In The Trenches

How to load your “dishwasher”​

Published on June 10, 2019 Back to blog
Dirty dishes

This weekend, as I was re-organizing our dishwasher to make room for the dinner mess, I had a thought (aside from “who loaded this thing?!”). 

Our dishwasher is not much unlike like our heads/brains. If overloaded, not everything will get done properly and some things may even break. If not organized properly, it will likely require more cycles and extra time to get things done. If we don’t clear it out, things pile up around us. And, with all of the above, everyone who depends on it gets frustrated.

Every day, we toss new information, challenges, tasks and other things into our heads. If we don’t take the time to load and manage our metaphorical dishwasher properly, we (and those who depend upon us) will live in a constant state of anxiety. 

So, while I’m sure that we could all benefit from an actual lesson on how to load a dishwasher (this could definitely be used in my house), I thought instead I’d share a few suggestions on how to deal with the one installed above our shoulders:

  1. Take a moment to assess and organize. Our days can be crazy. Throughout them, we toss a ton of things into our heads. Take a moment to stop and organize your thoughts. Create a to-do list, prioritize tasks, organize your notes, clean your desk, meditate. It may take a few extra moments but, once you do so, you’ll likely be relieved to see that it’s not as overwhelming as it seemed. You could probably still fit in 5 more plates, 3 more bowls, 7 more mugs and a ton of silverware.
  2. Take out (or don’t put in) what doesn’t belong. Don’t dwell on what is out of your control or what may’ve happened in the past. Get it out of your head to make room for what you can actually address. The crock pot doesn’t go in the dishwasher. Take it out, clean it separately and put it away.
  3. Wipe/rinse first. Some of the tasks we take on are often filled with unnecessary data, misinformation and, to use a more technical term, gunk. Don’t let that stuff fill your head. Instead, take in what really matters and leave the rest behind. It will make it much easier to address, while also saving room for other more important things. In other words, rinse the left-overs off the plate first. 
  4. Let some things soak for a while. We have a tendency to take on every issue/challenge as soon as it is brought to our attention. However, some things just need some time to work themselves out and/or have others bring them further along before we need to jump in. Let the burnt cookie sheet soak for a bit. It will likely be much easier to clean later. 
  5. Unload it when it’s done. Don’t let things sit with you forever. They just take up unnecessary space. Once you finish a task, file it away and make room for what’s next. Otherwise, everything new that comes your way will require manual washing, which takes much more time and energy. (Or you’ll be forced to use paper goods which just create more waste.)
  6. Give it what it needs to work properly. When it comes time to process issues and address challenges, make sure your head is ready to do so. Your brain works best when you have proper sleep, nutrition and exercise. Feed it accordingly. Otherwise, it may be like running the dishwasher without putting in any soap – the end result won’t be as good, and you’ll likely end up running it again.

I hope that this post helps you better manage all that is in your head, clears some room for more, and prevents you from breaking down too often. I hope it also helps with your dishwasher.

Have a great day!

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners