Y’all know that it is a scientifically proven FACT that we can get more done in the 15 minutes before company arrives than we can in about a month of day to day chores.
It’s like the moment you receive that text from your mom-friend a little battery ignites in your soul and you are the energizer bunny, running around your house cleaning all the things. Your kids stand back because they are unsure of what exactly it is that mommy is on but they know darned well that if they get in your way they are as likely to be swept into the trash heap as they are to be side smacked by your frantic dusting motions.
It’s insane just how much motivation, drive and stinkin’ energy can be found in the simple words, “we are just around the corner.”
But, did you know, that you can actually harness about a tenth of that energy by simply setting a timer and committing to crushing a cleaning session in the allotted time.
There is just something motivating about beating the clock. About seeing exactly how much we can accomplish before the job is done. It’s a race against yourself and you will be damned if you lose.
I mean, it may just be me, but there is this tiny voice in my head that says, “remember the LAST time you tackled the kitchen in 15 minutes, you decided to brew a pot of coffee and challenged yourself to empty and reload the dishwasher. You nailed it with time to spare girl! You can TOTALLY do that AND wipe down the cupboards!!”
I set the time, or start the kettle, and I’m off.
Now, the actual last time I did this I was wildly pregnant and so reaching across my belly and then untoward the cupboards was a virtual impossibility for me so my thoughts were not QUITE “clean all the things” but more, just don’t pull a muscle while you load the dishwasher … but you catch my drift.
We can compete against ourselves. It’s that cliche saying, “you are your BIGGEST competition.”
The other thing that is markedly awesome about this technique is that we are retraining our brains to acknowledge that the tasks we keep putting off (and, let me tell you, I am an EXPERT at putting them off) are really not THAT hard.
Like the pile of dishes and recycling that is building up on your counter, that you are looking at with a sense of despair … it takes 15 minutes to tidy up, throw out, and toss in the dishwasher. And GUESS WHAT >> the dishwasher takes care of the hard stuff.
It *literally* washes and dries your dishes FOR YOU.
All you have to do is load and unload it.
… unless it is OUR dishwasher, then you literally have to rinse or chip off every SINGLE crumb or slick of sauce otherwise it decides it’s not going to do what we aren’t willing to do. It’s a sassy, old, and not very effective dishwasher but … it came with the house so we will hold onto it until we can save for a replacement.
But, seriously, the clean clothes couch … takes MAYBE 30 minutes to fold and put away *and that’s when it is HEAPING*.
The hardest part of it all is just starting the job. Is getting over this sense of having fallen behind, getting over that pity party that we allow to fill our head that we are failing because we let the counter get cluttered when we PROMISED that we would keep that space cleared. And just DO the job.
15 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 MINUTES for crying out loud. Set the timer and get to it.
You know there is a limit to the amount of time you will spend on the task, you are driven to see JUST how much you can get done, and at the end of the timer you can either take a break OR – if you are on a roll and you’ve gained momentum – you can set a new timer and tackle what’s remaining or the next “BIG” project.
Guys, it’s like anything else in life, if we keep putting it off, if we don’t just START, the task in front of us will become so big, will seem so insurmountable that we will start to doubt if we will EVER be able to finish it.
BUT, if we break it down into 15 minute chunks or baby tasks, we will remember that (a) it’s only a few dirty dishes, and (b) we will realize that we have no need to FEAR this job, just get it done and move on with our day.
They say you can’t eat an elephant in one bite. The same goes for all the things around the house. You can’t do it all at once, and SURE, it is harder when you’ve let it slip a bit, but GIRL, it is do-able, it won’t take forever, and once you get it done you can get back on the “I’m going to maintain it this time” bandwagon.
The Timer Tidy, seriously.
Don’t let something as simple as picking up the toys or changing over the laundry steal your joy today. It isn’t as bad as that stupid voice in your head makes it out to be. It may be worse than if you had “stuck” with your maintenance plan that you had FULLY committed to at the beginning of the year, but you are nowhere near the next family to be featured on Hoarders.
Just set the timer, challenge yourself, and get to work.
Then celebrate with a cool beer and maybe a pat on the back.
You’ve got this!