Tag Archives: tasks

The Snowball Effect

First, a bit of history…

I have four large outdoor lounger cushions. I bought them many years ago at an end-of-season clearance sale – the discounted price meant I got all four of them for less than the cost of just one toddler cot so I couldn’t resist. I briefly used them for napping children – they are thicker, wider and longer than other nap mats. They are very comfortable but also very heavy and cumbersome to set up and put away for daily naptime and take up a lot of space so I ended up getting more cots for naps indoors.

The fabric on the lounger cushions is intended for outdoor use so that is where we used them most – for napping or relaxing in tents or on the deck etc. When not in use they were stored in bags in the big shed. During the Vacation 2019 renovation, ‘Frankenshed’ was disassembled and the new toy storage shed was too small to store the large cushions so they were brought back inside and again stored with the other cots and bedding.

The small room off the main playroom is used for napping infants and storage of cots, bedding, books, and bulky items I don’t want to haul down to the basement storage area. This area is still sometimes referred to as the ‘Nature Area’ because I left the trees in there from when this used to be a play area – written about in the Nature Area and the Quiet Space posts.

Now, this is when the snowball began to form…

I recently wanted to use the big cushions for a toddler activity, but found it was very inconvenient to get them off the shelves behind the tree branches. I decided that on the upcoming long weekend I should move the trees into the main playroom. Afterall, though it did look nice having the tree branches forming a canopy over the cribs, it would be wonderful if the trees were in the playroom where everyone could enjoy them.

So, I started looking for the best place to mount the trees in the playroom…and decided that I would first need to move the toy food counter…which then meant I would need to change the block storage area. *sigh* The list of necessary changes continued to grow and after thirty plus hours of demo, rearranging, building and organizing the playroom has been mostly ‘prepped’ for the arrival of the trees but, even with a three-day weekend, there wasn’t enough time to actually move the trees.

I am pleased with the new arrangement – so far – and the children seemed to like it too. All of the children in the current group have only ever seen the trees as decorations in the nap area – never as part of the play space. They are familiar with having other things in the play environment change but probably don’t realize these trees can be relocated. I am certain they will be excited when I manage to complete the project – and with the cushion activity too whenever I get around to that.

There are still a few more little tasks to complete before the trees get moved but hopefully that will be done this weekend. The snowball forming now it the growing list of paperwork that I should be doing 🙂


Yesterday on Twitter I wrote “reorganized the filing cabinets, filed six months worth of loose papers and did eight loads of laundry – productive weekend so far!”  It was a somewhat impulsive comment and I’m certain that if anyone read it they would probably wonder why I felt compelled to blurt that out.  In fact, afterwards I wondered why too.

Actually, I did a whole lot of stuff this weekend that I didn’t tweet about.  I had my customary ‘To Do’ list for the weekend and I completed all the items on the list.  The laundry and filing were not items on the list – they were extra items.  Possibly I felt they were items that were worth bonus points because I had not planned to do them.

Secretly I wondered if I was trying to justify my distractibility. You see, I did some paperwork and cleaned off my desk – tasks that were on my list – and added some papers to the ‘To Be Filed’ file.  Yes, I have a special file for papers that are waiting to be filed in the files that they really belong in.

Don’t ask – it’s probably a process that only makes sense to me.

Anyway, I felt a little guilty about how full that file was getting so I decided to empty it.  When I opened the drawer to the filing cabinet I was immediately annoyed.  The files are all facing the wrong way and I have to turn around and stand on the dog bed in order to read the file labels.  This problem is a result of last summer when I rearranged the sun room and turned the filing cabinet around.

Instead of putting up with this situation any longer I chose to correct the orientation of all the files in the cabinet and re-organize them too.

I also determined that the cover for the dog bed needed to be washed and my quick search for anything else that I could throw in the washer resulted in eight loads of laundry.  Hence the tweet “reorganized the filing cabinets, filed six months worth of loose papers and did eight loads of laundry – productive weekend so far!

Would I still have considered it to be a productive weekend if I had only completed the items that were actually on the list?  Were the other things I did this weekend – leisure items like playing the piano – not productive because they were not chores?  What determines productivity and the usefulness of a task?

When we watch children play or work in school how do we decide if they are being productive?  Did they begrudgingly complete all the tasks they were required to do?  Did they get distracted from the assignment, use initiative and do something they were not asked to do?  Did they have fun and enjoy what they were doing?  What determines productivity?