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The Power of One Minute

May 13, 2014

My friend Deb can’t stand emptying the dishwasher. “Not that it’s hard,” Deb says, “I just hate doing it.” Since Deb lives alone her only alternative is washing the dishes herself. To combat her annoyance with this luxury (yes, in Manhattan, a dishwasher is a luxury) she tries “to empty the dishwasher in the time it takes my coffee to percolate.” She’s simply taken the focus off the chore and made it into a game.

And who doesn’t love games?

With every organizing project I face, my aim is to create a challenge or at the very least, add some levity. Whether it’s cleaning out a closet (I must get rid of ten things!), reorganizing a garage (listen to music!), or tackle errands (soft ice cream when I’m done!), turning it into a challenge makes it feels less like work and more like play.

Deb’s aversion to emptying the dishwasher got me thinking. How long does it really take to complete most household chores and what other tasks do we put off that can be completed fairly quickly? Ironing shirts? Paying bills? Cutting up celery? Taking out the recycling? If finding a way to create a challenge (dare I say distraction?) helps you complete your To Dos, then why not? What you may discover upon finishing each task is that it didn’t take as much time as you thought, which may motivate you to tackle another.

I’m back in Florida this week spending precious minutes with my grandfather. Between doctor visits and evenings by the pool, I’m getting him to pare down paper, Tupperware (click here for video of our Tupperware Tango) and toiletries. Since these projects take me no time, with each completed one, I immediately start another, to which Papa says, “That’s enough for today, save the rest for another time. Slow down.” I can only smile back. How do I explain that, for me, this is slow?



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  1. Jamie Barr permalink

    Awesome video!

  2. james nomikos permalink

    felice, what is it about seniors and tupperware?? my step mother at 89 had more that 89 tupperware containers. best naomi

  3. Shelly Cohen permalink

    Felice, you and papa have the best time together – even cleaning up. Save some tasks for me to do with papa………….Hugs to you both. Mom

  4. Joe Faucette permalink

    For the sake of a better word I use goal instead challenge. With a challenge, you can fail, but with a goal, you keep going until you reach it. I generally have a lot of Tupperware and butter tubs around too. When I make my Italian sauces, I fill the containers and give them to my neighbors and friends.
    Nice way to get rid of them. I’m like your grandfather, you never know when you going to need a special container, so you save them just in case.

  5. Albert permalink

    great article good video . Let me know when you got a minute

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