When I was in college, I worked at a locally famous barbecue restaurant. We had huge lunch rushes and then a lot time sitting around. They employed some real characters in the kitchen, including a dishwasher who quite literally lived in the broom closet. He was a hard worker despite his problems, and was promoted to assistant cook. Soon he was everyone’s favorite cook to work with because he got food out quickly and never seemed overwhelmed and angry.
Here was his advice to me when I asked him how he was so quick:
“You just do what you can, where you are.”
He didn’t mean this in a philosophical t-shirt slogan way. He meant to do what needs doing in your present physical location. If you were in the freezer getting fries, well then go ahead and get the onion rings. If you were outside sweeping, better wipe down the outside tables too. If you need to restock your napkins, straighten up the shelf that they are on so you find things easily next time you go in there. And then when tons of food orders started pouring in during the lunch rush, he was ready. There was no running out of onion rings and wasting time running to the freezer while he was supposed to be cooking. No frantically searching for a needed to go container in the messy supply room when an order came in. All of that was already done.
Here are some little ways that I have been doing what I can, where I am.
-organizing the kids bathroom cabinet while they take a bath
-doing one deep cleaning kitchen task while getting a snack or cup of tea
-collecting glasses out of whatever bedroom I go in
-cleaning one shower wall every time I take a shower (keep a dish wand filled with soap and vinegar in the shower)
-bringing in a piece of two of firewood every time I go outside
-bringing up something from the deep freezer when I come up from working out in the basement
-cleaning out the snack cabinet when restocking from the grocery store
-throwing trash out of the car while getting gas (I guess everyone already does this!)
-weeding a small area while watching the kids play outside
-straightening a bookshelf after taking out a book
-dumping my water glass in a houseplant as I walk by
-always bringing a basket with me outside so I can collect eggs, gather kindling, or bring in things from the garden
It helps! The to do list is shorter because so much is happening naturally.