Wash Your Dish When You’re Done

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”  ~Helen Keller

I have a standing appointment every Thursday at 6p almost without fail. Yet, I struggle to leave work at 5p in order to get there without feeling rushed or worrying about being late. Ridiculous!

The main reason is I wait until 4:50ish to wash my dishes. I pack food for the day, breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks nearly everyday. Dinner may be included depending on what’s happening right after work. Packing my food makes the day less stressful, and helps keep me healthy. The thing is I hate washing dishes. I put it off while dishes pile up at my desk. Breakfast container pushed to the corner. Lunch container shoved to the side. Mini snack container tossed into the lunch container. I have other tasks more important than attending to dishes! Or so I tell myself.

A few week ago procrastination put me in the middle of horrible traffic. I arrived at my appointment with 2 minutes to spare. It started me thinking about routine and behavior. The past three weeks were a struggle for several reasons. One of the  suspects is not having a routine. I was traveling, then was sick. Like washing dishes when you’re done, setting a schedule and routine provides the next indicated action. Isn’t that how anything is accomplished? By taking the next indicated action.

For example, if I’d gone shopping, prepared and placed meals in the freezer before traveling, then I wouldn’t have missed meal and been stress as how to feed myself while I was sick. No, I couldn’t foresee being sick, but I knew I’d need to eat when I got back. Preparing food ahead of time is the next indicated action, if I want to make having good, healthy food easy and readily accessible. (Yes, towards the end, I finally asked friends for help, but that challenge is for another post.)

I have this grand vision for a long, healthy life full of love, laughter, adventure, community and service. At times, the vision seems so far away. Beth Wittig, a wonderful health coach I worked with last year, taught me the rule of “AND.” Honor now AND hold space for the future. Those small tasks or indicated actions are part of a new way of being for me. Each time I complete them, I’m honoring now, and the life I say I want.

Helen Keller Small Tasks


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