Lessons from ironing

Photo courtesy bcmom (Creative Commons)

I have to admit I truly hate ironing. It’s probably my least favorite chore, and I tend to leave it for Sunday afternoons, when I pretty much have to iron to have clothes for the work week.

So today after church, I set up the ironing board and got to work, mumbling under my breath about how I hate ironing. Then it occurred to me that if I thought about it, there might be a leadership lesson in the activity – something like Chris LoCurto finding leadership lessons at restaurants or on the racetrack.

Delegation? Not really, no one to delegate it to. Time management? I do tend to put it off until there are no clothes left to wear. But nothing seemed quite right.

I just let my mind wander.

Then I realized the key. Contemplative time.

Once I quit telling myself how much I hated what I was doing, it was a great opportunity to let my mind unhook. No agenda, no distractions, no plan. Just me and my thoughts.

I am not often still. I am amazed at people who meditate. I always have lists, deadlines, projects, email, social media, reading, writing. There’s always something to work on, and when I’m not working, I’m figuring out what is next on the list to be accomplished. My mind is always active and ideas tend to get muddled.

But today was different. It was quiet, with no TV, music, or electronics so my mind could drift. I thought about this blog. I mulled over the sermon from church this morning. For once in a long time, the “noise” of obligations quieted.

It was refreshing.

Yes, you read that right – ironing was refreshing. Amazing.

I realize I need to seek more opportunities like that to allow for contemplation. Maybe while doing the dishes. While running, certainly.

And I need to be proactive about it – seek time after church, or after a leadership conference, or a powerful podcast to allow time to process what I’ve heard.

So my question for you is this, do you allow yourself contemplative time? If so, how much more effective does it make you as a leader, spouse, parent, or co-worker?

2 thoughts on “Lessons from ironing

  1. Keep it up Carol. You can do it! good lesson… and just in case you’re looking for an opportunity …my wife is contemplating allowing you to do OUR laundry 🙂
    Press On.

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