May 20, 2014
Life gets busy. It ebbs and flows. But nothing is more stressful than when your to-do list seems to be getting out of hand. You have more deadlines than usual at work, family obligations are oddly frequent, personal matters need attending and that dentist appointment is coming up. When there seems to be too much on your plate at once, it’s easy to just skip the things you “don’t have to do” to make time for everything else.
It’s easy to put off the little things around the house: emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, vacuuming, taking out the recyclables. Sure, it’s fine to compromise for a few days, but pretty soon that “don’t have to do” list will affect productivity on your “to do” list, even if you don’t realize it.
One of the best ways to regain a sense of control and relieve some stress: clean your home! Take the time. Those few hours you take away from your “must-do’s” will be well worth it in the end.
Having a cluttered or dirty home is a consistent reminder that your list has gotten so long that you don’t feel like you have time for anything else. As you work and live in the mess, small tasks subconsciously get added to your “don’t have to do” list. Though you’re telling yourself not to worry about it right now, thats just more brain power you’re devoting to an already overgrown list.
Still feel overwhelmed? Here are my tips for getting it done:
Set aside a specific window of time.
Depending on the mess, allot yourself so many hours to just clean. Example: “From 10 a.m. to noon, I’ll just focus on cleaning.” Defining this window will keep you motivated to get everything done quickly and efficiently, and knowing that by noon you can jump back onto your main to-do list will prevent you from stressing about the time you’re “losing” during the process.
Plan the process.
Before you start, make a quick mental agenda of what you need to do, and the order it makes sense to do it in. If you need to get laundry done, throw that in first so that you can clean other areas while clothes are in the wash. Save vacuuming for last so that you can quickly wipe down surfaces, knowing you’ll be cleaning the floor afterwards. This will also prevent you from pausing in the middle of your window, weighing your options and debating where to go next.
Make it fun.
Find ways to make the process more fun for yourself. If you’re going to be running around the entire apartment, put on your favorite music – and play it as loud as your neighbors will bear. If you need to take time to fold several loads of laundry, put on that TV show you’re behind on.
After your done, plan a schedule for the future.
Now that you’ve done a massive clean sweep and got yourself back to clean-square-one, figure out a schedule that will work for you in the future to keep things clean. It’s easier to clean small amounts as you go than setting aside hours on end, week after week. Having a schedule will also keep your mind at ease knowing “I’ll take the trash out on Tuesdays,” rather than, “I’ll take the trash out later, I promise. Okay, maybe tomorrow. Nope, not yet, next week.”