Have you ever had one of these experiences?
You’re at home, minding your own business, and you get a phone call. The caller asks if they can stop by for a few minutes. They are headed out the door, and will arrive in less than thirty minutes. This isn’t the kind of visitor that will be standing on your porch; rather, it’s the kind you will be inviting into your home.
The house is in a not-so-presentable stage. There are dirty dishes in the sink, and even breakfast dishes still on the table. Toys are scattered across the entire floor. You and the kids are still in your pajamas, and you haven’t done your makeup.
Of course, you tell the person on the phone, “Sure, now’s a great time. I’ll see you soon.” Then you hang up and immediately begin to panic.
Ever happen to you?
Right. Me too!
But after I take a minute to get over the shock, I find that it’s a pretty wonderful opportunity.
A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law called. She asked if she could come over that afternoon, and have me help her with something. It was still early morning, so I thought that sounded fine. Well, somehow the morning slipped away from me, and before I knew it, she was calling to tell me she was on her way. It was noon, so technically, she was coming “this afternoon” like she had said earlier. My interpretation of “this afternoon” was around 2 or 3. Wrong!
The people who know me best live under the false conclusion that my house is always neat and orderly. While I do my best to keep up with that pretense, it’s just not true. I get lazy, and the mess starts to pile up. It’s simple things, like wanting to catch up on my blog reading, writing the latest chapter of my story, or finishing another chapter in the book I’m currently reading. Before I know it, it looks like I haven’t cleaned in a week, although I could have sworn it was spotless yesterday.
But when I’m faced with an impending visit, from someone who believes my house to be exempt from kid’s messes, I realize just how much I can get done, in a short amount of time.
I can spend all day thinking about what I need to do that day, and never actually get anything accomplished. I’ll sit down and write up a list, and then prioritize it. Sometimes I even estimate how long it should take to do, so I know if I’ll be done on time.
But when I only have thirty minutes to get it all done, I don’t have time for list making. I have to throw the plan out the window, and just do it. And it amazes me how much I can get done. I find myself running from one room to another, and actually enjoying the excitement of the deadline. It becomes a game: Can I get the laundry folded and put away before the doorbell rings? Can I sweep the kitchen floor, removing the crushed cereal from breakfast? Can I take out the garbage, including the diapers from upstairs first? Will my house stop smelling like diapers before her arrival? Quick, turn on the candle warmer!
On that particular day, I actually found myself with time to spare, so I grabbed my book and started reading a new chapter. Just when it started getting good… knock, knock.
I opened the door, and smiled when she said, “It smells good in here. Are you baking?”
Give it a try. By the afternoon, you just might find yourself with time to do something you WANT to do.