Thursday, July 29, 2004

Regression into SHEness
Canisters on shelf in kitchen
It was a simple, finite task. Take the canisters off the top shelf in the kitchen, wipe the canisters off, wipe the shelf off, put the canisters back. Should take five minutes max.

First, I took the canisters down and washed the lids in the dishwater. Next, I climbed up on a stool to wipe off the shelf. While I was up there, I noticed that the wall over the shelf needed washing off. I found my cloth up there wiping it, but the stool wasn't high enough for me to get all the way to the ceiling.

Climbing down to get a step stool, I noticed a button I'd been meaning to sew on Bob's shirt. I went in the back bedroom to get a needle and thread. While I was there, I remembered I had to send in a prescription today, which meant filling out a form for Caremark. It was very important to have that ready for the mail person, so I sat down and did it right then, put a stamp on it, and took it out to the mailbox.

Now it's fifteen minutes after I started a five minute job. The canisters are unwiped and sitting on the counter, the lids are in the dish drainer, the bulkhead is half washed, the button is still waiting, and I'm standing out by the road pulling a few weeds.

I'm capable of doing housework for two hours and having the house look worse when I'm done than when I started. In fact, many is that time I've done just that.

There's a name for this: SHE, Sidetracked Home Executive. Over 200,000 SHEs, including myself, belong to Flylady, a very special Yahoo group to teach SHEs how to do what's important at home.

Thanks to Flylady, I realized immediately that I'd been sidetracked, got back on track, and finished what I had set out to do.

At work I was never a SHE. I was a project leader. I knew the critical path and I made sure everyone stayed on it - including me. Year after year I was commended for being organized and getting things done on time.

I haven't identified a critical path for housework yet. To my mind, it's a circular, neverending process. Do it and soon it needs to be done again.

Does housework have a critical path?