Toothpaste

I like to think I’m a fairly responsible person. I’m a firstborn, and we are the responsible folks of the world. (OK, so much for the stereotype.)

When I see something that needs to be done, I do it. Or I procrastinate! Do you identify?

I recently did a deep clean of my bathroom and found not one, but FOUR tubes of toothpaste with a little product left in each one. I think I’ve maybe had two before, but FOUR!

When I’m getting ready to go somewhere or to bed at night, I just want to brush my teeth. I don’t want to mess with little bits of toothpaste (that I perceive to take too much of my energy.) There is little counter space in my bathroom, so getting that last little bit out adds a few annoying seconds to my busy lifestyle.

This all sounds rather terrible; surely there are bigger fish in life to fry! And certainly, there are MUCH bigger problems in the world to solve!

But we all have little things in our lives that bug us until we take care of them.

Maybe it’s the flowers that need to be deadheaded so they can bloom again, or that phone call you’ve been meaning to make, or that closet that desperately needs cleaning out.

Research shows that simply writing something down—getting it out of your head—can reduce mental and emotional fatigue. Not only do TO-DO lists help you prioritize and plan, but they also help reduce what you are burdened to carry around in your head.

Many self-development gurus, like Seth Godin and Rob Bell talk about the importance of saying “yes” to the things we really want and then committing to STEP 1.

Saying yes means you commit to a thing.

Taking the first step moves you closer to a solution.

I realized I needed to move the toothpaste from the bathroom to the kitchen where I have more counter space to squeeze out the last bits. Then it became easy to realize the next steps (squeeze the tubes, take them back to the bathroom, use the ends, and throw out the spent tubes).

What are your tubes of toothpaste? What are those things you know you need to take care of but try to ignore? Identifying them is likely the first step. And not beating yourself up too badly is important too. OK, so you are human and you sometimes procrastinate!

Then consider what would be a doable first step to moving you closer to dealing with the task? You sometimes don’t even have to solve the whole problem. Think about what would move you closer to your goal and start there. Just START!

 

 

* From Rob Bell’s new podcast, The Robcast Episode 1, January 11, 2015