“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” Robert Frost
I follow the blogs of several authors. A while back, one of them wrote about trying to accomplish three things every day. They could be big things or small things, but if she completed three, she considered her day a success. Early in the Pandemic, getting out of bed, showering, and getting dressed qualified. As the Pandemic progressed, she did more normal tasks until her life was almost the way it had been before.
I am a person who has to be busy, ticking off chores large and small, in many parts of my life. When the Pandemic hit, I was flummoxed as to what was important to accomplish because what normally was important didn’t seem so much now. I struggled; should I work on repertoire? Re-invent my chamber choir online? Try to keep relevant to our local art scene, despite the fact NO ONE else in our local art scene was? Since I couldn’t do much with my chamber choir, should I concentrate on the Homefront?
The answers to my own questions were mixed but, after weeks of uncertainty, I decided to take one day at a time. That helped me feel a bit better. It wasn’t until I read that author’s blog, I realized I was doing, instinctively, what she had decided to do to help herself through the Pandemic.
Some days, I had been doing unpleasant things, such as cleaning a bathroom, answering emails with difficult replies and returning phone calls–three things. Another day, I might do the grocery shopping (an ordeal, with masking and in-store shopper limits), call my Dad and do a load of laundry—three things. I baked cranberry bread and sent out my chamber choir weekly email and texted a friend—three things. It evolved to me doing certain things on certain days of the week but usually, three things. There was a rhythm to the days, just like Before Times, which comforted me.
And after reading her blog, I thought it interesting to limit it to accomplishing three things because there are days when I seem to get “so much done.” And then there are days when three is really pushing it. I wondered; why choose a particular number of tasks to complete each day? Getting one thing completed, especially if it’s a “big thing” or an “unpleasant thing,” can make you feel good, but more than one or two things accomplished every day, and you feel even better. It is easier to be successful if we ALREADY see ourselves as successful! We feel good, and good about ourselves, when we get stuff done. If we are able to finish three different things, especially during a difficult time, it feels good and that’s part of feeling successful.
I am preparing for my long-anticipated chamber choir summer retreat, with auditions starting a month before. Music needs to be collated, handouts and language sheets need to be collected and folders need to be organized before the retreat. I need to post auditions, do a snail mailing, and update our website; busy, but necessary work. Normally, I would be stressed out even though most of those tasks can be accomplished over a period of weeks. Using the Rule of Three, I am making a list of tasks to be done and assigning one or two of them per day over several weeks, the more time-sensitive ones to be done first. And I feel less stressed.
As we head toward more “normal” in our lives, there are several Pandemic ideas I am taking with me, several habits and outlooks which I believe will help me get back to my normal. One of them is the Rule of Three. It goes without saying, my new cranberry bread recipe is another!
What things have you learned during this time that you will continue to use when things are back to normal?
Until next week, be well and safe!
I have been taking my Choral Ethics Blogs to my chamber choir’s Facebook page but am not able to this morning. *See* you next week!