Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's All About A Drip in the Bucket

My friend, Lisa Miller, told me about a guest blogger on Zen Habits who wrote about The Power of the Gradual. The blogger talked about turning a water tap on just to drip into a bucket then walk away. Later, the amount of water collected in the bucket surprised him.

Many tasks when viewed from the big picture perspective, such as the following, look simply too overwhelming to begin:

• Cleaning out and organizing a garage, or
• Removing outdated clothes from your closet, or
• Throwing out food in your kitchen cabinets with an expiration date of 2007 (2007? Yikes), or
• Cleaning out a child’s playroom and removing outgrown toys freeing up valuable storage space for new toys (from Gramdma!), or
• Completing a deep editing pass of your current work in progress,

You need a starting point that doesn’t overwhelm you. You need a – drip!

Start with one section of the room or closet. Not only will that give you a sense of accomplishment, but it will also motivate you to move on to the next section, and the next. In a few days, or weeks, or however long it takes, you’ll be able to look from the big picture perspective again and pat yourself on the back, or click your heels together if you happen to be young enough to get both feet off the ground at the same time!

Now that I think about it…if I could just get the clothes that are stacked haphazardly on top of my dresser, back into the drawers they belong, then I’d be taking a small step at solving a larger problem. I don’t have to clean out all the drawers today. Whew! But if I have to remove something old that I don’t wear when I put away something current that I do, then I’ll at least have taken a step at cleaning out all the drawers and all the closets.

Actually, I think I’d rather tackle that deep editing pass. Reading about love and romance is much more fun!

It’s all about a drip in the bucket.
Have a blessed day, Katherine


Teresa Reasor said...

Beautiful blog. And I like that visual of one drop at a time. Since I have a water theme going on in my current WIP that fits really well. And it feels as though I've written the thing one drip at a time.

I love the picture you used, too.

Write on,

Julie Robinson said...

Thanks you, Katherine! You're a woman of my own heart. That list makes me think you've been in my house. :-)

Yes, there are days I feel overwhelmed looking at all the mess. So I really like that 'drip in the bucket' story. The imagery is very striking, and I can see it happening---slowly but surely.


Mary Ricksen said...

I have to clean my whole house, ouch!
How do I get motivated to do that?

Susan Macatee said...

I'm with you, Katherine! I always find myself rushing through my household chores to get to my writing session.

And with several projects in different stage of development, the hardest things can be just deciding which one to work on that day.

Kathye Quick said...

I kinds do that with my writing.

Since I have a full time job to pay th bills until I am a widly successful Pulitzer Prize winner, I try to do at least 3 pages a day. I was really surprised when I went to number chaoter seven and found I had already done 81 pages of my WIP.

I may even finish it before ice sheets cover the earth!

Debra St. John said...

Katherine, This was a great post. What a fabulous way to think about things, step by step, small pieces at a time, rather than being overwhelmed by the whole "bucket" at once. Thanks for sharing!

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