Grand Productivity Experiment: Phase Five… Oof.

Up with the rocket and down with the stick, as the saying goes. Well and truly up for Phase Four, and down, down, down for Phase Five. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a disaster – the house did not catch fire, nor did the kettle break – but it was definitely a wash-out.

I did get some things done, but in an absent-minded “oh yes, I’d better do this” kind of way. Anything which might have called for some enthusiasm to be worked up I just… didn’t do.

La Touche Lennui 1893
Was it just that I was tired last week? Does “inculcating the right frame of mind” only work when one has energy, or perhaps only for large projects? I don’t know. I suspect it requires a certain amount of mental energy to be deployed. (Can one imagine Jeeves ever getting tired? Or Lucy Eyelesbarrow? Pays to be fictional.)

On the other hand, I didn’t find I was bullying myself much either. Connected? Perhaps. The other downside of the method is that while it focusses on why and how to do things, it completely neglects to address what to do.

For my next phase, I’m going to try something else that’s a little literary in origin, though with a much snappier name than last week’s effort. I call it Wombling. Inspired, as you may have guessed, by the Wombles, it takes their M.O. of toddling about collecting rubbish and expands it.

Womble Till I Die! Plough Lane gates
It is said that clutter and mess are the visual manifestation of unmade decisions. This method uses these as cues to do things. Instead of rushing about like a headless chicken, intent on the scheduled task but harried by the dozen other tasks you can see need doing, you womble gently about from job to job.

Catching sight of some laundry lying about, you put it away. While you’re in the bedroom, you see muddy footprints on your chest of drawers (thank you, cat), and wipe them away with the cleaning-cloth from the back of the bathroom door. And while you’re in there, might as well give a flick round the basin and scrub the line off the bath.

Time for a cup of tea? I think so. I’ll just sort this junk mail while the kettle boils… After the cuppa you take the glossy junk mail out to the recycle bin, and notice the baby parsleys are being loomed over by the uninvited tradescantia again, so you make a long arm for the garden gloves and spend a few minutes making the tradescantia wish it had stayed at home.

Defense.gov photo essay 110604-A-UJ825-087
Eliminating weeds with Extreme Prejudice.
Wombling is a quiet, low-pressure form of Getting Things Done, with lots of little jobs leaving lots of opportunities for assessing whether it’s time you took a rest yet. It’s the apogee of I’ll Just,  that mantra beloved of practical people all over.

For extra fun, spin a globe or open a big old-fashioned atlas and pick yourself a suitably Womble-like name – and be sure to mention it in the comments!

2 Replies to “Grand Productivity Experiment: Phase Five… Oof.”

  1. It has now entered Too Hot For Housework season here. This coincides with my flatmate being away this week and my wish to present a clean welcoming house when she returns.
    I think I will still do the basics, perhaps a bit each evening. Wombling, here I come!

    1. Wombling certainly lends itself to those circumstances when a full-on bustle is unmanageable, as I myself am finding.
      Have you ever felt the urge to pick a name from an atlas, with or without eyes tight shut?

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