Just One


Based on the responses I’ve gotten to last week’s post, I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed, so I thought I’d spend a little more time on the subject.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. My dining room table has been covered with papers to grade and things to attend to once the papers were graded. Everywhere I looked there was something to do and every time I walked through the dining room, I wanted to just close my eyes and wish everything on the table away.

When life gets busy, it’s often hard to stay on top of things. Luckily, sometimes the answer to making progress is “just one.”

Just one minute. While a minute won’t be enough time to clean out the garage (or get through all those piles on my table), it’s long enough to put away a pile of clothes, sort mail or make a list of steps to take to complete the project when you can give it more time.

Just one pile. A pile of clean laundry is usually pretty easy to manage in just a minute (or so) because everything in the pile (most likely) has a home. Accumulated piles of papers and homeless items can be a bit challenging. If you don’t have time to take care of the whole pile, set a timer, flip the pile over to start sorting from the bottom and get as far as you can in the time you have.

Just one drawer or shelf. Sure, it’d be great to clean out the whole dresser, closet or pantry, but often, that’s just not possible. Tackling one finite section of the space in question can give you a feeling of satisfaction, which can motivate you to tackle the next drawer or shelf when you have time.

Just one hot spot. Every home has them — the spots that seem to invite people to drop things and run. Creating clear space — even if only in one small area — provides both satisfaction and visual evidence of organizational progress. And if you can delegate the putting away of the items to the owners, that’s even better.

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider the concept of “just one.” It may not get things completely organized, but it’s a start and, sometimes, getting started is half the battle.

"Just one" by Lisa Hess (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2011). CC0/PD

Copyright 2019 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at Catholicmom.com. She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.


  1. Andrea Bear on

    Great advice and incredibly practical and doable. We tend to put things off waiting got that perfect moment to arrive and it never does or will. “Just one” helps with the concept of one less pile of one less mess. I love your approach

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