I’m pretty sure some of my family members are horrified when they come over in the middle of the day and see my messy kitchen: Dishes overflowing out of the sink. Breakfast plates still on the counter. Dining room table unwiped and covered in sticky handprints.
The reality is- I’m not lazy. I’m not a slob. (Mostly). But cleaning up after breakfast isn’t mission-critical to my day. I have many priorities in a day. Show up for my kids and nurture them. (Also run them to a gazillion different activities.) Support the other therapists on my team through consultations and by providing them with resources. Read and listen to podcasts about new therapeutic approaches so I can offer more effective strategies to my clients. These- along with exercise and a couple of other items- these are my priorities. Having a pristine kitchen just isn’t one of them.
When talking with clients about their sense that there’s not enough time in each day, I often hear comments like “I can’t start my work until everything is put away.” Or, “I started to respond to emails that weren’t really important. I got sucked in and somehow lost over an hour of time.” Sure, it can feel nice to start the day with a clean kitchen or to shoot off a couple of quick responses to get them out of the way. But the reality is- the more time you spend on tasks that don’t really matter, the less time you have for what really counts. So get down to business when you’ve got start- of- the- day- energy. Save the dishes and other non-important, non-time-sensitive tasks for later on when you need a break.
By letting go of unnecessary expectations about the right order to approach your day- you can be more productive.