If you are anything like me, you really don’t like spending your time doing housework. But the other side of that is that I really do appreciate living and working in an orderly, tidy environment. Really, think about it . . . . how would it work out if we went to work in a bank and it was a totally chaotic mess with papers piled on every counter top and desk? Or what about if our kids went to school and the hallways were littered with trash, left over peanut butter sandwiches, and dirty clothes piled in every corner?
When you think about it, most work places have someone come in after hours and tidy up, sweep, wash the floors, and clean the bathrooms. So when the employees show up every morning, they at least have a place to sit down, they can find their desk top, and the floors have been vacuumed. But what about those of us who work from home? How do we find a place to work that is orderly?
If you have children (or a spouse, or a dog or a cat, or anyone or anything else that lives with you) you know that it is an unending task to keep things picked up, put away, washed, dried, folded, swept, mopped, dusted, etc, etc, etc. I could spend every hour of every day just doing housework! But I don’t want to! I try to not let stuff bother me, such as clean folded laundry piles sitting on the girls’ beds, waiting for them to put it all away. I try to ignore the piles of papers that come through the door every day from school, church, the mail box . . . . and those millions of tiny scraps of paper that little girls LOVE to cut up and deposit on the floor of every room of the house. Creativity, what can I say?
OK, I’ll admit it . . . . I make messes, too. But usually I clean up my messes when I’m finished with a project. When I’m sewing, I make a TERRIBLE mess, because I’m focused on creating something and I can’t be bothered with picking up every scrap of fabric or snipped off thread as I go along. But when that project is completed, out comes the trash bag and the vacuum sweeper and I try to get things back under control before I start the next big creative project. Kids and husbands, not so much.
Here’s what I’ve been doing for several weeks, and it has really helped: I set the timer on my kitchen stove for 30 minutes. Now, I know that if you have small children, you probably don’t have 30 minutes, ever, to focus on just one task. Whatever you can squeeze out, just try to focus on one thing for a designated amount of time, even if it is only 10 minutes.
That way, if I need to fold the laundry, do the dishes, scrub a bathroom, or sweep a floor, I know that I won’t STILL be cleaning the house four hours later. It’s amazing how motivated I can be when I know that in 30 minutes, I will be able to move on to something I would rather do, such as write a new blog post ;o) or work on a sewing project, or work on the next issue of the Ruby for Women magazine.
Then, when the timer beeps, I set it for another 30 minutes, and zip around working on something else, usually something creative and messy! As I continue to do this little routine throughout the day, it is so encouraging to see things actually getting accomplished and I’m having the joy of seeing the results of my work as well as having the fun of being creative. So, for instance, I’m working on a craft project (for which I plan to write up a tutorial!) for making an Advent Calendar (for next Christmas, of course!) out of a painted cookie tin and little envelopes or doors . . . haven’t decided yet.
It only takes a few minutes to paint the tray, then I can go write a blog post while the paint dries, then, when I’m at a good stopping point with my writing, I can put the second coat of paint on the tray. So when I’ve accomplished several tasks this way, and I want to go out to the sewing studio for two hours, I feel like I have made enough progress on the other necessary tasks, that I have “earned” those hours to go out and play!
I don’t know if that would work for you or not, but it certainly has helped me accomplish more in a day, instead of getting bogged down with feeling overwhelmed because a task (house work) seems like it will never get done, no matter how long I work at it. Really, give it a try, and let me know what you think! Have a great Friday, and a blessed weekend, and don’t forget to relax and enjoy the celebrations of the season. ~~ Nina