How a cleaning routine has helped me is an example of the principle behind them – getting more done in less time. The old “have everything ready and set” method really does work for some tasks, but it is not a universal solution to all needs. Many jobs demand that we have a specific amount of time (a day, a week, or a month) allocated to do a job. Some require that we are free on the weekend. So how can we make the most use of these different kinds of schedules?
My favorite system involves having a daily cleaning routine. This may be a complex one, or simply a list of tasks that need to be done. I started this habit several years ago, as I struggled with my own sense of organization. In particular, I found that my clothes were piling up in the laundry, and there were too many pairs of shoes around the house for me to remember which was which, and where.
I also realized that I was spending too much time in front of the computer. I did not like this at all. So I wrote out a list of things that needed to be done each day. There was even a section detailing what was to be taken care of if I was away from home for any reason (like work). And I had to make a plan to make my weekly housecleaning schedule all week.
This routine helped to keep me on schedule. And the results showed. At first, I felt a little overwhelmed with the volume of things to do, but as the weeks went by I saw a real improvement. I became less stressed and actually found that I really enjoyed my weekly cleaning routine! It became a special routine, a “me” time, something that I looked forward to each week.
So, I want you to imagine your own cleaning routine. What things would you have to do? How many times a week would you spend on each task? How important is each task to you?
For me, spending three or four hours at a time on cleaning tasks seemed like an important enough thing to take care of. So I made a list. Now I know it is stupid and self-defeating to make such a list, but I figured that if I could label each task as important enough to be worth more than forty or fifty minutes of my time, then I would at least have an accurate measurement of how long the cleaning routine should take. Plus, it would be easy to see when I was behind on one thing or behind on another.
After I listed all of the things that I was going to have to do, I started to add. For example, one night was going to be shampooing the cat, and another day would be washing the floors. I never did anything more than a single task for any length of time. And I always made sure that I was cleaning in the same order as I usually would. That way, I was making things more like the system I had in my house, which helped me to use fewer cleaners and remember them faster.
So here is how a cleaning routine has improved my life: When I get ready to go to bed, I can look at my calendar and know exactly what I need to get done for the next day. There are mornings when I can even think about what I need to clean before I go to bed. And there are mornings when I can actually plan a schedule to fit the amount of time I have left in the day.