I had no idea what she was talking about, so I asked what she meant. (Always a good call.)
“Some days it ends up looking like you got a ton done,” she said, “even though you did the same amount of work as other days. Some days it’s the other way. It’s like when you’re emptying the dishwasher. When you’re putting away the plates and dishes, you get a whole ton of the dishwasher emptied, really fast. And then you get to the silverware, and it takes much longer to do just a bit of dishwasher space.”
And that’s really true. I’ve heard it expressed as the 80/20 rule (80% of the work can be done with 20% of the effort, and then the remaining 20% of the work takes the other 80% of the effort), but there’s something about the repetitive task of emptying the dishwasher that makes this much easier to understand.
So when you have a good day, but it looks like at the end of the day you didn’t get a whole lot done, just remember it was a Silverware Day and give yourself a break. And the next day, if you want to feel better about things, why not try getting some of the Dishes done that day instead?
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