Do you remember singing the song Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush? It’s definitely for the pre-school set, but the interesting thing is what it teaches us as adults.
The original lyrics included a daily to-do list with each day dedicated to a certain task or priority. For example, they dedicated Monday to washing clothes; Tuesday, ironing the clothes; Wednesday, scrubbing the floor and so on culminating with Sunday, going to church. Back then multitasking was out of the question. It actually took all day to scrub the clothes, hang them outdoors to dry, take them down, and prepare them for the next step in the process – ironing, also an all-day event.
Aside from the benefit gained as children burn off lots of energy singing the song, think about what you can learn (or relearn) from the lyrics. Although the days of one task per day are long gone, a key message is prioritize. If you’re one who is easily overwhelmed by things that need to be done or procrastinates on projects taking you out of your comfort zone, try these tips to help you focus.
- Make a list of what should and can be done in your day. Be realistic.
- Assign time frames for each item on your list. (This is often a good way to reduce its size.)
- Dedicate a certain amount of time to one task or phase of a project and work on that.
- Use a timer. Besides providing a measure of accountability, you can see there’s light at the end of the tunnel as well as how much you can accomplish in your time allotment.
- Ignore rabbit trails or interruptions seeking to divert your attention. Unless it’s a matter of life or death, it can usually wait.
- Stick to it until the time is up or you’re finished.
The self confidence you’ll gain from your achievement will be well worth the time it takes to prioritize your day and focus on what’s most important.
If you still have little children around, see what other benefits you can gain from their songs. By the way, today’s version of the Mulberry Bush ditty addresses hygiene issues so feel free to continue to sing it with your kids.