This is a trunk full of clothes that I am going to haul off to a thrift store tomorrow. The car is a rental, so I’ve forced myself into action by putting the clothes in the trunk. I can’t ride them around for months before I do something about them. They have to be gone tomorrow. That will be my “just one thing” to accomplish tomorrow.
I was introduced to the “just one thing” philosophy years ago. It’s something therapists tell depressed people who are complicating their own lives with major instances of avoidance. Just do one thing a day. Just take care of one task that needs your attention. When everything becomes overwhelming, sometimes that’s the only way to get by.
Now, the “just one thing” philosophy seems to have been hijacked for online marketers and social sharing groups. Get rid of one thing a day. Learn one thing a day. Take one photo a day. Pay one nice compliment a day. Walk one mile a day.
You name it, and someone has already thought of doing it once a day and has the website and the book to prove it.
I love it. I’m signing up for as many “just one thing” projects as I possibly can. I’m already doing a Project 365 based on the advice of Photojojo.
Now I’m trying a “just one thing” approach to decluttering based on the advice of Lifehacker. No one mentioned how many days in a row the declutter project is supposed to last, but I have no doubt I could see it through the whole year.
The past few years I’ve been conquering the world (i.e working way too hard) and losing control of my life. I feel like I need to haul off everything in my house and just start over. That would be difficult considering I don’t have a truck, and I can’t lift the couch by myself. I can remove a large part of the pile up, though, with just me, a Corolla, and a little determination. I just can’t do it all in one day. I can’t even do it all in one week considering that the demands of my job have not let up. I have to pace myself. I have to look to the long range goals and not to the short range frustrations. I have to take on just one thing at a time.
The past few weeks I’ve been shoving stuff into my garage as I cleaned out closets. This week I plan to make one trip each day to haul stuff off. After a few weeks of cycling back through that process, I hope to feel more in control.
I would prefer to go full blazes ahead and overhaul entire rooms in a matter of days. I thought I could do that during the Christmas break, but it didn’t work out. I had a car accident and felt too sore to bend and lift. I got a sore throat that dragged on longer than I expected. I got caught up in more holiday business than I anticipated. Life happened. It always does. It’s going to happen much more intensely again this week as I go back to work. I have to realistic. I don’t have big blocks of time to work on my house. I have fifteen minutes a day if I take it out of the time I might otherwise spend on the treadmill or writing for the blog. In those fifteen minutes, I’ll have to do normal daily tasks as well like unloading the dishwasher and putting laundry away.
In those circumstances, the most natural reaction for me is to block out what I can’t do anything about. This is the tendency I have to fight. Don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t let it get to you. But don’t ignore it either. Just find one thing a day that you can do and do it.
Just one thing.