Jan 09

Cut Through the Clutter and Catch Your Breath – Day #1: Just Take the First Bite!

Have you ever heard of eating an elephant? Well, if you ever decide to do that, the best way to eat an elephant is . . . . . one bite at a time! That is good advice for starting out when you need to “devour” an overwhelming mess. So if you are thinking about tackling that great big project or mess in your world, let’s just start by taking the first bite. It’s really not too difficult when you get past the part of feeling overwhelmed.

So what is it you need to get under control? Is it an office, a kitchen, a garage, a bedroom, or a whole house? It really doesn’t matter what the project is or even how big it is. What matters is that you have a plan and then get started! When you break a BIG project down into manageable size pieces (or “bites”), then you can tackle them, one at a time, and you will experience the satisfaction of accomplishment without being overwhelmed. Ready? Let’s get started!

First things first: Set a buzzer for 30 minutes. If you have small children or any other reason why you can’t find 30 minutes in a row to work, then choose a smaller increment of time. Try 10 or 15 minutes, or if you can manage it, go for 20 minutes. Whatever you can manage to squeeze out of your day, just do it and get started!

Ready, set, go! The first thing that will make you feel productive and motivated is to get moving. When we taught our children to ride a bike, it was important for them to learn this concept: A bike is impossible to steer when it is standing still. In order to stay in balance and turn the bike to reach your destination, it has to be moving. The same is true of us when we are going through our days. God guides us as we begin to move in His direction, so stand up, and take the first step:

FIRST: Get dressed! I have discovered that it is sometimes difficult even to get up and get dressed when we feel overwhelmed. If you are at this point, decide that you are going to break that negative cycle, reject the idea that you have failed, and claim the power and peace that is yours in the Lord. Get dressed!

SECOND: Brush your teeth, wash your face, comb your hair and put on your shoes! 15 minutes is all it should take. Just decide that you are worth it and you are going to start taking care of YOU! If you wear a bit of make-up, put on a little lipstick, comb your hair, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.

THIRD: Make the bed. Once you have taken a few minutes to take care of yourself, I promise you that it will make a HUGE difference in your outlook on your day if you make your bed. 10 minutes? Even if you have to move a mountain of “stuff” to get to this task, trust me and just make the bed!

FOURTH: Wash the dishes. Now here is the first task that might take more than a few minutes. If this is a HUGE project today, set the timer and work on it for 15 minutes. Leave the rest for later, or tomorrow, but DO SOMETHING for a few minutes to clean off a section of your kitchen counter and wash a few dishes. If you are able, wash all the dirty dishes, put away any leftover food sitting around, and wash down as much of your kitchen counter as possible.

(I know this might sound elementary, but I also know that when we get overwhelmed and way behind in keeping up with household tasks, especially if we have children around, it doesn’t take any time at all to find our kitchen literally overflowing. Trust me on this one. It is not unusual for our kitchens to deteriorate to such a state – but this monster CAN be tamed!)

FIFTH: Sweep the kitchen floor. Again, even if you have to move mountains of “stuff” into another room (temporarily) just DO IT! Once you get even a section of the kitchen floor swept, with piles of “stuff” moved temporarily to another location, wash the floor either with a mop or by hand with a cleaning cloth. This project could be completed in 20 – 30 minutes, even if you only do a corner to start with. We’ll get to the rest of it tomorrow! Start sweeping!

That’s it for today  ;o)  If you have been able to focus a few small or medium-sized blocks of time on these projects, throughout your day, you will find that you are inspired to keep going! No matter what you were able to accomplish today, even if you were only able to get to ONE of these projects, congratulate yourself!

We are all at different places and different stages of life. We all have different circumstances that we have to work with. It is particularly difficult if you have several small children in your family, or teenagers who can do an amazing amount of damage to a tidy home in an unbelievably short amount of time! But don’t give up!

A little bit every day will enable you eventually to reach your goal. The goal is not perfection but a peaceful and orderly home where you can live with joy. Perhaps you will want to keep a notebook and jot down these ideas and check them off as you accomplish them. However you decide to pursue your goal of cutting through the clutter, make sure you take a break and catch your breath along the way!

Tomorrow we will talk about strategies to tackle really big projects. We have much work to do together, so let’s get together again tomorrow and keep moving!

Have a blessed and peaceful day!

~~ Nina





  1. Ricki Jill Treleaven

    *giggles* Cute post! I love this.

  2. Create With Joy

    Happy New Year to you, dear Nina!

    This is a great series you are doing. I fear that by the time some of get done eating that elephant, we might look like the elephant we ate (giggles)!

    I wanted to invite you join me for newest blog hops which I’m launching this week – Inspire Me Monday, which started today, and Friendship Friday which will launch later this week – along with Wordless Wednesday. You’ll not only meet some fabulous bloggers, but I know you’ll be an inspiration and encouragement to them too!

    Give a hug to the girls and look forward to catching up with you soon!


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