Most of us don’t even realize we’re doing this. We start working on something, like cleaning up from dinner, and when we’re about 80% done, we abandon it and start working on the next task. Sound familiar? In this post, we talk about how to finish what we start so that our homes won’t perpetually be messy from this unfortunate habit.
Below is the podcast version of this article. The podcast explains things so much better than a blog post. I invite you to listen and also hear some examples and enjoy some laughs! You can subscribe to the Podcast by opening your favorite podcast app and typing “Balanced Working Moms” into the search or click here for a link to the podcast on iTunes.
It Was a MESS!
Last week I was wiped. As I laid down on my couch, chilling with a book, I looked around the house and noticed it was a mess, but I had no energy to clean. It’s okay when this happens — resting is important, too.
It wasn’t the normal mess. It was much worse. It amused me how crazy it looked. As I was looking around, I did something I don’t usually do. I gave it a score. It was a wreck and I scored it a 4, where 10 would be nice and clean.
Then I went back to reading.
And you can guess what happened 10 minutes later.
There was a knock on my door. My neighbor is so sweet. She’d made too much salad and brought some over.
Of course, I asked her if she wanted to chat.
She came in.
Yes, my house was a 4 and someone came in.
Why Was the House a Mess?
Why am I telling you all this?
First, to make you laugh. This is real life.
But also because when I was looking around the house before she came over, I noticed WHY it wasn’t clean.
For almost everything area that was messy, it was because I hadn’t finished a task.
Dining Room Table: A few hours earlier, we’d had a fancy Shabbat lunch. The tablecloth was still on the table, filled with crumbs. A few glasses were still on the table, maybe a trivet or two. We’d cleaned it off, but only probably about 80% of the mess.
Kitchen: The kitchen had a couple of grocery bags from the day before, filled with a few non-perishables I didn’t have the energy to put away.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
My house was messy because I started doing something and I didn’t finish.
Completing the Cycle
Later that same day, I picked up a book I was in the middle of reading called “Don’t Overthink It” by Anne Bogel.
If you’re not familiar with Anne Bogel, she has a very popular book blog called Modern Mrs. Darcy.
And in her book, she talks about, “Completing the Cycle.”
It means essentially, once you start something, finish it up.
How many times do we start clearing off the table and don’t finish?
Or we start writing an email and don’t finish….or shop online and leave 35 tabs open since we don’t complete our purchase?
Don’t Overdo It
I’m often guilty of not finishing what I start when it comes to small tasks, like cleaning or putting stuff away around the house.
However, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a busy person and I also don’t want you to overdo it.
Therefore, if you’re too tired like I was on Saturday and you CHOOSE not to finish what you start, that’s fine.
I’d rather have you feel good than force yourself to finish cleaning when you’re not feeling up to it.
In that situation, I would celebrate the 80% that you DID clean instead of focusing on the last 20%.
But keep in mind that if you’re feeling up to it, completing the cycle can be helpful in keeping your house and your to-do’s done.
Examples of Completing the Cycle
Here’s an example of a situation where I rarely complete the cycle.
One of my standard breakfasts is sunny side up, toast, fruit, and kombucha.
When I’m done eating, I usually put everything away. And it’s a lot to put away. The eggs, butter, big bottle of kombucha, etc.
After I put away the perishables, I put my breakfast dishes in the sink and soak the pot.
But what if I completed the cycle?
How much more work and time would it take to put my dishes in the dishwasher, wash out the pan, maybe even dry it, and put it away?
I’m guessing…probably less than 5 minutes. Maybe 3.
But I’m SO RESISTANT!!
I’m used to doing the bare minimum by putting the plates and pan in the sink.
Imagine how my house would look if I took those 3 extra minutes and completed the cycle?
That is some pretty powerful stuff.
Hard to Do
I’m going to be the first to tell you that if this is something you struggle with, like me, you’re not going to be able to change yourself overnight.
You’re not suddenly going to be able to complete the cycle for everything!
It would be great if you could. But it’s not realistic to change overnight and suddenly have a clean house and inbox because you now “Complete the Cycle.”
There are probably dozens of things we do each day where we don’t complete the cycle.
The purpose of this article is to start making you aware you’re not “completing the cycle.” Don’t jump in to change yourself overnight. Perhaps, pick one thing you’ll start finishing completely.
But most importantly, start noticing. Pay attention when you do things.
Notice that when you complete the cycle, it avoids so much stress and drama.
Once you realize you’re doing this, you’re going to be amazed at all the different areas of your life where this comes up.
And that my friend, will make not only help you have a cleaner house, it’ll also make you so much more balanced. 🙂