Rudey's Room

My Visit to FLW's House

“This constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy.”

– Kerry Gleeson from the Personal Efficiency Program


Schools out for summer!

To kick-off summer, I hired a babysitter for a few hours on Thursday afternoon. I had hit a wall, and itched to ease into summer with a moment of “me time.”

Recharging myself clears my mind, and sets the pace for the summer – a relaxed pace, driven more by the weather than the clock.

I visited Frank Lloyd Wright‘s house in Oak Park. Finally!


Every June, I print two lists – one personal and one scholastic. My personal list contains activities, special events, restaurants, parks, workouts to try. I gather and type up ideas the months leading up to summer break.

I have general to-do items: Life upkeep that gets shuffled away in the nitty-gritty of the school year, like, oh, shifting through piles of artwork and re-organizing closets.

I’ve had a few unwieldy goals sit, unaccomplished, on my summer to-do list for like, FOREVER!

Painting guest room dressers and visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s house, to name two.

Several years ago, I read the novel Loving Frank. I was intrigued by the fictional account from Mamah Borthwick’s perspective about the illicit love affair she had with Wright at the turn of the 20th century.

Afterward, I added tour Frank Lloyd Wright house to my master list.

And there it sat.

For the last two summers, I had “go to the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Oak Park” on my list.

My procrastination was nibbling at me. Just ever so slightly.

Did I really want to visit it?

As I experienced that afternoon, yes. I was inspired by the famous architect’s innovation.

The geometric shapes and natural lighting:


The bay windows and built-in furniture:


The ingenious use of space:


What was holding me back?

In part, quotidien life trumped my back-burner list. Trying a new park is easy and habit: My girls are an everyday reminder. Wright was not pressing, so it could wait.

But the biggest culprit: My life balance was off the mark, and needed a facelift.

I had two major changes this school year:  I was trained in the Leader in Me program, and I bought an iphone.

During the training, I learned about the seventh habit. Franklin Covey’s choice of words, sharpening the saw, does not resonate with me. I’m not a lumberjack, so clumsy I should barely be near a kitchen knife. However, the concept of preserving and enhancing yourself – sign me up! I understand the need to treat it. By his terms, it means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual.

imageWright was a good reminder to draft my life, eyes open to the four aspects of my well-being:


The second change, focused on the organization of my lists. My personal list was a paper list that I barely glanced at once summer got rolling. My can-wait items were tossed aside, forgotten. Using the reminders app on my iphone, I created three lists for this summer:

  • Summer for girls
  • Summer for me
  • Summer for school

I jotted (and continue to jot) down items in each category. If the item is a real back-burner, I put reminders on my calendar to get into the habit. Then I move the items from the above lists to the my weekly lists: Labeled Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

The days are fluid and if an item is not done on Day 1, I move it to Day 6 or Day 1 the next week. Whatever. But this system helps me accomplish what I want to do in a given week. If not, no big deal and I can come back to it the next week.

What is simmering on your personal back-burner? What method do you use to ensure you get items off your can-wait list and onto your to-do list?

Fun fact: Wright’s son, John, invented Lincoln logs. Building miniature forts = brilliant!

Ciao for now.

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