To Hold in the Hand
Ten Ways to Make Peace with the Ordinary Work of Everyday Life
Maintenance: it’s the ordinary work of everyday life. And there isn’t a single thing in your life that doesn’t require it. Your body, your profession, your home, your relationships – they all need maintenance to remain healthy.
There’s personal maintenance – like brushing your teeth, taking vitamins, or moving your body.
There’s administrative maintenance – like bookkeeping, filing, or backing up your data.
There’s domestic maintenance – like preparing meals, washing the dishes, doing laundry, taking out the trash, or vacuuming.
And so forth.
And that maintenance requires time and energy – time and energy you would rather give to other things that feel more important. Time and energy you often do give to other things.
But sooner or later you suffer the consequences of that neglect.
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You develop health problems. Or you can’t find information when you most need it. Or -wow- those late fees! Or you eat take-out (again) because there isn’t a clean dish to be found…
Besides the actual damage done to your body, career, home, finances or relationships – there’s the internal suffering of embarrassment, guilt and shame for allowing that damage to happen.
In that moment of crisis, the importance of maintenance is obvious. In that moment of crisis, you repent. You promise yourself that this time you’ll get caught up and stay that way.
And you do. For awhile anyway, before slipping back into your old patterns of neglect until the next crisis comes around.
That cycle persists because we don’t understand or accept maintenance for what it really is.
Because maintenance is so fundamental and our suffering around it so needless, I’ve compiled these ten truths about maintenance and ten ways to make peace with them.
Embrace these truths and you can transform an adversarial relationship with maintenance into to a more harmonious one in which this stuff gets done consistently and with less resistance or resentment (even joy!).
Deny these truths, however, and you’ll keep finding yourself back where you started.
In this guide you’ll learn…
- how to take advantage of the unique ability maintenance has to hold more than one thing and give routine tasks greater meaning, purpose and efficiency – plus keep them from being soooo booooring (this is the solution to never-enough-hours-in-the-day for this stuff)
- how to change your mind’s associations with maintenance by giving it more accurate information to work with (it’s probably not the arduous and unrewarding work you think it is)
- how to use maintenance to strengthen your finishing muscles and practice consistency and follow-through – without indulging perfectionism (if you hate that it never feels done, this truth is for you)
- how maintenance plays an essential role in feeling less anxious and more calm and grounded
- how making peace with maintenance can help you to become a much better decision-maker
- and more…
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Hands-on application, not just theory…
The guide also includes a 28-page workbook of questions, exercises, examples (you’ll find out probably more than you want to know about how I do my laundry), and worksheets to help you create systems to stay current with the routine tasks of your daily life, rather than repeat endless and stressful cycles of catch-up.
The questions and exercises address the six elements of every good system: love, clarity, time, environment, connection and energy.
Most systems fail because they define only one or two elements. By defining all six, your chances of creating a system that works and you can actually stick with are nearly guaranteed.
Love: Dig deep until you remember how maintenance lights up your life (it does, you know).
Clarity: What exactly is involved in doing a given maintenance activity? Maybe there’s more to it than you think. Then again, maybe there’s less – a lot less.
Time: This section includes in-depth exploration of the important questions of frequency, duration and timing that are crucial to finding the comfortable rhythm that maintenance needs.
Environment: Surroundings matter. Is the context in which you are doing this activity actually functional and supportive?
Connection: Who are you helping by doing this work? Who is helping you? How does this activity foster your relationships?
Energy: This section is an in-depth exploration of balancing the physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and financial energy required and returned by a maintenance activity so you aren’t drained by it.
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When you put all the elements together, the resulting system creates a container which holds everything you need to give attention to maintenance in a timely, effective and willing way.
With such a container in place, it’s easy to engage in necessary maintenance sooner rather than later.
Which means you’re less stressed and anxious. Your health and relationships improve. You end up with more time and energy for everything you didn’t think you had time and energy for (routine and otherwise) because you’re not putting out so many fires or coming up against so many roadblocks created by things left undone.
When you embrace the truths of maintenance and design systems to support it, you establish a foundation from which you can create and sustain the wondrous and amazing things I know are nearly bursting from your brilliant hearts and minds.
Don’t let the vacuuming and laundry get in the way of your genius. Learn how maintenance can serve it.
If I don’t have the time/energy to do the dishes, how am I going to find the time/energy to read this guide and complete the workbook?
Just reading the guide – which you can do in about 20 minutes – and letting those ideas percolate in the back of your mind can result in substantial shifts even without completing the workbook. That will create space for you to think through more conscious changes when you are ready.
I can never seem to get organized and stick with something. How is this approach different?
First, you are already organized by virtue of being alive. It’s not something you become, it’s something you already are. If your systems aren’t giving you the results you want, then you need to approach maintenance in ways that better suit your individual – already organized – way of thinking, working and living. And you do that by making sure your systems include all six essential elements.
When our attempts at organization fail us, it’s because we’ve crafted our systems to serve someone we’re not or because we’ve only defined one or two elements – usually what, maybe when – and ignored the rest. This guide+workbook addresses both problems. I promise, this isn’t like all those times before.
I really hate maintenance. I mean, really. Will this guide help me?
Not knowing your specific reasons, I’d guess you loathe maintenance because a) it seems to take you away from other things you’d rather be doing, b) you’ve assumed you have to do it a certain way and that’s a way you don’t like and doesn’t even make sense to you, and/or c) what little you do and the way you do it doesn’t seem to make a difference. So of course it’s not your favorite thing.
While it’s not a magic wand that will make your loathing disappear in a puff of sparkles, what this guide+workbook does offer is full permission to embrace your inner rebel and a process for inventing your own ways of handling this stuff – ways that are in alignment with what’s important to you and how you think and work best. You don’t have to abandon your priorities – including fun! You don’t have to force any round pegs into square holes. And this I know for sure: when everything is in alignment, there’s a lot less to hate and your actions are much easier and more effective.
Peace is just a click away.
It’s easy to get started. Just click the laundry basket below.
That will take you to my shopping cart. Once there, click the green “check-out” button and enter your contact info on the following page, then click the green “submit order” button. That will take you to PayPal – but you don’t need a PayPal account to make your purchase. Look for the “Don’t have a PayPal account?” link in the lower right of that page if you prefer to pay with your debit or credit card. Once you complete your payment, click the link provided to return to Third Hand Works.
In addition to your receipts, you will receive an email confirmation from me with details about how to download your new guide+workbook and begin making peace with the maintenance in your life. (This should arrive shortly after your purchase – usually in minutes, sometimes a bit longer – and might end up hiding itself in your junk/spam folder, so check there if that message doesn’t seem to have arrived in a timely fashion.)
Don’t let the laundry get in the way of your genius for one more day.
Get off the merry-go-round of catching up. Dissolve the resistance, guilt and frustration. Make peace with the ordinary work of everyday life.