While dropping the kids off at school the other morning, I got to chatting with another mom about how everyone feels so busy lately, us included. But it wasn't like we were overloaded with ONE BIG project, it was a lot of little things that added up to an avalanche.
On the drive home, I couldn't help wonder, "Are we saying YES to a zillion little commitments too fast, leaving us exhausted? But how can we stop it since each one of them seems easy enough and worthy of our time?"
Out of nowhere a picture of a noodle popped in my head. I know, sounds bizarre, but read on....
When I cook spaghetti with the kids, for fun I take a noodle out of the boiling water and one of us gets the honor of throwing it up against the fridge to see if it sticks. If it does, spaghetti is cooked. It's an old wives' tale (not really how you check for al dente pasta), but it always gets us laughing.
What if we use the same noodle technique to all those little commitments?
Start by picking a set day each week to cook spaghetti (gluten free or regular works fine). My noodle day is now Sunday.
While the water is boiling, jot down all the little things you are considering adding to your list next week. Things like driving on a field trip, baking cupcakes for entire soccer team, having a dinner party, power washing the house....All the things you could do BUT if you didn't the sky wouldn't fall.
You have to write fast because when the spaghetti's almost done, time to noodle.
Grab your tongs and remove one noodle out of the pot. Pull your arm high in a confident overhand baseball throwing position. While releasing, say out loud what it is you are considering doing (this is a key step, not to be missed). For example, "Do I want to power wash the house next weekend?" Then aim at fridge and let your noodle fly!
If the noodle sticks, DO IT. If it falls to floor, DON'T.
Sounds crazy. But here's why it works.
First, in our fast paced culture, it gets us to stop committing on the spot. Now you have to noodle it.
Second, it helps us see clearly what we really want to do. While the noodle is airborne, tap into how you're feeling. If your noodle falls and you start frantically grabbing more from the pot to get one to stick, happily add the new task to your To Do list.
But if you yourself fall to your knees, praying to the Noodle Gods (btw, there are none), for your noodle not to stick to your fridge, you can let go of any guilt and not add that new commitment to your list. Maybe another week, but not this week. Life is too short to be overwhelmed by a zillion little things.
I'm telling you noodling works! Plus, it's childlike and a whole lot of fun.
If this YMoment was fun to read, share this page with anyone who might enjoy throwing a noodle!