The Mental Arts Tidbit for February 23
Dirty dishes are the *worst*
The Mental Arts Tidbit
Of all the household chores that stress me out the most, it would be the job of tackling dirty dishes.
(Note: Obligatory disclaimer for those concerned about division of labor: my partner helps out with chores and we have a chore chart that we follow throughout the week.)
I liken a sink full of dirty dishes to my life, especially when problems pile up. Like, piling up to the point where you can’t even pick up something to clean because that would topple over several things, or you start washing one thing and then spill water all over the counter because there is literally not enough room to do anything.
This isn’t a piece about how prevention is the best course of action.
Of course we all know that. I know that. But it’s really when things have already reached a moment of crisis, when the #publicfreakout seems inevitable, then what do you do?
Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks for washing the dishes, especially when the job seems impossibly large and overwhelming. It can be summarized through the following takeaways:
Accept that things are going to get messier before they get better. That is the likely product of digging into a tough situation.
Remember that you have options — so, it’s okay if you end up doing things that you don’t normally do — if it gives you that necessary space (physical or mental) to work, do it.
Alternate between tackling the smallest and biggest items first — small items give you an energy boost from a small win, and big items help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Do your best and don’t give up.” - recent quote from my online jiu jitsu coach
Try This Tidbit
Pick a big and overwhelming thing, and imagine it to be a sink full of dirty dishes. What will you do to tackle the dirty pots, plates, spoons, etc.?
Have You Heard?
Cody Maltais doesn’t usually do podcast interviews, but he said that he did this one because he liked me and the book we were discussing: The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin.