Intruding Tasks

Do you remember Ma in the Little House on the Prairie books and the daily tasks that ordered her weeks?

She washed on Monday, ironed on Tuesday, mended on Wednesday, churned butter on Thursday, cleaned on Friday, baked on Saturday, and rested on Sunday.

I always loved the orderliness of it all and how no task intruded on any other.

Something I’m learning is how to partition my own days so no task intrudes on another. If I don’t do this, my life becomes a jumble of tasks that dilutes focus, efficiency, and pleasure. And every day feels weighted down by innumerable projects.

But if I designate a day for this project, it receives all the focus, energy, and pleasure. I teach on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so students, lesson plans, lectures, and grading receive exclusive attention. All that grading cannot intrude into writing days or cleaning days.

It feels better to live like this so I’m not always thinking about everything all the time.

I wonder if Ma woke up on Mondays all worried about the butter churching and simply said, “I’ll churn on Thursday.” It was Monday, so the butter didn’t intrude; the ironing didn’t intrude.

And all the work was finished in time to rest on Sunday.


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