside of their lips. (Why do we hold onto these things? You know I’m not the only one…)
Back to our original elephant. If you have a big project you want to accomplish — painting the living room, or knitting an afghan, or sending out Christmas cards — don’t scoff at the random moments throughout the day.
In the 15 minutes between when you start the veggies steaming and when they are done, you could probably get 3-4 Christmas cards written and enveloped and addressed and stamped.
Maybe you don’t have a whole afternoon to paint a room, but maybe you have a half hour after lunch. Grab the roller and get going. You might get one wall done. Then there are only three more to go! (Very experienced painter’s tip: don’t wash out the roller after each use of the same color. Wrap it in a couple layers of plastic wrap, making sure there are no parts exposed to the air, and then you can unwrap it and start right back up the next time.)
When the kids were small I read a book called Managers of Their Homes, by Teri Maxwell. She scheduled everything she did into 30-minute time slots. She even did her sewing for only 30 minutes at a time — but she was able to make umpteen pieces of clothing in less time than you would think, just by faithfully doing 30 minutes every day.
Being organized sometimes means just keeping your eyes open to opportunity. Using the small moments of the day to be productive can yield long-term accomplishments that make you feel proud!
Linking up at iHomeschool Network today! Click the image to go to a linkup with lotsa articles about things you can do in short amounts of time!