Day 312 The smallest deed

“The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.” -John Burroughs

How many days do you start out with good intentions to do something useful with your day. A little decluttering here, some tidying up, finishing a craft project, getting some exercise etc. Unfortunately, good intentions don’t mean anything unless you actually follow through with action. Unfulfilled good intentions aren’t that different to procrastinating and neither help you feel good about yourself.

What is blocking you from following through. Some of the reasons may be…

  • Inertia caused by sadness due to heartbreak or bereavement – I can relate to this one after sitting in ICU and Neurology wards for the last two weeks. It can be very hard to dust yourself off and try to think of anything else except your sorrow when your world comes crashing down around you. I found that getting busy with a task helped take my mind off my troubles for a while or at least made me feel useful. I told myself that I am not the first person to be in this position and won’t be the last, so giving up wasn’t going to make the situation better.
  • Health problems that cause mobility issues – This is a very real problem for some people and it is very easy to give up trying. I think the best thing to do is to tackle the tasks that you know you are capable of and let someone else help with the physical stuff that are just to difficult. So long as you are having input rather than feeling useless it has to be good for your piece of mind.
  • Low self esteem due to weight issues or feelings of failure – There are always times when we just feel down about ourselves. Times when we haven’t been as successful as we feel we should have been at one thing or another. Just remember tomorrow is another day and you can start again with a new mind set. Set the bar a little lower and once reached you can go to the next level instead of setting goals that are too lofty. Reaching your goals are possible if you don’t set yourself up for failure but making each step to great.
  • Just not knowing where to start doing what it is you want to do – This is not a sign of weakness, it is just a fact that if you aren’t taught something you can’t expect to know what to do. I don’t know how to change the spark plugs in my car but if someone showed me the steps involved I would know how to go about it the next time I needed it done. It is the same with most things that you want to do. If you don’t know how, take a lesson or get some professional help then in future you will know where to begin and possibly adapt the method to suit your particular needs.
  • You are focusing on the big picture instead of breaking the job down into small pieces – Sometimes it doesn’t pay to look at the enormity of the task but better to break it down into bite size chunks that you can deal with easily. Decluttering is a perfect example of a project that this method can be adapted to. You can take a look around your home and think “Oh my God! There is so much work to be done.”  Or you can think “OK, today I will clean out this room or this cupboard or even just this draw” and you will feel you have achieved your set task, made a good start and move on to the next task tomorrow.
  • Just feeling to lazy to be bothered – This is OK if it is a temporary thing but if it pervades your every waking moment then you need to do some serious soul searching. If you are reading this post then I would say you are at a point where you feel you need to do something about this problem and that is good.  My advice is just get started by weaning yourself off your laziness by making an effort to do a small task each day. Slowly build that task up to a bigger and bigger undertaking and before you know it you will be proud of yourself again and feel like a worthwhile human being.

Turn your good intentions into a small deed today and see how much better it feels to follow through rather than just have the thought.


Tool storage grid that we used for another purpose for many years but has sat in storage and in the garage for the last 13 years. The less stuff we have to store the less stuff we need to organise it with so out this goes.
Tool storage Grid

5 things I am grateful for today

  1. A feeling of peacefulness – although Liam may only make slow progress from now I am at peace with that because he is so much better than he was a week ago.
  2. Laughter – One of the things my mother taught me to do well and it really is the best medicine.
  3. Family – In times of need they sure rally around.
  4. Lamb – We are having roast lamb leg and vegetables with gravy and mint sauce for dinner tonight. I will likely lick my plate. Mmmm Mmmm!
  5. My new blog look – Hubby has been busy redecorating my blog and he did a good job don’t you think.
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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Your blog looks fantastic! I’m so glad your boy is improving. I can’t imagine how painful that must be. I have 2 sons ages 17 and 18 and if anything ever happened to them-I would be a wreck. I will continue praying for your family

    • Hi Jana,
      thank you so much, all the prayers have worked well so far. My daughter was telling me today that Liam is coming up with strategies to help him remember the questions he has to answer each day for his post traumatic amnesia testing. Smart boy!

      I am glad you like the new look of my blog. I will let my hubby know you approve.

  2. Fancy new blog look. I like it.

    My two biggest hang ups are 1) overwhelmed and 2) inertia. Enough has been accomplished that I no longer get overwhelmed, but inertia still keeps me firmly planted on my rump sometimes.

    Having guests for dinner Thursday night. I’m excited to see what I accomplish in preparation for their arrival.

    Good post Colleen.

    • Hi Cindy,
      I am sure your home will look great when your guests arrive on Thursday. Just remember ten minutes a day. It is surprising how much you can get done in that time. If you can recruit your girls to help then you can get 30 minutes a day taken care of.

      I am glad you also like the new look 365lessthings. It is much more neat and tidy just the way I like things.

  3. I do like the new blog look especially since blue is my favorite color. And I’m so pleased to hear of any progress Liam makes

    There are so many good thoughts in this post. It’s important to find out why we’re not following through on our intentions. There are a couple of areas in my home that simply overhwelm me–I don’t know where to start. I think I’ll try figuring out how to break down the jobs in to smaller bits.

    Thanks for reminding me to not stop when I get bogged down.

    • Hi Willow,
      you know I need to practice what I preach at times and there are a few areas I have been avoiding to. My hubby is busy right now dealing with some of his beloved stuff so I had better get my butt up and do the same.

  4. Oh my god I’m coming for dinner…


  5. Helpful post. Thanks!
    A couple of sayings that have helped me immensely:
    “If you’ve done ONE thing, you’ve done SOMETHING!” (At least I emptied the dishwasher — I wasn’t a total bum! Hmmm … if I can do that, maybe I can do one more thing … )
    “Don’t let an imperfect situation be an excuse to do nothing!” (It would be so much easier to do _______ if only _______. Yeah, it may be easier then, but I can still do something about it NOW!)

    I’ve been praying for Liam and the rest of your family and will continue to do so. Thank you for the updates.

    • Hi Crystal A,
      great comment! Expect to find this one on Friday’s Favourite Five comments this week because I think that is wonderful advice.

      Thank you for your prayers for Liam keep them coming. He is still suffering from post traumatic amnesia and that could go on for some time. Aside from that you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with him. His sister is sick of him already and wishes he would stop talking again. lol 🙂

  6. All of these have had a hand in my stuck-ivity at some point. The one that is left and which it’s good to get a reminder on is being overwhelmed. Breaking it down, and breaking it down again if you’re still overwhelmed, is really key to beating this. Great post, Colleen.

    Go, Liam!

    • Hi Jo,
      as you say break it down and break it down again until you get to a point where you are comfortable. Then you can see that it is just a series of small tasks rather than a mammoth undertaking.

  7. I have been feeling overwhelmed by stress lately which makes decluttering much more overwhelming. However, when I look at your situation, Colleen, with your boy in ICU and still recovering, I have no excuse. You are an inspiration! Thank you.

    • Hi Di,
      Thank you for that but everyone’s burden if individual to them and what seems like a small issue to some is a big issue to others. I just find it best the dust myself off and do something useful and then I just feel better about myself. So don'[t be too hard on yourself.

  8. Also wanted to say how much I like the new clean look of your blog. Great job, Colleen’s husband!


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