Monday, May 31, 2010

Saying Yes When Others Say No

This Memorial Day, we honor those who have said "yes" when it comes to serving our country.
This Messy Monday, I thought we would focus on the power of "yes."

In my post, Seven Habits of Highly Successful Housekeepers, habit number 3 is:
"Say yes when others say no."

Instead of seeing something that needs to be done and thinking “I’ll get to that later,” successful housekeepers respond, “Yes, I’ll do that right now.” This means they’re tidying up more often than the average housekeeper. Besides, most jobs rarely take as long as one thinks.

In an Intentional Living broadcast, Dr. Randy Carlson talked about the power of decisions. If we're disorganized, it really boils down to the fact that we have made a decision to be that way. We either make a decision to do something, or we make a decision not to do it. Ignoring it is really nothing more than choosing to say "No, not now."

How this translates into housekeeping is:

If I have a sink full of dirty dishes, and it looks messy, beyond all the excuses I could give, like "I'm tired," or "I'm too busy right now," or "I don't feel like it," the most basic reason is--I haven't done the dishes because I said no to doing the dishes. I chose to spend those 15-30 minutes a different way.

Despite my feelings about any particular task (and there are many I am obviously not very enthusiastic about, because they constantly get pushed to the back-burner), I can choose to put my feelings aside and just do it, or not do it.

If I have baskets of unfolded laundry and folded laundry sitting around, at the core, it is only sitting around because I made a decision to say no to putting it away. I chose to use my time differently. I could just as easily make a decision to choose to put the laundry away instead of doing something else for a half hour.

If I haven't mopped my floor in two weeks, it is because I made a decision not to. Sure, I could give lots of excuses, but again, the most basic reason is I made a choice to use my time differently.

When we make it so black-and-white, we can remove the excuses and realize it really is just a choice. Even when we are tired, or discouraged, or busy, and "don't feel like it," we can just choose to do it anyway and get it over with. Then we can make a decision to go do something we really want to do.

And that's why the people we will call "successful housekeepers" with consistently tidy homes understand that neatness comes by saying "yes" when others say no.


  1. Thanks for this reminder. I've been taking this holiday "off," but now my house feels gross. I know as soon as I start it will only take a few minutes but I need to say "yes!"

  2. Ouch! This is a hard (but necessary) pill for me to swallow.

  3. Fifth Street Mama,
    I'm in the same boat with you! But the good news is, breaking it down so black and white allows me/us to improve, because I realize (despite my excuses) it really is as simple as making a decision--yes or no. So there's really nothing "wrong" with me per se that I am less organized than some of my friends, or that my home is messier than's just I've made more "no" decisions and they've made more "yes" ones. I can make "yes" decisions too and reap the results!
    Have a good day!

  4. Good post - I am helping my kiddos to say "yes" today also. Just instituted mandatory chore time this morning (and for rest of summer). Basically they have set things they need to do like make bed, get dressed, pick up room, tidy bathroom and then they need to come to me and ask for 3 morning chores I need help with. I told them the quicker they finish their chores, (with a happy heart) the easier my assigned chores will be.

    So.....we'll see if a little competition will help them say "yes" quickly this morning. Lots of fun things on the horizon with library day and dinner guests (a family of 11!) Hopefully that will motivate them.

  5. Wow, Jodi, 11! What are you making?!

    Now if only getting little ones to do their mandatory chores and stay on track (instead of doing a little and leaving to play) was that easy! Another training process :)

  6. I've been trying to work on saying "yes" more often...and I haven't made very much progress. Thanks for the reminder to keep it up. :)

  7. A good reminder of the reality of housework... but also just a little encouragement to mom's with young children (I have 3 under the age of 4) - sometimes all my "yeses" are taken up with my kids. My floor hasn't been mopped in two weeks (I laughed at that example in your post!) because my yeses have all been the day to day necessities of clothing, feeding and comforting. I hope to have things a little more under control as my children grow and can pitch in more than simply setting the table and keeping their room clean.