By Emily Kulkus
I like to get stuff done. I have to-do lists all over the house. I have one going at my desk, on the kitchen counter and I almost always pull one out of my pocket at the end of a long day.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. You’re a parent. You get stuff done. It’s what we do.
Now, back in the days before I had kids I was really good at starting and finishing a job. Then I had a baby and my to-do lists went out the window. When I had my first child I remember setting a goal of getting ONE thing accomplished a day. (You know, in addition to keeping my tiny human fed, dry and happy.) My one task could have been emptying the dishwasher, doing a load of laundry or dropping a birthday card in the mail. My rule of one kept my sanity and to-do list levels in check.
These days though, a load of laundry can take a couple of days and the vacuum cleaner sometimes collects more dust than it picks up. With two kids, a couple of jobs and a triathlon circled on the calendar, my personal to-do list only seems to get longer.
But I’ve learned to deal by tackling projects bit by bit. Need to clean out a closet? Back in the day I could empty the contents and spend a few hours sorting and organizing. Today the only consecutive hours I know are ones when my eyes are closed, thankfully. So instead, I chip away at projects. Every time I go into that messy closet I take something out and find its new home. Little by little the closet gets cleaned. Everything takes me longer than it used to but for now I have my hands full, and I’m OK with that.
So the other night after the kids went to bed and the kitchen countertops were covered in dishes, a warm breeze carried the scent of charcoal through my window and I craved not a burger, but a good long run. But it was getting dark, the house was a disaster and the alarm was still going to go off the next morning. So I took the same approach to my run as I do with my chores. I chipped away at it.
I threw on my sneakers, grabbed my night-run wristband light and left the dinner disaster in my wake. I accepted the fact that it wouldn’t be a long run but it would be something. For a couple of miles all I did was enjoy the beautiful night. With each step on that warm weathered blacktop I was getting stuff done, for my health, for my kids and more importantly, for me.
Emily Kulkus, of Syracuse, is marketing coordinator at Fleet Feet Sports, Syracuse. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.