Don't worry, it's a good thing!
"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure." --Gen. Colin L. Powell.
As you experience more of life's dangers, the glaring risk in everyday activity becomes hard to ignore.
Parents, especially, see risk in everything. This is clear when your mother chases you out the door with sunscreen, or your grandfather scolds you not to drive in the snow.
Then suddenly, we do something, say something, and realize we have become our parents.
According to the New York Post, "68 percent of those surveyed said they feel more like their father with every passing year."
This has held true for me, as I find myself exhibiting more dad-like behaviors each day.
Luckily, my dad is an excellent role model and a bit of a productivity guru. Few people on this planet can accomplish as many things as he can in a day.
I've broken down his habits into a workable plan that you can incorporate into your own life to increase your productivity.
Don't let the bedbugs bite.
Many as they reach adulthood dwell on the negative in the world, increasing anxiety over danger, pain, and suffering.
As a kid, someone else is protecting you, hopefully.
As an adult, your family looks to you to solve their pain and suffering or prevent danger and possible pain and suffering.
And it is everywhere!
Everywhere you look, you wonder how everything survives. And some things don't.
The potted lemon trees you so carefully drag into the house for the winter and shine a grow light every day don't survive. Or maybe they are hibernating. So you keep the pot of sticks in the corner and water it, just in case.
And there are so many birds! You are afraid of them all starving. There can't possibly be enough food for all of them. Didn't they use to fly south?
You worry about people slipping on an icy driveway and getting hurt. You fear having a car accident, a house fire, the list goes on, because being an adult is worrying.
How can we escape some of this worry and anxiety? By turning to our parents and grandparents to see how they coped while raising us.
When we look to our dads and granddads for inspiration on dealing with anxiety, we can see the key is preparation. These men come from a generation that prepares for everything. They have tools and tarps, a spare VCR in case you need it.
We can learn from them by cleaning our dryer lint traps, changing our car oil, buying new tires, all the preparation they would expect us to do.
You'll understand when you're older.
Your worries aren't new. They are part of becoming an adult. Inherited from generations before you.
Someday you will pass off your care to your children and let them take over worrying for you.
Worries increase as you age because life teaches you that there are obstacles everywhere.
But you also learn that there are ways around obstacles. And that's what your parents and grandparents had, ways around the barriers, strategies. When you have strategies, you feel safe. You are prepared for anything.
Some of these strategies seemed lost to me in the chaos of raising a family. But, I have recently rediscovered their simplicity and reincorporated them into my routines with the pandemic's slowdown.
It has saved my family money and made things run more smoothly around the house as well.
A little hard work never hurt anybody.
My dad's solutions to things never felt like solutions because he solved problems before they became that.
His answers come down to responsible behavior and a bit of hard work. I don't think that gets enough credit these days. Not everyone uses these methods, so we should start rewarding the behavior again. Enough with the get-rich-quick schemes.
My dad used responsible behavior to:
- Plan Ahead
- Establish a Chore Routine
- Wake Before Anyone Else
- Get Outside Often
These are the ways our parents, grandparents, great grandparents coped with stress and anxiety. It's not new, but it works.
All of these components work together to create a method of managing a household successfully. As I said, my family of 5 has been working from home and distance learning since March in a small house with one bathroom. We have gotten through a repair of just about every drain and appliance in our home. And we all still like each other! The dad method works.
It sounds easier than it is in practice.
My dad always made it work by keeping a small notepad and pencil in his pocket. He makes a note of everything. It is a habit I have picked up as well, although I utilize the Reminders App on my iPhone.
Shopping in bulk is another critical tip. Buy bulk orders of birdseed, so the area birds don't starve. Also, ice melt or kitty litter, so the family and mailman don't slip and break a leg.
You can buy furnace filters in bulk, and it makes it easier to remember to replace them if you write the date on the filter. Make a note on your calendar three months from now so you will remember to replace it again.
- Take notes
- Buy in bulk
- Mark household tasks in your calendar
- Integrate new habits into routines you already do consistently
Do Your Chores
Chores tend to have a negative connotation, but I don't think of them that way. So many things we have to do as adults are scary.
Completing yearly taxes, for example. I always fear one mistake will land me in jail. Chores are the one thing I can mindlessly complete. No one is going to jail for loading the dishwasher the wrong way, although there is a right way and these kids have to learn it!
Establishing a chore routine is a very dad-like thing to do and surprisingly soothing as well.
Everyone has a chore list, and it should be divvied up between family members. I prefer to do mine in the morning when things are quiet.
Shovel the walkways, dog do-your-business areas, bird feeder access paths, clear off cars and empty the dishwasher.
The chores in running a household are endless. When you make them part of the routine, they take no time, and it's satisfying to have something to check off the To-Do list.
Completing the same tasks each day gives you a productive feeling and makes you a useful household member.
Wake Before Anyone Else
In a busy house, this isn't as bad as it seems. Again, dad was onto something.
It is quiet, and you get the place to yourself. You have the opportunity to see what you need to complete before the chaos of the day begins.
Morning is my proactive time. Everything I do now is to help out the me of the future or just the me of later in the day. Being proactive means less mess now and less clean up after.
For example, if I shovel for the dogs now, they will do their business where they are supposed to go, and it will involve no extra cleanup.
If I leave it for later, one of the kids will let the dogs out without shoveling a path for them. They will do their business right outside the door. Someone will most likely step in it, and I will end up washing it off the floor later.
So I save time, energy, and stress by being proactive.
Get Outside Often
Worldwide, people spend way too much time indoors.
According to the National Institutes of Health, "annually, 3.8 million people worldwide prematurely die from illnesses attributable to household air pollution. In the United States, radon, a major indoor air pollutant, is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is responsible for 15,000–20,000 deaths each year."
A distressing statistic considering the amount of time people have spent indoors due to the pandemic this past year.
Get outside often, even if just to take a few breaths and clear your lungs.
Spending time outside is also good for your mental health.
According to Harvard Health, in a 2015 study, researchers compared healthy people's brain activity after walking for 90 minutes in either a natural setting or an urban one.
"They found that those who did a nature walk had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is active during rumination — defined as repetitive thoughts that focus on negative emotions."
In other words, those that took their walk out in nature were less likely to focus on negative self-talk. Psychologists have found that people that engage in positive self-talk experience less social anxiety.
As I said, dad was onto something.
Spending time outside also allows you to notice things. You see the areas of the roof that are dripping unevenly. You notice the areas of the walkway that get black ice patches. These things are essential not only for safety but as a homeowner to protect your home, your most significant investment.
They don't make them like they used to.
The dad method can help you to reduce anxiety and increase productivity too. To put the dad method into practice and get the same benefits in your own life, remember to follow these simple practices:
- Plan Ahead
- Establish a Chore Routine
- Wake Before Anyone Else
- Get Outside Often
Dads give us much more than we can ever give back. I'm grateful to my dad for modeling productive routines, and habits that I am just finding out now are rooted in science. Using a back-to-basics mindset has helped me simplify my routine and get more out of each day.
"The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get." --Tim Russert