What’s your mantra?

Have you ever noticed how the more you have to do, the less you do?

I’ve been so busy lately with year end school activities that my house looks like a bomb went off. Really.

The more overwhelmed I get the more Scrabble on Facebook I just want to sit and play. Seriously, it’s like if I totally focus on something else the mess will just go away. But unfortunately you and I both know it just doesn’t work that way.

I know I have too much on my plate right now because yesterday I did something that I still can’t believe I did. My daughter’s class was going on a field trip and I was asked to meet up with them at the lake with all the picnic lunch supplies (hot dogs, chips, marshmellows, cookies, watermelon, plates, cups, etc..). Sounds easy right? I got everything packed up and organized into boxes, got it all loaded up into the van and away we went. I drove the half hour out and got there just as the very hungry kids in the school bus were pulling in. It was at that precise moment that I realized I’d forgotten one very important thing for a weinie roast. Umm, yah that would be the weiners which by the way are still sitting in the fridge in my basement. I was mortified! Thankfully we were able to get a hold of someone that hadn’t left town yet and they were able to go purchase us some more hot dogs and drive them out, whew. Lunch was a little late but luckily it all worked out in the end.

Yep today is about slowing down. It’s about turning off the computer and getting it together.

Here are a few things I’ll be working on today:


Outgrown clothes……

Outgrown toys…….

A linen closet that needs to be re-organized now that my baby(!) is no longer in his crib…..

Overflowing garbage baskets…..


Rhubarb from the in-laws waiting to be cut up…..

I realize now more than ever that sticking to my daily routines is a must. The feeling of being so overwhelmed that you don’t even know where to begin can bury us. Luckily those negative feelings are just that. I need to replace the negative mantra that blinks so brightly in my mind with something a little more positive and attainable.

Two of my favorite mantras that I constantly use and find very helpful are:

Slow and steady wins the race


Eat the frog*

I know it sounds silly but I literally say these over and over and over again when I need to focus.  Why? Because if I don’t negative nelly sneaks in to tell me how useless it is and to remind me how tired I am. Gosh that voice is powerful. Block it with reaffirming words and just keep plugging along.

I can do it.

We can do it!

Slow and steady wins the race….

Do you have a mantra that you find yourself repeating in order to get things done?

*Eat The Frog refers to biting the bullet and doing the least desirable chore first to get it out of the way. It’s amazing how getting that one thing done lifts a huge weight off your shoulders and makes everything else to follow that much easier.
Filed under: My Life, Organizing


44 Responses to What’s your mantra?

  1. 1
    Annie says

    Wow it is nice to see your house looking like mine!!

    See you on Saturday…Jen and Tam may come along as well.

  2. 2
    Stephani says

    I feel exactly the same way today! I had a ton of errands to run yesterday and didn’t get a thing done on my (newly created thanks to you!) daily cleaning list. I have so much to do today and yet I’m still on here blogging! I’m going to “Eat the Frog” right now!

  3. 3
    Jenn says

    I like to get the worst chore done first too, then it’s over and you aren’t thinking about it the whole time you are doing everything else. I still haven’t finished the baby’s room I walk by and think I need to do it then I go about my day because the only time he is ever in his room is to get a new bum or new clothes since we have started a new trend in my house Babies Do Not Sleep in Their Beds ! It’s great everyone should try it …Not !

  4. 4
    Jacki Hollywood Brow says

    I understand the part about Facebook scrabble.
    For me it is reading. The last time my husband was deployed I read four 600 page novels in a month.
    My house was a disaster.

    But after the books were done, I “ate the frog” (new expression for me) and got my own house organized.

  5. 5
    Michele says

    I’d be lost without my routines on those overwhelming days. When I have so much to do that just figuring out what to do is overwhelming, I know that if I can get through my routines things will keep moving ahead and I will have handled all the critical things.

  6. 6
    Amy says

    SO NICE to know that my house isn’t the only one that suffers when there are so many other things to do (some of which don’t really have to be done at all…). It’s a mess in here, but I did dig up some NICE red potatoes in my very first garden this morning!

  7. 7
    Omaha Mama says

    I’ve been feeling that same way for weeks! I’m finally digging out, just this week! I’ve been an organizing junkie this week, for sure. I don’t really have a mantra, but I do coach myself to just do SOMETHING, knowing that it will motivate me to do another and another (start in the kitchen, which leads to doing laundry, which leads to tidying bedromms, and so on).

    I hope that you have a very productive day!

  8. 8
    Avlor says

    “Just keep moving.” (like Dory in Finding Nemo – “Just keep swimming”.)

  9. 9
    Susanne says

    “A bunch of small steps add up”. If I can do just one small step they’ll eventually get the whole job done. Because of the nature of my job and it consuming my home, I have finally let go and accepted the fact that I will not usually be able to just do everything in one fell swoop. So as long as I’m making progress on something I try not to beat myself up about it.

    I’m feeling like that now too. My storage room is again overflowing and unorganized. That is one room that is very frustrating for me, as I may organize it, but everyone else just shoves things in. My gift wrap are definitely need something done!

  10. 10
    FishMama says

    Right there with ya. I guess my little saying is, “Do the next thing.” Which I need to go do, I guess.

  11. 11
    Supercool Mom says

    Mine is

    “One thing at a time, One thing at a time.”

    I have to constantly remind myself not to start new things until I’ve finished the project I’m working on.

  12. 12
    Kristin says

    WOW! I am not even sure how I happened to find your site, but I looked around to see if anyone was watching my face turn red from embarrassment because I believe that you wrote this post to me today. I am so excited about finding your site. I, too, love to organize, but I have horrible time management. We are also working on meal planning and living a more simple and healthy lifestyle. I’ve already bookmarked this site and plan to begin participating in the monday menu plan! It is so weird, our weekly schedules are very similar! I’m really needing to “eat the frog” now…so thank you! ;)

  13. 13
    Mikki says

    Does ” Get up from the computer and do something!” count?


    Glad to see your getting stuff done!

  14. 14
    Stephanie V. says

    I definately know about being busy. I have been trying to get my daugthers Homeschool Graduation Cermony together. Boy, I never knew there was so many detials! My mantra would be “Do what you can do today and the rest tomorrow.” I need to work on managing my time. Maybe oneday we can push a button like Judy Jetson lol.

  15. 15
    Angela says

    I ask myself, “What should I be doing RIGHT now?”
    “How long will it REALLY take?”

    These two questions help me get my butt in gear!

  16. 16
    Alyce says

    Oh Laura..I am the SAME way! And this week too..It was the last week of school for us, plus, with all that goes on, I have family (of 4) coming in on Saturday to stay with us for a week. So of course I am trying to get the house just so and making 100 lists..grocery, what room to clean on which day, etc. I am a list maker. I normally get overwhelmed and feel so tired and just want to sleep through it all! I am putting my girls to work tonight though, they must clean their rooms so we can get air mattresses in there for a week. I’ll be working hard too!

  17. 17
    amy says

    yea i did way better back in my working days when i did a planner and ABC…123 and all that jazz. i keep trying to get back to that. i’d eat the frog…or frogs one by one w/ the occassional stop for chocolate (or random game of online solotaire) but the chocolate was not the rule. Now when things get overwhelmed, i reach for chocolate…aka twaddling time away at the computer;)…reading vs. doing.

  18. 18
    Sandi says

    Rock on, girl! You are so right….Slow & Steady! I repeat that in my head (least the kids think I’m more crazy than they already do!) over and over during the day.

    I have made SOOOOO much progress since I’ve been visiting your blog, and I want to thank you. Thank you for helping me “want” to do it. I had no idea organizing was so addictive. (I’ve spent a good chunk on baskets and stuff, but so worth it!) I’ll be posting the “after” shots of my linen closet tonight. Would have had those up sooner, but my DH gave me a whopper of a cold; and it knocked me out for a few days. I actually did organize while sick because I was home anyhow, and I just couldn’t stop…but I was completely a zombie by the end of the day!

    You keep on! I think you are fabulous!

  19. 19
    JB says

    It’s so good to know that the school to summer switch threw someone else a curveball! I didn’t even try a meal plan this week…I started a huge project, painting the garage and somehow forgot that the inside of the house needed to be kept up too. I just walked in totally satisfied with my garage and the house is a wreck!! BACK IN THE SADDLE!

  20. 20
    Tara says

    “Do the right thing whether I feel like it or not.”

    I love rhubarb…I thought I was done for when I saw rhubarb on a no list for pregnancy- I called the advice nurse asking if I could still eat my strawberry rhubarb jam. Turns out it was just the powder form (uh, yuck!) and I was given the all clear. My only problem no w is finding enough to make as much jam as we’re eating!

  21. 21
    Alisha says

    I know what you mean. That’s exactly how I feel at the moment too! My mom (a professional cleaning lady) is coming to visit my house this weekend and I have a ton of stuff to do too! :P
    I’ll just keep chugging along!

  22. 22
    Jeanne B. says

    My distractions are either surfing the internet or writing in my journal (pondering stuff).

    Today, though, I’m proud of myself, because I tackled a mess that’s been nagging at me for weeks. I cleaned out the shed. The stuff that stays was put back in *gasp* an organized manner! I have room in there now! And that’s vital, because I am quitting the storage unit this month. It has to go somewhere.

    The happy thing is that it took less time than I was imagining and was easier than I thought. :-)

  23. 23
    Gigi says

    I’m delving into organization and just found — and love — your blog! Thanks for all the great “stuff”.

    I’m also working on some personal issues so recently decided on this mantra: Organize – Structure – Focus.
    I will get ORGANIZED so that I can have more STRUCTURE in my life so that I can FOCUS on the things that are important!

    Do you think I could be having a midlife crisis? The thought just came to mind.

  24. 24
    LouAnne says

    When I’m feeling overwhelmed I generally ask myself a question. “How do you eat an elephant?” and of course the answer is.. “One bite at a time!” :-)

    I did take some bites yesterday and posted some before and after shots of my *cough* laundry room and laundry room. Thankfully, it’s DONE! I know you’ll be able to eat your elephant too! :-D

  25. 25
    Heavenly Homemaker says

    Thanks for this post. I have felt very overwhelmed lately with about 14 important things going on. (I would have forgotten more than hot dogs…I think you did very well!)

    I just have to keep telling myself to plug away at it, and to make sure and enjoy my kids while I’m at it (instead of getting so busy, distracted and frustrated that I snap at them or ignore them). It’ll all get done eventually, right?

    (Oh, yeah, and I hand my kids the mop too…that helps.) :)

  26. 26
    Beth says

    Oh, MY! I think you’ve written the story of my life! Well, all except for the pictures-I’m too embarrassed to put those up on my blog.
    *furiously blushing*
    It’s not so much a saying, but there are times (like now) that I need to press the “suction release button” and get my backside UP from the computer chair!

  27. 27
    AnneMarieZ says

    mantra… that’s my problem.. I don’t have one! ha!!! I will blame my laundry not being done on my mantra or lack there of… lol!

    my frog…. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I think it’s the sacks of socks that must be folded…. they are just wating for me…
    and reorganizing kids rooms getting ready for baby #4!!!!

  28. 28
    Amber (Bringing Good says

    We are so much alike! Last week we had to deal with all the ballet recital stuff and this week we’ve had swimming lessons – though I don’t know why that’s interfering since we’re home by 10:30 in the morning.
    The messier mouse gets the more I want to ignore it. I’ll waste time online but I’m even too unmotivated to read my blog feeds or write a post. (Now, you know it’s sad when I’m too unmotivated to feed my addiction!)

    I really need to stop letting it affect my attitude, roll up my sleeves, and just get it done!

    You’re right:
    We can do it! We can do it!

  29. 29
    Amber (Bringing Good says

    Okay, that’s not supposed to say “the messier mouse” – it’s supposed to say “the messier my house” – proof positive that my brain has turned to jello with all the clutter, mess, and filth that’s overtaking my house.

  30. 30
    Leigh Anne says

    My children hear me say this all the time – “Do it First, Do it Now” – especially when it comes to homework but I also live by this mantra!

  31. 31
    Amy says

    You know what I do when I have a big cleaning or organizing task looming over me? I go read organizing blogs! :)

    ::ahem:: What I meant was yes, yes I do know that feeling of avoiding things. ;)

  32. 32
    Jennifer, Snapshot says

    I should eat the frog more often. I’m like you–the more I have to do, the more I just want to hide. Then that nervous feeling gets worse and worse. It would be better if I just DID it instead of delaying.

  33. 33
    Debbie JordanKravitz says

    I often work with clients who are overwhelmed by an organizing project, so much so that they just CAN’T get motivated to start. I like to remind them

    “SOME progress is better than NO progress! Just jump in and GET STARTED!”

    (I use this mantra for my own projects, too!)

  34. 34
    Organizing Mommy says

    Don’t feel bad. You did a large thing by helping out the kids at school. Sometimes our homes suffer a little because of our love for others. It’s not a bad thing, is it? I know you, though, you probably have that big list done already. So, how’s the strawberry rhubarb pie? (Love, Jena)

  35. 35
    Cathy | Mommy Motiva says

    Oh ya – I do, “Just today”.
    I only have to worry about today. It’s my version of One Day at a Time. It helps me focus on what is important. Just today!
    thanks for sharing yours!

  36. 36
    Marcia, Org Queen says

    Laura, mine is “just 15 minutes” because I can’t do anything for just 15 minutes but the momentum gets me going.

    oooh, I LOVE RHUBARB – we don’t get rhubarb yoghurt here so in the UK and Ireland, I was eating it every day. YUMMMY

    BTW, here’s an article I wrote on Eat the Frog

  37. 37
    List Mama says

    Eat the Frog! I have to remember that one. So true. I’ll have to tell myself that tomorrow since I am faced with a half-finished bathroom (painting).


  38. 38
    Megan@Disorder2order says

    I swear I am going to read that book before summer is over. *sigh*

    My “mantra” is “it’s all good.” I don’t know if it applies, but when ever I feel like I might explode… I just say, it’s all good and I feel better.

  39. 39
    Jane says

    Your first statement is so true – when I have so much to do that it seems insurmountable, I figure it’s not worth even trying and just take a break! Lists of smaller tasks are very helpful.

  40. 40
    Jacqueline says

    OMG–if I didn’t know better, I’d wonder how MY words got onto YOUR blog!!! I’m sitting here, waiting for the “inspiration” to project me into my “studio” to work on making a couple of cards, but instead, I find every reason NOT to venture there. I beat myself up like this all time, tho, and then step back and realize what I HAVE accomplished. Yesterday, my 13 y/o daughter helped me clean out underneath the kitchen sink–20 minutes, one large garbage bag and 5 Baja Fresh cups later–it was done and looking great. This morning, I tackled my jewelery chest and now everything is in baggies, separated and in their proper home. When I quit my job 2 months ago, I vowed that in the time it took to land a new opportunity, I’d get my life together and I am really proud of what I’ve done–now if I can just motivate myself to walk the 50 steps to my studio, I’d be a happiER woman! Anyways, sorry for the long post, just wanted you to know that I relate and love your blog!

  41. 41
    Alyson says

    I love rhubarb! Wish I could grow it here!
    You have a lot to do! It all does “pile” up! My Saturdays are so awful as I catch up from what was not done during the week. I need to focus on a little at a time! Thanks!

    Alyson LID 01/27/06 (IA China)

  42. 42
    MaryRuth says

    My mantras are “This too shall pass” and “I can do this”. Between these two there is nothing I can’t deal with. Well almost nothing LOL


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