A dab of obsession plus a dash of compulsion

I think I’ve posted before about my terrible case of house-related ADD.  The minute I think about a project, there’s about fifteen other projects that immediately jump to mind, and they’re all jostling for my attention.  Over the years I’ve learned that multitasking house projects is a recipe for half-assed disaster. So I’ve been trying something new lately, inspired by my attempt to develop a meditation practice: I obsessively focus one ONE project.

It started a few weeks ago when Greg was away camping.  A weekend alone makes my mind reel with the possibilities of what I’ll get done when I’m not pressured to do annoying things, like leave the house and eat real meals.  Unfortunately history has taught me that a free weekend full of possibilities can quickly turn into a depressing Sunday night of failure when you try to fit too much in.  I typically go through four stages:  1.  Excitement.  2.  Overwhelmingness (yes I just made up that word) 3. Paralysis and 4. Eating a block of cheese and watching X-Files reruns.  

Actually remembering these past failures, this time I decided not to overdo it.  My only goal for the entire weekend was to finish painting the new bedroom doors, and do it well.  A very doable project.  Anything more than that was free game.  So leading up to the weekend, I kept thinking about the doors, and nothing else.  I burned it into my brain.  “Just paint the doors.  Just paint the doors.  Just paint the doors.”  And amazingly, it worked.  I painted the damn doors.  I listened to some podcasts, took time to tape everything off, get all my materials gathered, and do it properly.  And since I felt so gosh darn good about myself for doing that, I was able to spend the rest of the weekend (between coats of paint) doing things like hanging out reading at a coffee shop and going out for dinner and drinks with friends, and yes, watching X-Files reruns.  But it wasn’t depressing, “I love you Mulder, but I should really be working on cleaning up the office” X-Files reruns, it was actual “I deserve to hang out with my boyfriend Fox because I worked so hard on those doors” X-Files reruns.  

So I’ve been putting this to use on other projects and it seems to be working pretty well.  Going into this past weekend, my only goal was to switch out my winter clothes.  So when Sunday came and the drizzle started drizzling, I was all prepared with what to do.  

Next on the obsession list?  Working on the laundry room.  But the trick is that I didn’t think about it.  It was somewhere in the distant back of my mind that the laundry room needed to be cleaned up, but I kept that feeling at bay and didn’t let it get in the way of the “switch out my winter clothes” declaration.  But it was there, patiently waiting in the wings for when the closet
was done, at which point it jumped out and screamed, “IS IT MY TURN!?!  Oh pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!!!”  So Monday afternoon while the rest of the east coast was suffering devastating  wind and storm surges, I was hunkered down with the vacuum, some masking tape and a Sharpie, as evidenced by my last post.

What’s that you say?  Three instances do not a trend make? Well first off that’s actually wrong, according to my memory of plotting points on a graph in geometry. But if that’s not enough for you, stay tuned for the results of my most recent obsessive project…

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