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May 17, 2010 / Jenny Ann Fraser

Flylady:My New Self Appointed Guardian Angel.

I need help.  It’s that simple. 

For the past month or so since the season ended at the theatre, I’ve been working part time at several different jobs and I’m making definite though not rapid progress towards building all of my dreams. I am grateful for each gift along the way, regardless of size. 

This weekend, I made my first JAF Bags and Cases Netbook bag sample. I’ve already figured out a lot about how not to do things. It’s nice to narrow it down. 

My progress though, has been significantly slowed down by the fact that I can’t think.   Alright, obviously I can think.  In fact, I can think of so many things all at once over and over that I’m spinning in circles like a bit of a lunatic (or maybe a total lunatic) . What I am accomplishing is only a tiny portion of what I’m capable of… which if I’m being honest is a lot  less than I need to.  My mind is like a tornado full of ideas, plans, lists of things I need to get to but I can’t seem to calm it down enough to find some order. Add to that the lack of structure from not having a full time job to go to, and things just don’t seem to get done.  After all, there’s always later. 

To Do lists have started to depress me.  They are really nothing more than monuments to my lack of focus. I should label them, Things I’m not likely To Do instead. 

I’m constantly looking for a solution to this problem.  I know that meditation helps immensely and it is something that I’ve been missing in my life for most of this year so far.  Unfortunately, meditation involves sitting still which has been nearly impossible not to mention that adding things to my Things I’m not likely To Do list is at this point, less than helpful. 

Enter Flylady. 

Marla Cilley, the Flylady uses a step by step system for getting a chaotic life in order. One small new habit at a time.  Her system is genius. It works, but like all systems, it only works if you use it. (No kidding!) Years ago, I discovered Flylady and she became a hero of mine pretty quickly. I then passed the link on to my Mum, another SHE, which stands for; Side Tracked Home Executive and we flew together. 

For a while I got a taste of the peace that comes when things in your life are in order but it didn’t last.  I’ve started over many, many times and have been successful for weeks, and even months, only to slip back into old habits. I’ve realized, that my multiple failures over the past years have led me to stop trying too hard.  I’ve been working on accepting myself as I am in each moment regardless of my housekeeping skills, but acceptance doesn’t mean that there is no chance for growth.  It’s time to grow now. 

My apartment is a mess and I never seem to be able to catch up.  Physical clutter is cognitively disturbing.  Clutter + ADHD = CHAOS 

CHAOS in the Flylady world stands for Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. This is what I am suffering with at the moment.  If you don’t believe me, come over and knock on my door.  I might answer it, but I won’t let you in.  We can talk in the hall, after all, you came to see me right? 

I would bet that it would seem to your average BO; Born Organized person, if I were to let them in the door that I am basically a lazy undisciplined slob (which would be why you can’t come in).  Why else wouldn’t I just pick up after myself, clean things when they need to be cleaned, follow some sort of routine? 

That would be because no matter how much I want and crave routine, it is one of the hardest things for my brain to stick with.  They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit.  Flylady says it takes a SHE 28 days… experience is telling me, that I might be extra special.  I don’t know how long it takes my brain to develop a new habit because I have stuck with new habits and routines for much longer than 28 days, and yet, nothing ever seems to become automatic. 

For example, a few years ago, I moved in with an obsessive-compulsive neat freak of a boyfriend and turned around 180 degrees for ten months. By the way, this felt fantastic! Living with someone who is neat helped me to remain aware of my own habits and it was easy to be mindful about what needed to be done.  It is easy to see that that book doesn’t belong on the kitchen counter when there is nothing else on the kitchen counter.  Unfortunately, I still have a nasty habit of forgetting little things, like picking up my socks so this wasn’t nearly enough for him.  I left, solving that problem but sadly 10 months of new habits didn’t stick and here I am  3 years later writing about the fact that I can’t keep my small apartment organized. 

I’ve been pondering this for a week or so.  I realize that in the past when I have tried to get back to using the Flylady system, I have jumped in too quickly trying to do everything overnight. After all, I understand the system, I know it works. Why not just go for it? 

Because I get easily overwhelmed and unable to keep up, which makes me feel bad, which makes me quit.  That’s why.  It may have taken years, but I’m finally getting it. (I may be a slow learner, but I’m still a learner). 


This is how you start to FLY,  another of Flylady’s many acronyms. This stands for  Finally Loving Yourself which is something I can get excited about. I can get excited about just about anything, which often leads to more spinning around in circles, but this is a motivator. 

The plan is you start with adding one small new habit per day. This shouldn’t be hard. One small habit, not 31. If I can just remember… 

Yesterday was Day 1: Go shine your sink.  Sounds small and not all that helpful, but it works.  The first basic thing.  Keep your kitchen sink clear, clean and shiny.  Day 2: Get dressed to lace up shoes. Get dressed, fix your face and hair and put on your shoes.  Even if you don’t plan to leave the house. 

Yesterday, I told my Mum about my plan and with great combination Mum/Flylady wisdom she reminded me that I only have to do one thing.  Shine my sink and that is all.  Just do that she said, and don’t worry about the rest. 

“That’s right Mum,” I replied.  “But in order to shine my sink, I first have to be able to find it…   ” 

My cat angus likes my new shiny sink too! 

This is why!



Leave a Comment
  1. Amanda / May 17 2010 2:54 pm

    Wow! Were you sneaking into my head? This is where I was at the beginning of the year. I have been baby stepping (some days I must restrain myself from trying to do everything, then burning out) but I’m making progress (not perfection!). Yay for you! If you need a flybuddy just @mommylebron me on Twitter and we can FLY together! #flyfriendsmakemefabulous

  2. jennyannfraser / May 17 2010 3:01 pm

    Actually, I was sneaking into your head… Busted! LOL.
    I woud love a flybuddy!
    Thanks for the offer and thank you for reading.

  3. opoetoo / May 18 2010 7:17 am

    Lists and clutter are issues with me.
    I think I just need a new sink 🙂 .

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts.
    Your expressions here are uncluttered.

    If you have time maybe you would like to read The List at my place.
    I think you might like it.
    If you do like it that means you are there and if you are then you might as well read Clean Sweep as it is all about clutter (it is not a call to suicide ,it is about realising that there will always be clutter in this life).


    • jennyannfraser / May 18 2010 10:31 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment. Read your lovely poems and I so relate.
      Fortunately, my sink is completely shineable. I just have to keep it that way…

  4. tobeme / May 18 2010 4:56 pm

    Honest and funny! Maybe you are not supposed to be neat and organized, maybe the creative side of you finds peace in the chaos you create. If you really want to change, I do suggest getting rid of some of the clutter, let go of what you don’t need. Don’t simply rearrange and organize the clutter, just get rid of it. In simplicity you may find that you can be you and feel good about it.

    • jennyannfraser / May 18 2010 10:30 pm

      Thanks Mark,
      Yes, must … get… rid… of… clutter.
      Flylady will help with that.
      I actually, don`t have a lot. I gave up most of my stuff to move in with aforementioned boyfriend.
      What I do need, is to get to it… hence the shiny sink!
      You’re so right about my creativity needs a little chaos, but my brain needs a little routine. The key is balance right?

  5. Ally / May 20 2010 5:09 am

    I can totally relate to your post… though I must say the cat is really cute 😀

    • jennyannfraser / May 20 2010 10:15 am

      Hi Ally,
      Welcome and thanks for reading! The cat is interfering with my shiny sink now. He wants water from the tap everytime I dry it out.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  6. fatima da / May 20 2010 2:36 pm

    Hi Jenny, Interesting post and I am not too sure how to comment on it .. by the way love the photos and the sink looks well shined out … with regards to habits if I am right it takes about 30 days to develop new ones provided steps are taken everyday toward them at least …. say baby steps .. 🙂

    • jennyannfraser / May 20 2010 6:32 pm

      Hi Fatima, thanks for reading.
      Yes you’re right. Baby steps. My goal always with everything these days is just to try and see what happens…


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