View Full Version : A Little Tip for Overwhelming Household Projects


Persephone
03-24-08, 12:12 AM
Hello Everyone,

My apartment has been in chaos since I moved in last October. I get overwhelmed trying to work on unpacking and things like that. I pick up one thing and then think that I should actually do something else and jump around until I get frustrated and burst into tears

But in the past few weeks I have actually been unpacking and cleaning and organizing. I use index cards. I'll write down the different things I want to get done. Usually the things I want to get done require I complete a different task first so if I realize I can't do the task without completing another task first I just grab another index card and write that other step on it. When I have all my tasks written down I lay them all out and put them in the order that I will do them in. Once they are in order I'll even through in a couple cards that say "Break" so I know there is time for me to get a break too.

I found that this works really well for me so I decided to share.

:)

Persephone

whirlygirl
03-25-08, 03:54 PM
This is a great suggestion!

I used to use index cards on a ring for my work projects. I loved that I could pick the task based on my mood. Also, I could rearrange them in any order I wanted and rearrange them when things started to stray from the original plan.

I took great satisfaction in watching them disappear as I finished the tasks. Crossing things off a list is fine for some people, but I find myself visually confused by all the scribbles left behind. When I'm trying to move on to the next step, it helps if I only see what's left. The cards worked well for this.

Persephone
03-25-08, 07:50 PM
I took great satisfaction in watching them disappear as I finished the tasks. Crossing things off a list is fine for some people, but I find myself visually confused by all the scribbles left behind. When I'm trying to move on to the next step, it helps if I only see what's left.

I am the same way. It Is great to move completed tasks out of the pile of things I need to do and lists usually seem too chaotic for me and not easy to change the order of when necessary.

busyhermit
03-25-08, 08:11 PM
Wow, that's some great ideas! In the past, lists and multiple sticky notes have worked for me, but now they're all buried on my desk and I'm starting to miss important things. I can tell you right now that my last great idea, the "desktop calendar", didn't work out. I can never see it. :rolleyes:

I'm living in such a disastrous, chaotic mess right now that I've lost confidence that I can even do anything about it. It's adding to my depression and anxiety, I can tell you. I don't know....If I tried to write it all on index cards, that task alone would be huge....

My therapist suggested I try to just pick up even just one thing at a time...I don't know why that's so hard. It's like in my mind it's got to be all or none - I find I won't even try to do PART of a task if I don't believe I can do the whole thing. So because I don't have the energy to clean the whole floor, I won't even pick up those few pieces of Easter grass that are driving me nuts. Insane.

Persephone
03-25-08, 10:51 PM
I'm living in such a disastrous, chaotic mess right now that I've lost confidence that I can even do anything about it. It's adding to my depression and anxiety, I can tell you. I don't know....If I tried to write it all on index cards, that task alone would be huge....

My therapist suggested I try to just pick up even just one thing at a time...I don't know why that's so hard. It's like in my mind it's got to be all or none - I find I won't even try to do PART of a task if I don't believe I can do the whole thing. So because I don't have the energy to clean the whole floor, I won't even pick up those few pieces of Easter grass that are driving me nuts. Insane.

Hello busyhermit,

My apartment is chaotic and disastrous most of the time and it definitely causes me anxiety and depression too. Then when I get into that spot it is easier to escape into the world of my TV or my computer instead of working on the dreaded cleaning/organizing.

I agree with your therapist in taking it one step at a time. If you tried the index card idea you could pick out one little task and actually write down all the individual steps to complete that task. (I know I can't usually even figure out how to start tasks that I'm sure other people consider simple and this is a HUGE obstacle for me.)

Maybe, as an example, the cards would read something like this if you wanted to tackle the Easter grass...

- Find garbage bag
- Gather all Easter grass on living room floor.
- Spend 5 minutes gathering other items on floor that can be thrown away.
- Bring garbage bag outside.

I choose a very specific small task and write out each step. I think I had about 15 cards just to put a new cover on my futon.

I also find action itself to be motivating for me. Seems like a horrible catch 22 but sometimes the sense of accomplishment from completing something can motivate me to want to do more and it helps me see that it really isn't impossible. It can have a nice snowball effect.

Good luck and take it one small step at a time :)

Persephone

Imnapl
03-25-08, 11:23 PM
My therapist suggested I try to just pick up even just one thing at a time...I don't know why that's so hard. It's like in my mind it's got to be all or none - I find I won't even try to do PART of a task if I don't believe I can do the whole thing. So because I don't have the energy to clean the whole floor, I won't even pick up those few pieces of Easter grass that are driving me nuts. Insane.Well, sweetie, if it is, you've got company 'cause I could have written exactly what you did. I blame it on being a perfectionist, but maybe your therapist has a better name for it?

Imnapl
03-25-08, 11:26 PM
Persephone, I have to ask: is the cat in your avatar a personal friend?

Also thank you for your patient support.

Momness
03-26-08, 01:05 AM
Persephone - your list making sounds like fun. :) I find that not only does it help to have everything spelled out like that, but it also "feels good" to be organized on little, neat cards.

I have another thing that has helped me conquer my frustration with getting started/finished on overwhelming projects - I make a list of everything I accomplish in a day and post it where I can easily make notes on it and can see it. Some days my list only has one or two things like, "Fixed the kids a good lunch", but there is always something on the list. I make sure to give myself credit for every part of a project I do (or every minute I spend doing something I HATE to do - like sort and file papers).

Anyway, maybe it just helps to give myself some recognition for all I AM getting done instead of beating myself up for what I am NOT getting done. I know it's kind of a mind game, but it works for me. :D

adhdogwalker
03-26-08, 01:25 AM
I've been referring to my apartment as "little Hiroshima" lately, because it looks as if an atomic bomb has been detonated. I keep waiting for the inspiration to do something about it.

I try to make lists of things I need to do, but I usually lose them or don't get around to it. Sometimes I write down things I've already done, then cross them off so i feel like I've made progress. I also have a tendency to cross stuff off I haven't done because I decide I don't feel like doing it. Alas, I am my own worst enemy.

If all else fails, I throw everything away. I have a year's worth of unopened mail on the table in my foyer. Maybe I'll throw it out soon, I figure if a year has elapsed and I haven't opened it yet, there's probably no point in doing it now.

NonSequitur
04-01-08, 11:14 AM
I'm living in such a disastrous, chaotic mess right now that I've lost confidence that I can even do anything about it. It's adding to my depression and anxiety, I can tell you. I don't know....If I tried to write it all on index cards, that task alone would be huge....

My therapist suggested I try to just pick up even just one thing at a time...I don't know why that's so hard. It's like in my mind it's got to be all or none - I find I won't even try to do PART of a task if I don't believe I can do the whole thing. So because I don't have the energy to clean the whole floor, I won't even pick up those few pieces of Easter grass that are driving me nuts. Insane.

I feel very much the same way. Sometimes I won't do just ONE thing because I know it's going to lead to a major job and I get tired just thinking about it. Like if I clean a spot on the floor, then I'll have to do the whole floor.

Index cards sound like a good idea, though.

My problem would be deciding what order the tasks would go in. Then I'd probably get caught up in that and end up getting nothing done. :p

Persephone
04-08-08, 11:41 PM
Persephone, I have to ask: is the cat in your avatar a personal friend?

Also thank you for your patient support.

The cat in the photo is indeed a personal friend :)

His name is Gus and I am very lucky to have adopted him and his brother Skippy about 8 years ago. They actually turn 9 on the 14th! I need to go shopping! Party time!

Persephone

conexa
04-10-08, 10:49 AM
These sound like excellent suggestions. I can't wait to try them out...now if I can only find where I put my index cards :). It is a visous cycle isn;t it. Once the clutter starts and the projects build up the anxiety is activated and the deppression kicks in, which feeds the problem of clutter. Ugh ugh and double ugh! I find myself smack in the middle of this cycle right now. And my minimal attempts to organize juts lead to another project and create another mess. One ingredient I forgot to mention is that I am home with two toddlers who LOVE to distroy my house. Every day I plan on getting them out of the house adn staying active, but 9 times outta 10 I never can get outta the house because the race to keep up with the messes they're making begins and before I know it it's dinner time. Anyone have any suggestions for ADD and toddlers?????

conexa
04-10-08, 11:03 AM
P.S. I just wrote out a step by step list to pak up the kids and go out shopping. I already feel more of a sense of control. When before I was anxious about taking them out. I just had another idea.... making a detailed list about the mornings activities, the night before, may help as well.

Persephone
04-10-08, 10:56 PM
Hello Conexa,

It is great that these ideas have helped you and that it is sparking more ideas for you :) I've found that all the information and thoughts people share on these forums are amazing.

For crazy mornings, I have a dry erase board hanging on my front door and the night before I write down everything I need to remember to bring with me for the day or take care of before I leave the house. I think I am addicted to those boards....I keep buying more and putting them all around my home.

Persephone

thewfh
04-10-08, 11:19 PM
Excellent ideas!!! I have my own Hiroshima thing going on here too! By gosh I'm getting out my index cards...I even know where they are. I also love the write on wipe off by the door. On the fridge, it gets lost in the clutter of displaying "artwork" and good school work.....So, to the back door it goes.....

Someday, I hope to grow up and be organized...:rolleyes: