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How to get things done, sort of

Photo by Arlene Anderson

Are you bothered by unfinished tasks? Do you want to get rid of your pesky “to-do” list and really get things done? If so, try being a writer. Here’s how it works.

When I have an article to write, I sit down with really good intentions.

Then I feel a little hungry. Well, there’s no sense in trying to write if my stomach is empty. I’ll just get up for a quick snack before I get going. There are a few dishes in the sink so I quickly wash them while I’m at it.

After the snack, I sit down at the computer. Why does the top of the bookcase look so dusty? I can see it from way across the room. It will just take a minute to take care of that.

Sitting down again, I write a sentence. Then I read it back to myself and decide it is good. Hmmm … what should the next sentence be?

While pondering that dilemma, I remember the shower needs cleaning. Maybe this is a good time for a stretch. Cleaning the shower is a good way to get the blood pumping again. That has to be good for the brain.

Fifteen minutes later the shower is clean and I am again at my desk. Before I get going, I decide to check for any emails needing immediate attention. An e-bill has arrived and it seems logical to get that paid right away. It will only take a few minutes. How convenient to bank online!

Now I’m really ready to roll. I type another sentence. Then looking out my home office window toward Lake Superior, I see a salty coming into the harbor.  Traffic on South Lake Avenue is halted for the occasion; the lift bridge rises and the familiar “H O N K – honk-honk” greetings are exchanged between boat and bridge. The lake surface is calm and grey-white seagulls soar overhead against the backdrop of a cloudless sky. One never gets tired of watching the harbor welcome one of its own. I feel like I’ve just attended a little party. I am grateful and happy.

Newly inspired, I feel ready to create. A few more sentences arrive on the screen but then my mind wanders into foreign territory, as in, I wonder what that last sentence would be in Spanish? I go to Google translate and type in, “I feel ready to create.”  The translator says, “Me siento listo para creer.” I consider how fun it will be to drop that little gem into a conversation one day.

There! You’ve done it. Look at all you’ve accomplished. The dishes are done, the dusting is complete, your shower is clean, your bills are paid and you’ve even improved your Spanish. In addition to all that, you’ve taken time to appreciate nature and uniquely Duluthian harbor activity.

Do you see how writing helps you get things done? All writers are aware of how this works. You, too, can benefit from this little secret. Give it a try.

Now, if the rest of that article would just write itself …

Arlene Anderson

Arlene J. Anderson is a Twin Ports native turned writer, teacher, traveler and speaker on resilience and leadership. She is currently working on her memoir to be released next summer. She believes there is always more music to play and dancing to do.