Monday, February 11, 2013

Out with the Monday Panic and in with a week of Peace of Mind

Photo Courtesy of ©2009 O_m.
"The more we are prodded the lazier we get, and the less capable of the effort of will which should carry us to, and nearly carry us through, our tasks." — Charlotte Mason {Vol. 3, p. 39-40}

It's Monday, which means my mind is full of all the tasks I have to accomplish this week as well as a nagging reminder of all I failed to finish last week. In many ways, Mondays are the hardest to get started because it seems that there is just too much to do in too short of time.

In fact, "The List" was in the forefront of my mind all morning as I was trying to get through my early morning routine. As usual I found myself distracted and then chastising myself for my lack of work effort. I don't have a single person telling me what I have to do right now — except for me — and I've discovered the more I try to motivate myself the more frustrated I've become of late. 

Rather than being productive, every glance at the clock reminds me just how much time I've wasted in a pointless internal struggle.

This is a serious problem.

So it was a blessing to see Charlotte Mason's quote posted on my mother's Facebook page this morning. For those not familiar with this incredible woman, she was a champion for improving the education of British children in the late 19th through early 20th century. She is also a hero to many homeschoolers. 

Charlotte was also my mother's inspiration as she raised us. Much of my love of learning stems from what my mother learned through Charlotte's methods. In seeing the above quote, I was reminded of the most important lesson I learned at my mother's feet: 

Focus on one thing at a time. Give it your full attention and when the prescribed time is up move on to the next task. Do not worry about what came before and what comes after. Just focus on what you need to do in this particular moment.

As soon as I read Charlotte's quote it seemed as if a huge weight came off my shoulders. It's so easy to forget that I don't have to tackle an entire mountain in one go. The work is done a shovelful at a time. With each shovel emptied, I'm one step closer to finishing my work.

I don't know what your week looks like. Perhaps you're far better organized than I am and have a system in place that works wonderfully for you. But if your Monday is starting out like mine with a sense of overwhelming doom, take heart in knowing you aren't facing your battle alone.

Mom always made me work in 15 minute increments when I was younger. It taught me to focus and it allowed me to move onto something else (even if it wasn't completely finished) about the time my attention started to wane. I learned later on it was an attention building exercise that also improved memory retention. (Which would explain why I've gone from remembering everything to forgetting what I was trying to say only moments ago.)

I figure if it worked then, it would work now. So instead of allowing my inner slave driver to goad me and make me feel worthless and lazy because I can't do everything at once, I'm going to tackle today — and the rest of this week — one moment at a time.

Happy Monday to you all, my friends! May this week bring you a sense of joy and accomplishment as well!

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