Have you ever made a bowl of cereal, only to discover there are absolutely no clean spoons? There is a myriad of other silverware, but for some reason, the spoons always go missing first.
I tend to use this as a metaphor for life. I run out of spoons. By “spoons”, I mean motivation, energy, focus, or any other mental requirement that’s necessary to complete a given task.
For example, showering. Showering is hard! Once I’ve made it into the shower, everything is great, but for some reason, getting in the shower takes a ton of energy and motivation. I seem to procrastinate, find excuses, tend to 10 other tasks, and ultimately put off showering. Brutal honesty here – I’m doing really well to take more than 2 showers in a week. Showering takes a handful of spoons.
What I’ve come to realize is that I start each day with a drawer full of spoons. Each activity that requires mental exertion, energy, focus, or causes me stress takes spoons away. By the end of the day, I’m left with zero spoons, and quite often not a lot to show for it.
So I’ve been working on a spoon budget of sorts. I map out what I need to accomplish in a day and I assign a number of spoons to each task. Things I enjoy take less spoons, while things I dread take the most.
Let’s say I have 10 spoons for today. My morning routine (coffee, getting dressed, brushing my teeth, doing something with my crazy hair, etc.) is 1 spoon. Writing this blog is 1 spoon. Balancing my finances will cost me roughly 3 spoons. That’s half of my budget gone for the day and it isn’t even noon! Add in there laundry, cleaning house, making dinner, and (ugh!) taking a shower, and that’s all I’m realistically going to accomplish today.
The tricky part is that some days I have more spoons than others. I’ve had to spend some time tracking my patterns to realize that at BARE MINIMUM, I have 10 spoons for each day. I try to make sure I focus my energy on the important tasks, and I spread those things out throughout the day. Then, if I have extra spoons, I can use them to accomplish something I’ve been putting off, or maybe I can go the extra yard on dinner.
If all else fails, there are things I can do to regain a spoon or 2 if I need to, such as take a nap, do something fun, or spend some time by myself. I try to make sure I set aside time each day to allow this. Even just spending an hour outside can help refresh my mind and give me a little extra oomph to finish out my day.
I hope this is helpful, and that I’m not alone. Let me know your thoughts!