Are you following a weekly plan that helps you run a cozy, organized home? When my sister Peggy and I developed the infamous, get organized 3x5 card file system outlined in our book “Sidetracked Home Executives: from pigpen to paradise,” we created a weekly plan that included a “free day.”
On that special day, if we wanted to, we’d stay in our pajamas all day, eat over the sink, keep the day free of appointments if at all possible and keep household chores to a minimum. We kept laundry to towels and linens which are easy to fold. We ate on paper plates or in restaurants. Our aim was to do nothing but enjoy the day free of the relentless parade of chores a mom encounters. I still have that day only I call it My Day. I do what I want and I don’t do anything I don’t want to do. I pretend it’s my birthday to get into the mood.
The interesting thing I’ve discovered over the years of enjoying My Day is that I accomplish so much in the name of being selfish about doing what I want to do! It continues to amaze me that what I’ve been preaching about for 43 years is profoundly true. Your attitude is way more important than fact, and when you have a good attitude, you miraculously have more energy and joy. When you know it’s your day, and you know you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, the pressure’s off. You feel light and gay, like you’re on vacation.
Remember when you were little and you were going to surprise your mom by folding the laundry and putting it away without her asking? Remember how maddening it was if she just happened to ask you to do the very job you were going to do. When that happened to me, I’d lose all desire to do the job and I’d do it with way less energy than I would’ve if I’d been able to surprise her. I’d love to hear if that’s how you felt when that happened to you when you were young.
I’m sure Nelly (my inner child) is behind the love of my special day every week. I originally called her a brat, because she was this, you-can’t-make-me kind of kid voice that sabotaged my good intentions, whether they were to stick to my diet, not spend over my budget or follow my organizing plan. She was the voice in me on that fateful day June 16, 1977, when she agreed to get organized so we could have more free time to play, guilt-free.
If you don’t have a weekly plan, I suggest you start by picking a day of the week that you can declare is your day and just see what happens when you give yourself license to do whatever you want once a week. You’ll be stunned at what’ll happen.
I realize if you’re a mother of young children, there’s no way you can take the day off, but you might have a friend you could help one day a week by watching her children for five or six hours in trade for her watching yours. It just takes a little planning. If you don’t plan it, you won’t do it.