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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Hood-Wilson

Mastering the Mundane

Today was my day to clean out my email account. I spent close to an hour deleting whole pages of email promotions from local and national businesses, useless Google alerts I’d meant to deactivate, messages for events that have passed, etc. It is the kind of task that requires you to turn off your brain and repeat the same functions again and again and again. It. Is. Boring.

Halfway through this tedious task, I thought, “Look how much time I’m wasting on this!” And then I started to think. About the task, about the need to get it done, about plans that I have yet to carry out, about some of the things I need to get done to take my consulting to the next level. As it turned out, I didn’t just accomplish the task of cleaning out my email and making it easier to quickly check it for new messages without wading through electronic sludge. I also had unexpected time to reflect on ways to move forward. This is not reflection that takes place when I’m doing the “sexy” work of going to meetings with clients or writing curriculum and designing programs for those clients. (My idea of sexy is a dead giveaway that I am quite the nerd.) There is a place in our life for the mundane tasks that we dread making time to do, that feel like time wasters but benefit us in the end.

Along with program and curriculum design for large organizations, I work with clients with disabilities who are working to learn how to live independently. Along with the “sexy” or “exciting” things we work on like shopping or cooking, there is the mundane work of balancing check books, developing spending plans and household budgets, and the analysis of that client’s finances for the week or even month. Nobody enjoys doing this kind of work. I hate doing it for myself. My husband hates doing it for our family. My clients seem to find it to be their least favorite part of our time together. But this mundane work of calculating costs, recording costs in a system designed to track spending, determining budgets and planning spending is essential and, like cleaning out junk email, it is something you thank yourself for later. Also, the more frequently you do it, the more it becomes a habit, a healthy habit. And we all can use a few more of those.

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