Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Working Mother Manual: Doing Things Right the First Time

One of the things I think we all learn as we get older is that getting things right the first time makes life just that much easier. And it's one of those things that's even more important to the working mother. Things like:
  • Do the floors every Sunday night during the Babby's bath, since I know if I put it off that it's not getting done at all.
  • Checking the dryer for stuff when I'm already at the machines tossing in a load of wash.
  • Doing a couple of dishes - we don't have a dishwasher - while I wait for the pasta pot to boil.
  • Cleaning as I go - when I see something out of place, I put it away, right then and there.
That sort of jazz. Do I always succeed? Of course not. But trying has meant I haven't had to worry about spring cleaning or major decluttering in the past few years. Guests can drop by with 10 minutes notice without my panicking. 

I've made the mantra "Do things right the first time" a big part of my life up until now, and an even bigger part of my life since going back to work on site. While also keeping all my freelance clients, whoops! Can you imagine the kind of chaos that would overtake my life if I wasted precious minutes correcting mistakes or just redoing things I could have done in a more efficient way? It's important, to me, because I'm not willing to sacrifice the comfort and cleanliness of my house or my hobbies or staying in shape just because I've taken on more work. No. Just no.

The answer? Doing things right the first time.

When I make an effort to do my best in all areas of my life on the very first go - whether it's remembering to lay out the Babby's clothes the night before weekdays or doing a few dishes while I wait for the pasta pot to boil. I'm talking about all the little things that eventually add up and drive people crazy.

When I do things right the first time, I have MORE TIME to work, to play, to exercise, to socialize, whatever.

And I know that's not important to everyone, but is sure is to me, now more than ever!

working mother


6 comments:

  1. My trick is generally knowing when it's good enough, because with the law, I never have enough time to make a brief it as perfect as I'd like. I could fidget with the details for many (wasted) hours. And have.

    I always race myself when something is cooking to get the dishes away/dishwasher loaded (or some other thankless kitchen task). Also, I found that laying out the kitchen in such a way to make putting dishes away faster saved tons of time over the l

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  2. Ooh, that's a good idea. Maybe it's time for a kitchen re-arrange party. Maybe I'm super dense, but it never even struck me to consider my kitchen organization from the dishes point of view. It's a tough one - my kitchen is wee. If I move my dishes to the spot handiest for putting them away, it makes our dry ingredients slightly more difficult to get to.

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  3. *long term.

    I didn't even realize that was cut off - am operating on almost no sleep! So much for making writing perfect.

    Small kitchens really force you to be inventive. We rented one when I was in school (the Babby Daddy would remember it) that had a washer in the kitchen and a dryer in the dining area and about two square feet of counter space. Hideous. Absolutely freaking hideous.

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  4. I just assumed you were racing yourself and would catch up eventually!

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  5. I agree! When I get lazy, it gets harder!

    My mom gave me a great tip-- never leave a room without bringing as much as you can that belongs in the room that you're going to. IE: When I leave my room in a minute, I'll be taking my son's toys to put away in his room on the way to the kitchen, then in there, I'll pick up the glass I forgot to pick up before his nap and put it in the kitchen where I'll do dishes until dinner is ready :)

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  6. That is great advice! Do that and a house is never, ever going to be all that messy!

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