3 yellow roses

How Do You Do Dishes?

© Ruth Marlene Friesen

I wish I could watch you do your dishes. I'd like to test a theory I'm developing.

It's all about how you organize your agenda, and cope with your workload. Just as doctors read symptoms in your body and can diagnose, or as iridologists can look at your eyes and tell you what's wrong with your body, I can study a sample of your handwriting and tell what kind of attitudes and personality you have.

If I were to make a visual metaphor for my schedule and how some things sometimes just tumble off my plate, to use a cliche, I could use a plate heaped with food. But tonight while doing dishes an even better metaphor came to mind. Come watch me.

I used to do dishes after every meal because... (well, that's a different story). Now, I stack them and do them once a day, right after supper. Relatives look amused when they see how I pile them in categories.

Then I stop to puree the day's compost from the pail below the sink in our Vita Mixer. This I pour in to an old milk jug and Dad takes it out to the garden.

Now I clean my sinks and fill them with hot water. No diluting with cold for me. Squirt detergent in the washing sink, and put the drain tray beside the rinse sink.

Notice I have a pattern and rhythm going, so my hands practically fly through the motions, of washing with a scouring sponge, rinse, and set in a certain place in the tray.

See how the tray is filling up?

Now I show you some creativity as I pile more and more on top of what is fairly compactly layered already. Oops, that's going to tumble!

Sure enough, sometimes things do tumble off, but I just re stack and re-arrange until I can keep piling the dishes on. When I can't get another blessed dish or piece of cutlery into it, I pull out a cookie sheet, or else wash one of the bigger pots or mixing bowls, set it upright on the counter, and fill it with the items left over.

There! See? All done, and I'm wiping the counter already, draining, and rinsing the sinks, and drying the dishes - careful, mind you, to undo the pile in about the same order it was stacked. One wrong move even at this point could send a glass bowl to the floor.

Again, knowing my routine and where everything goes gives my nimble hands an extra speed. Though wing I am on the last stretch has an impetus of it's own too.

I forgot to mention that I'm listening to the radio, and praying for a certain friend at the same time, so I'm multi-tasking all the while.

But what does all this have to do with my crowded time and how I cope with my workload?

1. I organize and plot a schedule. Your work is always easier when you can tell at a glance what you have to do yet.

2. I get rid of wasteful habits (garbage) early on. Be prepared to give up unproductive things like TV, gabbing on the phone, playing computer games when you could be working. You may need to check, and renounce them daily.

3. Routine steps for to-do projects, speeds them up. If you took time to do your creative thinking when you made up your daily and weekly agenda, you don't have to go through those steps again each time you start.

4. Stack or nest jobs and projects together. A lot of your little detail jobs can be tucked into a minute here, or there, or can be done while you are waiting on something with another job. This saves time and space. Meaning, you can get far more done than you thought possible!

5. When I have an over-flow, I stack them too. Even if you have to set some projects aside, you'll get to them eventually. Don't panic.

6. I complete my projects carefully, methodically. You can make a huge mess of your life otherwise. Give thought to how you file and put things away.

7. Patterned activities, free my mind and spirit. Once you have scheduled work down to a routine, you'll free up your mind and spirit to be working on other more creative levels.

I wish I could watch you do dishes and then your work. Would your style for one be an analogy for the other?

Ruth Marlene Friesen makes friends wherever she goes!
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Ruth Marlene Friesen

Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One

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