Bite Sized Bits
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Have you ever heard the joke:

“How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time!”

Well, probably you have since that’s one of the oldest jokes in existence. It dawned on me earlier this year that this joke was the greatest advice I could take right now. No, I don’t intend on eating anything on the Endangered Species List. (Maybe I should have gone with the bite sized candy bars analogy instead. Eating chocolate is also some great advice.) I mean I’m tackling things a little bit at a time this year.

I’d been feeling a little bit down, feeling like I couldn’t do much to help around the house. Having stage 3 COPD is pretty limiting for me and there’s always lots to do with the house, the garden, pets, and a family. Each of them requires some attention and I can’t give them all a lot.

It all felt overwhelming and I ended up not doing anything most days.

So I came up with a plan – a cunning plan, a plan so cunning that it was sure to fail not more than twice. Extra points if you get that reference. Anyway, I decided to follow the modern trend of bite sized candy, small snippets of news from the media, very short commercials, and the tiny amounts of letters you can use on a Twitter post. I tackled the jobs that need to get done a little bit at a time.

I resolved to give my family, including my pets, most of my attention since they’re the most important to me, and give my house and garden little bits of the energy I had left. As I can, of course. It can vary day by day for me, depending on how much I did the day before or how I’m feeling. That’s pretty normal with COPD, as you probably know.

For instance, I’m organizing and cleaning one drawer of my dresser at a time.

I started with the hardest – the dreaded sock drawer. My washing machine demands regular hosiery sacrifices. My son doesn’t pair up our socks when he does the laundry and so I have a mess of socks spouting from my dresser drawer like snakes on Medusa’s head. I paired them up and mourned the odd leftovers for having lost their mate, then tossed them into the garbage. It all felt good and now I can actually close that drawer.

I also organized my silverware drawer.

I’m very proud of this one because it tends to be our kitchen utensil odds and ends catch-all. Like drinking straws. I marveled at all of the used straws in that thing, wondering if they multiply on their own since we don’t use them. Where did they come from? What do they want? Do they know where my lost socks are?

The most fun project I’ve worked on so far has been our bookshelves.

We have a lot of books and they tend to get out of order and messy since we’re too lazy to put them back right. This was fun, but it took the longest time by far. Of course, that’s because I spent more time reading through the books than I did cleaning the shelf. Did you know that the York Collected Works of Shakespeare is a really huge book?

The most rewarding small job I’ve done was sweep everything out from under the couch.

I made $1.37 in change doing that. I also found the stash of cat toys and freed them from their dark davenport dungeon. The cats are overjoyed. I am now not only a food goddess, but the keeper of toys goddess. No, really I mean minion.

If you’re like me and you can’t do a lot of things but want to do something try this technique of small manageable tasks. It has really helped the house, and helped me feel better.

If you have tips or suggestions on how you manage, please share it with me; I’d love to hear them!

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