If there are two things in life that are certain – death and taxes – then I’d like to add to that list. Two things that certainly NEVER get finished – housework and emails. When life gets busy, these two everyday, necessary chores are the bugbear of my life. Increasingly so…. And they both have a lot in common.
They can be ignored, but they pile up, weighing on your conscience. And the longer you leave tackling them, the bigger and more daunting they appear.
I used to be much more responsible on both fronts. When I worked at Ten, I had a set period of time where I would deal with emails and because I had a routine, I managed to deal with them all. But then I was juggling only one job. Now, wearing several hats, the email input is busier than ever and life has less structure in terms of dealing with it.
I became weary of being the one person I knew who emailed everyone back ‘straight away’. It became a reflex. Even at home. Hear the email ‘ping’ on your phone, and there I was, tapping away a reply instantly. I became frustrated if others didn’t do the same. So now, I’ve decided to be like everyone else and take my time. Not do emails on the weekend, because hey, everyone needs a break, don’t they?
I’m not sure it’s such a good idea. Right now I can see 109 emails in my inbox… Perhaps I should go back to being ‘Responsible Jen’?
Emails are also like housework in that they both invoke a feeling of Groundhog Day Syndrome. As soon you THINK you’ve finished, sit back smiling with a wine in hand, the computer pings or you spy a cobweb in the corner and it’s time to begin all over again.
It’s just like Joan Rivers says. ‘I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.’ Okay, so I don’t leave it six months between the washing up cycles, but it feels like every day the list of chores in my head grows longer and more tedious.
Like housework, emails don’t care if you’re going through a busy patch. They don’t stop and say, ‘Hang on, Jen’s under the pump. Let’s lay off a bit.’ Oh no, they just keep growing and growing, turning into a bigger, dirtier pile than ever that you have to deal with once that other busy stuff is done.
We used to have cleaners, but more than a year ago decided to ditch that idea. With me not ‘officially’ working, it seemed indulgent, especially when they took such long ciggie breaks outside, turned up late and there was the constant pressure of having to ‘tidy up for the cleaners’. It just wasn’t worth the trouble.
To his credit, Fletch does more than his fair share of the household chores. Ever since I started this Blogging caper, I’ve been scampering upstairs to my office, pronouncing I have a ‘very important’ blog to write and letting the housework slide. He’s picked up the slack without complaint. But as I tap away and hear him washing the dishes downstairs, I do start to feel guilty. He doesn’t lay a guilt trip on me either, which makes it worse. He really needs to develop a few flaws.
To combat the guilt factor, I actually pulled out the vacuum this morning and decided a full spring clean of the bedroom was required. I’m talking vacuuming BEHIND the bed-head and getting on a ladder to dust the light fitting!! Impressed? I was.
And the funny thing was that as I cleaned away, slightly resentful of the boring tasks at hand, I was hit with some fab blogging ideas.
So perhaps there is an upside to this housework burden after all? Perhaps cleaning can be a source of creative inspiration? I might even tackle the rumpus room tomorrow. If this keeps up, I’ll be Australia’s answer to Martha Gardner before the week’s out. Watch this space.