Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Reclaim your time with a written cleaning plan

This is my first entry to Works for me Wednesday.

I got this idea from a single mom who was a year ahead of me in teaching college. She said that the only way she ever managed to get her grading and planning done on top of everything else was to reclaim small bits of time throughout her day. Instead of waiting until she had a free hour, she would find five minutes while waiting outside her daughter’s school and pull a 5 minute task out of her work bag to accomplish.

I try to use this tactic with my grading, but I’ve definitely found it to work with my cleaning. I save lots of time cleaning by figuring out how long things will take and getting them done whenever I have a moment.

Over the past year, I have noted how long various household chores take, both of my active time and of passive machine time. For example – Sweeping kitchen floor (5 minutes) vs. Run Dishwasher (5 minutes active, 45 minutes passive). Some of these are in my head, but some tasks that I do less often I still write down in a notebook which I keep in the kitchen. If I’m microwaving something for two minutes, I grab a two minute task from my notebook (shine my sink), and it’s amazing how much I get done.

If I have a whole hour, I will devise a more complicated plan of attack. For example:

Switch clothes to dryer (1 minute active, 50 minutes passive)
Start dishwasher (5 minutes active, 45 minutes passive)
Sweep floor (5 minutes)
Swiffer/damp rag mop floor (5 minutes)
Update blog (10 minutes – see how I snuck that in there?)
Wipe down counters (2 minutes)
Shine sink (2 minute)
Dust (10 minutes)
Vacuum living room and hallway (10 minutes)
Fold clothes (because of course, they’re done now) (5 minutes)
Empty dishwasher (5 minutes)

It looks like a lot, but I can get all this done in an hour specifically because I made the plan. If I didn’t have a plan, I would waste a lot of time, dawdling, procrastinating, and trying to figure out what to do next. Things always seem to me like they will take longer than they do, so actually timing myself and putting it in writing keeps me honest about how much I can accomplish. It’s funny how once I’ve written down that I can do something, I really can.

Well, anyway, it works for me.


mummymac said...

ok i'll try it!!

Mama Pajama said...

Great ideas! I waste so much time waiting around (microwave, dryer, etc.). I could probably get the kitchen floor swept every day (if I really wanted LOL ).

Kelley said...

what?! only 10 minutes for blogging?!

Kara said...

Good plan! I need to do that. Of course I can't put blogging in the middle of my cleaning or I'd get sidetracked and never finish lol!

Birdie said...

I do this, too. This is one area where I think it may actually help to be hyper-active! ;) I seem to get a lot done in my spare bits of time since I cannot sit still anyway!

Stephanie said...

This is a very good idea - I often have thought that it might be best to do things like this during those "spare five minutes" - but the notebook idea is what I really needed to make it work, because I often get to one of those "spare five minutes" and spend the whole time thinking about what I should do!

Kim C. said...

Sorry to put this in a comment but I couldn't find your email.
Would you mind doing a small update to the code for the Frugal Blogroll?
The Blogroll has been moved to a new site, Frugal Hacks, so the "Join Here" link needs to point there as well. The new url is http://frugalhacks.com/?page_id=65.
Also, I am featuring one Frugal Blogroll member's blog each week, and would love to do yours soon. Are you interested?

story girl said...

So sorry! It's fixed now. I'll email you in the morning about the showcase.