Do You Remember The Essay I’m Talking About?

Dear FlyLady and Gang,
I have been fluttering along with you for quite some time.  Sometimes I do better than other times.  But whenever I get behind I always know I can jump back in.  Last year was a big year for us, I went back to work full time, we moved, my DH started a business and he went back to school!!  There is a lot of work going on in our home office and it was a disaster!!
I hadn’t done any filing and the papers I moved from the old house were still sitting in boxes.  DH business papers were scattered and mixed with his schoolwork.  I had bills all over the house, paid and unpaid.  I bring home papers from the office and they were in there somewhere too.  Throw in computer games and homework for two boys and you can see what a mess I had.  Enough was enough!  I decided today was the day to tackle our paper clutter — (and those famous words) ONCE AND FOR ALL!!
FlyLady, I forgot you!  First I pulled everything out of the boxes and cabinets.  I spent hours organizing everything into piles.  To make a long story short, I was just about to embark on a very elaborate numbering scheme for my files when I found one of your emails I had printed (intending to file).  It was titled Crash and Burn Syndrome:  I Know How to Nip it in the Bud!!  In it you talk about hyper-focusing and perfectionism.  FlyLady, I thought I was a slob.  I didn’t realize what a perfectionist I am!!  You said if you find yourself resetting your timer after the 15 minutes are over, STOP!!
Thanks for the Godbreeze!  I finally understand perfectionism!  I put things off until I can do them “perfectly”.  And guess what?  That day never comes!  Instead I will make this room a decluttering priority, work 15 minutes, and then move on!!
Thanks FlyLady!Flying a little higher in Ohio

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FlyLady Emily here: I feel like this testimonial is a great way to remind all of us to take babysteps and start out with just 15 minutes at a time!
Here is the essay she was talking about:
Dear Friends,
I get asked many times when do I get to do my sewing, scrapbooking or any other hobby or craft. Right now, I want us to look at this. Now, don’t get me wrong we all need some down time, but let’s examine our personalities in depth first.
As SHEs, we have a tendency to hyper-focus and you all know what I mean. It is the perfectionism in us that causes us to keep going and spread our project all over our homes. If you have ever scrubbed the grout in a tile floor with a toothbrush to make it all white, then you know exactly how we can hyper-focus. It is this inability to stop when we should that hurts us, our families and our homes. For some reason, we have trouble with our starter and our breaks on our little engine.
If we think that we don’t have enough time to do a job right, then we won’t even start. If we ever do get the time, we can’t stop till it is all done right. It doesn’t matter that dinner needs to be started or that the house has been trashed by the kids while you were on your never ending mission to perfectionism. We are going to do it right if it kills us. You can’t tell me that you have never said those words under your breath or even out loud to your family.
This inability to stop causes us to crash and burn. This is why I want you to take babysteps and learn that it is OK not to do something perfectly. Some of you have found great success in just a few days and I really worry about you because of this “gung ho” mentality. We have all done this in the past and this is why our family just rolls their eyes at this new FlyLady kick you are on. Good, efficient habits take time to establish. Just as your home did not get trashed in a day, neither are your routines going to become instilled in your mind and body overnight.
This is all a process of establishing one habit at a time and building upon what you have learned by adding another one to your routine; taking babysteps. I don’t expect you to have a full blown routine in a week. It took me nine months to give birth to my new life. If you think you can do this faster, then I believe that you are back into your perfectionism. My routines have become part of me. Now that they are established, my body goes through the motions without even thinking about them. This is how my home practically cleans itself.

Learn to use your timer for most everything you do. This gives you a feeling of accomplishment as well as giving you permission to not overdo and burn out. If you find yourself resetting the timer after your 15-minutes are over… STOP THIS! It is your perfectionism trying to follow the FlyLady Way to a T while still being entrapped by your perfection to keep going till it is done. Practice quitting! You will come back to it.

The reason that you will come back is because you have not burned yourself out. When we have let our bathrooms go till we can’t stand it any longer, we get in there and spend 3 hours cleaning. After you have finally finished, you don’t want to see another bathroom to clean for a while, so you don’t! Then it goes until it is totally disgusting and you wouldn’t let your mother in there, would you! I want this crash and burn attitude to go away forever.
My bathroom never has to be marathon cleaned, because I clean just a little each time I am in there. A little swish and swipe and it is done. Having a presentable bathroom is a gift to you and it really doesn’t have to kill you to keep it that way. It is all just a habit, to pick up after yourself while you are in there and do a few seconds worth of cleaning each time you are in there. Don’t let perfectionism keep you from doing a little each day!
Are you ready to FLY?
FlyLady
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