My “One Thing a Day” Philosophy

So if you’ve read any of my blog posts up to now you know that my husband and I are getting ready to make a radical move from Connecticut to Alabama.  It’s at these times that I get very overwhelmed (and that’s an understatement !!).   It might be better described as “sitting-in-the-middle-of-the-floor-in-tears” overwhelmed !!  I’m at that 4 weeks to go spot in the moving process and that means within 4 short weeks the entire contents of this house have to be sorted out to my children staying here in Connecticut (sniff, sniff) and the rest  packed up,  moved out and cleaned out.  Along with that, I’m  also  getting with family and friends to hold on to each other as much as possible before the…goodbyes  — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I won’t go into all the details because I don’t want to completely depress and overwhelm you too because selfishly speaking, I  desperately need you sane people to help me during my insane time (shameless plea there !!)

To avoid the  “sitting-in-the-middle-of-the-floor-in-tears” episode, a very key thought — well a couple of thoughts, but they’re the same theme — came to mind.  One is from a dear friend of mine, Joni, who lives here in Connecticut. It was the  great advice to this easily overwhelmed mama …

“Just do one thing a day.”

This was her motto when it came to cleaning her house.  She would pick one thing a day, whether it be a task that took 20 minutes or 2 hours, and “get ‘er done” (a phrase my husband and I have adopted from our southern friends ). This was brilliant advice…I mean absolutely brilliant !!!  It helped me break things down into reachable , tangible goals and kept me from being overwhelmed at the entire  list of projects that needed to be done.  I would just tackle one thing and when it was finished I felt like I had a sense of accomplishment and could literally “call it a day”.  The funny thing is that when you accomplish your “one thing”, you feel empowered , yes empowered, to venture out there and possibly add yet another thing.  The great thing is, you don’t feel like you failed if you don’t get Thing # 2 finished because you’ve already scored 100%  for the day on Thing # 1 –for those of us who LOVE to be perfect :-)– and you don’t have to prove anything to yourself or anybody else at this point.  You’ve already succeeded and anything else is gravy honey !!!  (Ahhh…my southern-ness is coming out already !)  For instance, the other day I decided to clean the microwave (safe choice — it’s small and quickly accomplished)…

and if you start a blog, you can shamelessly post pictures like this for bragging rights too !!!  Well the clean microwave… turned into a clean fridge but unfortunately I deleted that picture already  — God’s way of keeping me humble — but it’s beautiful , trust me !

This also reminded me of a quote I heard from Elizabeth Elliot years and years ago…

“Just do the next thing.”

She said when we find ourselves  in situations that are overwhelming and we don’t know what to do, just do the next thing.  Simple. Profound. Possibly life-changing.  I know– I know…I’m getting way too passionate sounding but I tell you, when you’re in the middle of a  “sitting-in-the-middle-of-the-floor-in-tears” , completely paralyzed, overwhelmed  time in your life, these words can be very life-giving… and after all —  that’s what I’m all about !

This “philosophy” also carries over in other areas of your life other than cleaning and moving too !  If you feel a little “dry” spiritually, just do one thing today to change that — like reading a chapter in the Bible — let’s say Isaiah 58 (one of my favorites !)  If you feel on the “chubbier – than- you’d – like – to – be” side like I do right now, get out there and take at least a 30 minute walk (getting ready to do that myself !).  If you feel lonely or out of touch with friends, pick one friend to contact today by phone or e-mail or in person.  If your marriage needs some freshening up, plan a little ” something special”  to do or say to your spouse today that will breathe life into your relationship. If there’s something God’s been nudging you to do for quite sometime and you don’t know how to begin…Just do one thing toward that prompting whether it be research, talking and praying with a friend or just plain stepping out in faith and doing it!  For me recently, that involved starting a blog and you can see where that got me !!  Come on…you can do it !! In Elizabeth Elliot’s words… “Just do the next thing !”

7 thoughts on “My “One Thing a Day” Philosophy

  1. Joy, I needed this “one” thing today. As I navigate tumultuos times in my life this gives me breath. Thank you for your wisdom here from someone who is a perpetual “doer of a list.” xoxo


  2. soooooo needed this today..yesterday…a week ago…tomorrow…shall i go on?? 😉 i get so overwhelmed by everything i see that need to get done..i stick my head in the dirt with my butt high in the air..and pout. there is hope for me yet!!


    • Faith…that picture you painted of your head in the dirt — priceless 🙂 and such a great way to describe the overwhelmed feeling. I’m praying for you, too– my new AL friend ! 🙂 Being pregnant in hot AL with 3 other kids in tow…I’d be overwhelmed too Faith !


  3. Although you are leaving lots of friends, family and stuff behind…you are not going into the wilderness! You are coming back to some old friends, family and new friends. You are renewing your life with a new chapter with new stories to tell, new events full of laughter and love..just like the other chapters of your life! You are so Blessed and so loved…don’t fret..move along sure-footed on the path that God is guiding you along!


    • So true Penny ! There’s always more and this will only give me more to write about, right !! 🙂 I love your line at the end…”You are so Blessed and so loved…don’t fret..move along sure-footed on the path that God is guiding you along!” It’s almost like a Bible verse — God speaking directly to me. Thank you so much friend ! Glad I have you as a friend down there !


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