Another wash-load Wednesday, and I’m looking at no less than 5 loads today. UGH! Is there any redeeming value in laundry?
Living in 2012 is a lot different than life was even 50 years ago. Just ask your mothers and grandmothers. Peter Drucker describes the modern age we live in now as the “Knowledge-Worker age”.
The 20th century was characterized by manufacturing and what we could produce.
The 21st century is now more about what we “know”, our “knowledge work”.
The knowledge worker productivity demands that we must constantly ask the question, “what is it?” Or what I like to say, “What am I suppose to do with THIS?”
We are flooded daily with text messages, emails, skype meetings, conference calls, iphones, calendars, the list just keeps growing.
In the Knowledge-Worker age, we are forced daily (whether we chose to accept it or not) to “define our work”. What will we do? Who will we talk to? Which emails need us to take action? Which project will we work on? Which news source should I read? Which channel do I stop on? Which phone app will I study up on?
As moms with daily meal planning, dishes, and laundry, whether we realize it or not, we must continually decide our own personal workflow management system and how we will tackle our day. Drucker insists that this particular type of worker, for example, a wife and mommy… must learn how to manage themselves.
Working around the home, we are not dependent on a boss telling us which widget to turn, or which field to mow.
So how do we learn to manage ourselves and what does this have to do with my laundry?
By building habits and embracing the value in pre-defined work.
So what exactly is “pre-defined work”?
It is work that is OBVIOUS, and APPARENT.
You just KNOW what needs to be done.
Trash can is full….needs to be emptied.
Car out of gas….time to gas it up.
Lawn has two foot high weeds….time to mow.
Laundry basket smelly and overflowing…..time to do the wash.
When we consider these tasks in light of our world that bombards us with so much information daily that we need to filter, there suddenly appears an inherent beauty in the task.
A simplicity in the structure,the fact that I don’t have to THINK too hard about washing all those clothes, I just wash them. There is beauty and value to work that is pre-defined.
It is those jobs that build habits, and daily disciplines in our lives.
Just ask the executives who show up to their offices every morning and are bombarded by several ‘crisis emails’, or the politician in the middle of campaigning who has 24 hours to review the risk-reward stats from several key donors before voting on a legislative bill.
Sometimes just knowing what is right in front of you to do, is a blessing in itself.
When we embrace our pre-defined work with vigor and enthusiasm, we are building habits which in turn make us better knowledge-workers because we are able to manage ourselves.
As busy moms we are fortunate to have much of our work defined daily for us, as well as the opportunity to grow as a knowledge worker.
The laundry will always need to be done, it’s pre-defined. You don’t need a tickler file to tell you to do the laundry.
The dishes will always need to be washed, no need to schedule this on your outlook calendar for a pop-up reminder, they are crusted over in the sink right in front of you.
Our work as mothers is more than just the obvious daily tasks, there is beauty in what is unseen. Beauty in the habits we are building, and beauty in the habits we are modeling.