I know. You’re probably wondering what being more productive with your time has to do with keeping your house clean.
A lot, actually. If you can be more productive with your time, you can clean your home in less time and then use the time you have left for something fun, like a dance party in your clean kitchen. Or, I don’t know, something more reasonable that you can think of; family time, maybe?
Using our time wisely isn’t something that people think of when they think of cleaning the house. The two don’t seem to go together at all. When most people think of time management and productivity, they think of work. Usually someone else’s work: an accountant, maybe.
But you are the CEO of your home, and as such, you need to be as productive with your time as much as any other executive manager.
When it comes to home management and using your time efficiently, there are a few things that you need to know.
I don’t need to tell you about wasting time. You already know, right? Facebook, Pinterest, texting, Netflix, the list goes on and on. Because really, those things are all way more interesting than scrubbing a toilet.
There are others too, like not planning your meals in advance, not using a planner of some kind and if you do, not looking ahead. Really, if you don’t use a planner, what do you do about to-do lists and appointments?
And what about clutter? Is your home cluttered? That will waste a lot of time, even if you are trying to clean. Let me give you a hint (because I’ve seen women do it before): taking all that clutter and “organizing” it into a nice neat pile doesn’t change the fact that it’s clutter.
And if we’re talking about clutter, you know we need to talk about organization. Part of the reason you have clutter is that you don’t have a place for it. Everything in your home needs a home of its own. How can you put something away if it doesn’t have a place where it goes?
My little writing assistant tells me that all of this is very disheartening. I don’t mean it to be, but facts are facts, right? This leads us to the next reason you’re not more productive with your time, and a little commentary on our present time.
Lack of Motivation
As I said earlier, when do we ever get motivated to scrub a toilet? Not very often, right? Surely anything would be better than that. Except sometimes you look at that thing and you just can’t stand it anymore. Cleaning it turns out to be better than looking at it any longer.
And there you have your motivation.
But you don’t want to wait until things are so gross that you can’t stand living that way anymore. You need to find a way to motivate yourself to get the cleaning done – sooner and faster. Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered there. It may just take some time.
Because right now, in this weird world we’re living in, where everything has changed, it’s hard to get motivated to do much of anything. I know. I’ve had all kinds of good intentions these past few weeks and I’ve done next to nothing.
It can be difficult to just get off the couch when all the news we get is so bleak. But this is exactly the time that you should be focusing on getting your home in order. You and your loved ones deserve a warm and comfortable shelter right now, a place to feel safe. And in light of current events, a clean home is a safe one.
Do You Have an Hour?
I used to be a big fan of Flylady. I still admire her, but I found her process (especially all of her emails) overwhelming. But one thing she used to say (and probably still does) is that you can do anything for 15 minutes. And that’s true.
So if you don’t even have an hour, or it seems like too much, break it up into four 15 minute segments. You don’t really even need motivation for 15 minutes. The fact that it’s only a few minutes long is motivation enough.
The first thing you might want to do is make a list of what needs to be done room by room. Some things – like dusting and doing the floors – don’t even need a “room assignment”.
This way, you’re putting together a plan of action. Then we’re going to break it down into little pieces so you can get it done. Not in one hour in one day, but 15 minutes here and there until it’s done.
And if you have clutter, that’s your first item on your list. If there is clutter in more than one room, start with the kitchen and bathroom. If people in your house have bedrooms and are old enough to clean them by themselves, they get the clutter assignment (and all others) for their room.
Keeping clutter under control and out of your house as much as possible is something you need to be on top of all the time. While there are better ways to be productive with your time, they won’t be as effective if you have clutter.
And if you keep on top of it, it really shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes a day. Your biggest problem will be with those piles of things that you want to keep, but that don’t have a home. And hey, I’m not asking you to turn your house into the poster home for a magazine.
As I sit here, there are three bags next to me with craft and journaling supplies in them, three notebooks on my nightstand, and a pile of books over by the table on the other side of the room. They may not look the nicest, but they don’t get in the way of cleaning the room and they’re not so out of hand that they look messy.
Remember, you’re the CEO at your house. You decide what looks like clutter and what just looks “lived in”.
Some Easy Cleaning Tips
Some of these are tips that you read everywhere, and I’ve even written about them before myself. But that doesn’t mean I don’t forget once in a while. And maybe some of these will be new ideas, who knows?
- Start with the kitchen and bathroom. That’s the advice I’ve given for years, but it’s even more important now. Make sure the garbage goes out daily and the sink is cleaned at the end of the day.
- Clean from top to bottom. I always forget this. I clean the stovetop, then clean the microwave that’s over it. Now what? I’ve got to clean the stove again!
- Batch things together. If you have to dust, do it all at once. The whole house. And do it before you do the floors.
- Give your cleaning products time to work. Don’t spray and wipe. Spray a few things, wait for a minute or two (really, a minute or more), and then wipe. That way, the cleaner is working instead of you. And you’re being productive with your time.
- Be careful using more than one cleaner. We don’t need you passing out on the bathroom floor. Now is not the time for a trip to the ER.
- Disposable gloves or gloves per job. Bathroom gloves stay in the bathroom, and toilet gloves only clean toilets. And if you’re using a cloth to clean, the order is cleanest to dirtiest. So sink, shower and tub, then the toilet. When I do my bathrooms, I don’t even use cloth for the toilet. That gets paper towels.
The idea here is to get things clean then keep them that way with a little daily maintenance. I’ve got a lot more information and printables in the Library. You can get access by signing up for my emails below.