One day at a time

is still too much for most of us as we face an Everest of tasks – whether it’s simply a full washing machine, a counter filled with groceries needing put away, a house crying out to be hoovered, or, as for many, an overflowing in-box, an ever-growing list of tasks handed to us by the line manager, a house to sell, a child to pick up from school, a doctor’s appointment to attend…

It never stops, and each day is the same relentless treadmill of commitments, demands, responsibilities.  A day that promised to be quiet never turns out that way in the end, does it?

On one overpacked morning last week, I stood holding on to the kitchen sink, legs wrecked by rushing through too many household chores.  The washing machine was beeping at me, the frozen food on the bench was beginning to drip, and there were muddy footprints on my recently mopped floor from the delivery man.  I could barely make a single step, and there was still so much to do.  At that moment, the self-talk I used to teach kicked in.  “Ok.  One thing at a time.  Ignore the beeping.  Put the peas away.”

Slowly, I worked through those overwhelming things, not thinking ahead to the next thing on the list, just focusing on the one I was doing.  Of course, I managed it all.  But, if someone had said at that moment, ‘one day at a time’ I would have bared my teeth at them.  One day is too big most of the time.  It needs to be one task, or a single manageable part of a huge one.

If you feel you are drowning in duties and chores, I would say to you, stop.  Sit down.  And then, take it one step at a time.  The highest mountains, the longest roads, the most ambitious feats all start like that: with one step, and then another, and another.  None of them can be achieved any other way.  Unless you can grow wings that is.

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