Schedule and take care of maintenance tasks as they arise. Don’t wait until you reach for the resource in question only to realize it is unavailable without additional time investment.
Typical issue for someone with a car where the back seat is fully taken up by child seats: in order to transport any piece of furniture, you need to disassemble what feels like half the car and remove the child seats. What happens then? Well, the furniture loading and unloading is followed by getting it to the place it shall occupy, and possibly additional cleaning and assembly. It is often heavy, the process of assembly is lengthy, and, by the time it’s done, rest is the only thing on your mind. Then children need your attention, the cat wants outside, it’s dinner time, and, before you know it, your mind is elsewhere.
What happens the next morning? Everyone is rushing to get ready for work or errands after night-time parenting, the time is at a premium, the passions are running high, you grab the kids, get to the car… and realize that the seats are not there. Now children have to be taken back home with one of the parents (if that’s even a possibility), seats have to be installed in a rush, end up crooked and need to be reinstalled, every belt and clasp gets in the way, the process takes twice as long and is way more frustrating than it needs to be, impatient children that just got to grab some toys and set to play at home have to be ushered out once more, and there you are, half an hour later, now definitely running late and having used up a lot of physical and emotional energy. Lesson learned? Get the car back to its normal state right after you are done using it in another way.
Car maintenance is a classical example: if you don’t fill up the gas or the washer liquid as they are getting low, you will find yourself running on empty or unable to drive in muddy weather because you cannot see anything out of a splattered windshield. The same, however, goes for any type of maintenance, no matter how small. Without sorting laundry on a regular basis, you will run out of cloth diapers when you have a squirming baby in your arms and will have to find diapers as the baby clings to you – and if you are unlucky, the phone and the doorbell will be ringing and the baby will pee, as you are trying to rummage through clothes. Postponing washing pots or cleaning up the kitchen after a cooking session will shorten the time you have for cooking next time, as you have to first clear out your workspace and make sure the pots and pans you need are clean. This, in turn, can result in hungry children expressing their frustration in destructive ways while you are desperately trying to get the dinner on the table. A good way to remember these tasks is to set them up so you trip over them.
Same goes for your body as well: for instance, not getting sufficient sleep on a regular basis will catch up with you, and you will collapse when your participation is needed most. And if you are not clearing out emotional baggage regularly, you might be stopped in your tracks as you realize you are being incapacitated by a situation that has become wrapped up in too much fear or apprehension.
Take time to schedule and perform maintenance in all of these areas as the need arises. Have your resources lined up ready to use, instead of being in perpetual state of semi-readiness. Avoid being drained by insignificant details that grow to be urgent because they were not addressed in time.
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