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Woman stringing beans outdoorsMy basic approach to being organized and having my home and my time run as smoothly and easily as possible is having a good, workable daily routine and establishing good habits (and re-establishing them over and over again if necessary).

Our routines are the stuff that holds our life together and keeps it functioning, and prevent the need for floundering around wondering what we should be doing.  Good routines kill self-doubt.

When we manage to get a routine going which is working for us, something really cool that can happen and which should be encouraged and nurtured, is that we somehow, accidentally, start finding pleasure in it.  When we do find pleasure in our daily routines, it makes it easier to reinforce the good habits we have developed, and the pleasure is also valuable in itself, as any genuine healthy pleasure makes us more mentally healthy and resilient.

The way to change habits is to persevere with the new habit consistently for about a month.  Although it may involve some willpower to stick to our decisions and keep going back to the new habit every time we have let it slip, if we remember to allow pleasure to come through by not blocking it with negative thoughts, to make every simple daily activity as enjoyable as we can, this positive feeling will reinforce the new habit.

It may be that we wake up and come to the kitchen to find a lovely clean space waiting for us, all set up and ready for us to start the day without looking at a mess.

It may be that we get out of the shower, and realize that we’ve already checked the weather report last night and our clothes are already picked out and ready to wear.

These little pleasures should be taken great notice of.  We can use them to inspire ourselves, give ourselves credit, smile, and carry on with what we have planned with that little bit more confidence and optimism.

Finding pleasure in your daily routine makes it easier for you to stick to the routines you have chosen, and enhances your quality of life simply by experiencing the pleasure itself rather than overlooking it.  Pleasure should be taken whenever we can find it. 

True pleasure is not when you “cheat” or “do something naughty” or “get away with something.”  True pleasure comes when we have carried out something which is genuinely good for us, does no harm, is good for our family and the world in general, in whatever small way.  When we recognize that we have made some small achievement in our quest to establish good habits, whether it’s remembering to put everything in the car required for our next outing, remembering to check our calendar or diary, or dealing appropriately with a piece of mail, it pays to remember to feel good about it.

We can get into a habit of focusing on what we have not done, what we still have to do, what we have failed at, and worrying and feeling negative.

We don’t have to do that, and we can gradually cut down on it, just as we can gradually cut down on our drinking, smoking or chocolate biscuit consumption.

Feeling down because we are in a mess or disorganized or overwhelmed by how much we have to do and not feeling confident that we are going to manage to do it all, naturally makes it harder to get on with doing anything.

Doing something constructive, however small, is a little pebble in the bucket of negativity which displaces that much water of self-doubt.  The way this happens is that finding pleasure in your daily routine actually rewires your brain into associating that habit with positive emotions, thereby reinforcing the behaviour and making it easier.

When we have made decisions about things we want to include in our daily routine, but we are finding them difficult to do or rebelling against ourselves, it helps our willpower if we can attach a positive association with the activity.  For example I like to listen to music while I cook, and sometimes make a small improvement to the arrangement of some of my kitchen items so they are more convenient for me.  Anything you can do which gives you the feeling that it is not a chore, but something which you are doing for yourself, will help you along with breaking that cycle of feeling drudgery.

Remembering, also, that we are doing things for ourselves because we have made the decision that this action is in line with our values and goals and gives us a feeling of control over ourselves.  This feeling of being in control of ourselves is one which we need to feel all the pleasure of that we possibly can.

Do you do things the easy way or the hard way?  When you bath your children, do you bend over and get a sore back, kneel on the floor and get sore knees, or bring in a cushion to kneel on so that you will be comfortable while you bath your kids?  Are you relaxed and enjoying the time or harassed and impatient?

Do you burn incense or essential oils in your home every day as a little ritual to remind you that it is your home where you live, and not a place where you are a servant?  Do you sip your water all day, dress in a way that is practical and comfortable but makes you feel attractive?

We’re not perfect, but that doesn’t mean we need to punish ourselves by denying ourselves pleasure.  Enjoying every little bit of what we are doing right will help us along and improve our confidence.  And we do need confidence to continue to make improvements to our lives.  We must feel that we deserve our own efforts, and that we deserve to enjoy the benefits they bring.

So, sit down to eat your meal at the table, not standing at the kitchen bench or at the fridge door.  Schedule your favourite activity for relaxing at the end of the day, rather than pacing around worrying about what you haven’t done yet.  Get those niggly unfinished things off your mind by writing them on a list.  Take a tea or coffee break and put your feet up for a little while before you get on with the next thing.  Do your nails when you find a quiet half hour where you can without them getting messed up.  Give your car a wash and vacuum when you’ve got the chance even if it has dents on it and needs a service.  When you turn your computer off give it a quick once over with a damp cloth so you’ll come back to a clean keyboard and less dust.  Incorporate these little things into your daily routine and see them as treats you deserve for yourself.

Instead of focusing on what you have not done today, try listing the things you did achieve and allowing yourself to feel good about what you did right.
 
Finding pleasure in the good habits we have managed to establish is a good habit in itself.  It's good for us, and makes our routines easier to continue with.

We’re here for a good time, not a long time.  Enjoy your life as it happens.


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Comments   

#10 Veronica 2015-06-30 14:24
So needed to read this blog today and how appropriate for me who suffers from anxiety about everything!but especially what I have to do! And I have finished work due to this but still feel like I never finish everything
#9 Mrs Fusspot 2010-07-15 15:46
Thanks Yvette, was just suffering a moment of self-doubt and feeling like giving up and giving in - it's good to remember what a difference the little things make.
www.fusspots.net :-)
#8 Sharon Thoms 2010-06-08 02:12
I enjoyed your post and your tips are an inspiration. How true by just doing a little bit and giving yourself a pat on the shoulder leads to a desire to keep up the little bits of good work and keep the smiles coming. I totally agree that the more chores we can turn into routines and habits how much easier it is to get our chores done for the day All the better then to sit back and relax and feel satisfied that something got achieved that day instead of just worrying about the things that we didn't do.
:-)
#7 Anna 2010-06-02 04:37
Thanks for the emails. love them
#6 marjery 2010-04-30 01:25
Hi Yvette,
I thoroughly enjoy reading all your organising tips, and tips for homemaking etc. It is very inspiring.
Sincerely
Marjery.
#5 Cheryl Wilson 2010-04-28 00:32
I've just completed the purchase or your book online. I can't wait to start reading. My live has gotten so OUT OT CONTROL since my ability to organize has evaporated. I'm chaffing at the bit to get that part of me back again. It's been hell on my self-esteem, as well as my work life.
#4 El 2010-04-12 23:43
I loved one particular statement in your blog: Doing something constructive, however small, is a little pebble in the bucket of negativity which displaces that much water of self-doubt.

That one really spoke to me. The last ten to twelve months are ones that I'd care not to repeat for the most part. Had major issues with a boss - which ended up in his termination and me having to get counseling. Thought I'd go to a really interesting job with a really terrific supervisor but ended up being surprised by a promotion but into a group that is fraught with communications issues and is being led by a rather strong and domineering type. Then in the last month, my mom unexpectedly passed away - two hours after I had visited with her. It's easy to get overwhelmed with what life throws at you and it's easy to just curl up in a little ball and wish everything would just go away. But one needs to soldier up as it were - face life head on - and keep moving forward. I strongly believe that the group I work with now can improve and even though it will not be an easy fix, if I continue to do something constructive, eventually things will get better. More importantly, if I take those small yet constructive steps in my own personal life, eventually those pebbles will displace all that water and things will be good.

Thank you so much for the timeliness of your message.
#3 Tina 2010-04-12 18:13
This is a very good tip. It almost makes chores seem a little more enjoyable. I truly enjoy your emails
#2 Cissy 2010-04-11 13:48
Amen, Yvette. I think this is one of my favorite of your posts. Beautifully said. I DO feel better when I have developed a routine
And I've also noticed the little smile of pleasure, too. I
just thought it was me, patting myself on the back. Good to know
others can/do feel that way. BTW, all the time I've been reading
your work, I never knew (or paid attention to) that you are from
Australia. The give-away here was chocolate "biscuit" when we "Yanks"
call them cookies, lol. Have a good one.
#1 Lynn McLean 2010-04-11 10:02
Thanks... I appreciated the reminder to find pleaseure in small things.
I like walking into a clean kitchen in the morning.... any tips to inspire teenages to have the same goal!!... Have a great day

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