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Monday, October 01, 2012

The One Thing

Last week I wrote about my new resolution to accomplish one thing, one out-of-the-ordinary thing, a day.

I'm so glad I made that resolution and wrote about it.  Just this morning I woke up thinking, "I need to buy new shirts for Nathan, there's laundry piling up, the kitchen floor needs to be mopped, there are dishes from the weekend lying around, I wanted to buy clips to hang Nell's curtains, the front yard landscaping work is barely half done..."

I have a way of overwhelming myself with to-do lists.  And then I get sort of paralyzed just thinking about it all, and somehow, I don't know where or how to start.

I'm keeping life manageable by reminding myself that - aside from keeping up with the necessaries like laundry and dishes - even if I do just one thing a day, in a week I will have done seven things.  In a month, thirty things.  And think of what I can do in a year!  The small things will keep adding up.

So here is the first in a new series of Monday blog posts here at being sarah marie, the One Thing series.  I might share one thing I accomplished in the previous week, or I might share each day's thing.  I might show you how one day I dug a hole, the next I bought a shrub, and the third day I planted it; or perhaps I will have done all of that in a day and considered it the One Thing.  That's the beauty of the One Thing.  The rules are flexible.

(I have my improv teacher from Boston Conservatory to thank for sharing this quote.  I think it summarizes what the One Thing resolution is all about.)

Last week, Tuesday's One Thing was sewing the third of four curtain panels for Nell's room, and Wednesday's One Thing was sewing the final panel.  Then, I just had to buy the curtain clips and hang them.  So, here are the results of several of last week's One Things: yellow damask curtains for my girl, hung in place and lending a sunny cheer to the room.

And because I love it, here's a view of the beautiful sailboat mobile my parents made for Nell while I was pregnant with her.  She loves gazing at the colorful, shiny hulls while I blow on the sails to send the boats bobbing in circles.

Oh, and here's the cute reason for the little yellow and grey room:

Are you inspired by Mark Twain?  Do you want to participate in The One Thing?

Let me know -- maybe I'll make the event into a weekly link-up for bloggers!


  1. I'm a friend of Melodee's who's been a long-time lurker (that sounds so creepy - I don't mean to be a creeper, though! :) ) and i'm so glad you're doing this series! I have a not-quite-six-month-old and have recently come to the conclusion that for the sake of my sanity, i need to stop trying to get through a to-do list every day. There will always be one more corner of the house to clean, but my daughter won't always be six months old. And i hope i won't always be this tired. :) My adjusted list includes making dinner, doing anything else absolutely necessary, and a couple things like drinking tea! But i really like how you've put a positive spin on this. I look forward to the rest of your posts!

    1. I couldn't agree more -- I often remind myself when Nell is a little fussy that she doesn't need me to do dishes, clean up, wash laundry, or even do special projects (like curtains) in that moment... she needs her mama. And I won't ever get those moments with her again!

  2. I am definitely on the "one thing" train, but in characteristic overachiever style, this week I have at LEAST two things on my list for each day. However, it should be noted I have a 3.5 year old, not a .5 year old :) I guess what I am trying to say is, in three years your capacity to get things done will double!

  3. I probably ought to join in on this, but I have so many dang THINGS TO DO that it sounds almost laughably impossible. I suppose you feel the same way though. What if I try to do "one thing" for each of the hats I'm wearing? One thing as a liturgist/choir directress, one thing as a homeschooling mom, one thing to be nice to my husband, one thing as a doula, one thing as a homemaker?

    Or maybe I will get a large box of chocolates, curl up on the couch, and read about your accomplishments instead. That sounds far more achievable. can that be my one thing?

  4. I would SO participate in a link-up!!!

    I need to be encouraged to limit myself to one thing a day. My problem is I wake up, like you, overwhelmed by the to-do list, and I start three or four tasks. By the time I get to the end of the day, I've been interrupted by kids many times, and I end up with three or four unfinished tasks... there's a load of laundry in the washer, I made the pie filling but not the pie crust, and I started to sort the junk drawer and the contents are now lying all over the floor. I end up feeling not only frustrated that I didn't get anything done, but also stressed out that I created a mess.

    I would feel so much better just starting one thing, and getting it done. Bravo Mark Twain!

    1. Yes... this is exactly my problem; I end days with half a dozen projects started and none of them finished. :) It is really benefitting me to challenge myself to one non-essential thing a day. It's better to finish one thing than to start lots, right?

  5. Poor Nathan doesn't get new shirts. Perhaps he can make them from the old drapes like Maria von Trapp would've done...

  6. Yes! The One Thing idea was how I got through those early baby months. Now my kids are a little older and I thought I had gotten better at time management and productivity, but with the start of preschool I'm finding my days busy in different ways and in desperate need of some refocusing of my efforts.
    Would love to link up... mentioned your post in my blog post tonight. Consider me a friend of a friend (of a friend?)... either way, I enjoy your blog very much - and love those curtains!