3/4/15

Keeping Yesterday's Tasks in Yesterday

I recently read The Organically Clean Home by Becky Rapinchuck of cleanmama.net. I had never read her blog before, but downloaded the book because it was in Kindle Unlimited and I'm always up for some new ideas as I strive to get and stay on track. Many of the recipes were things that I've been doing similarly for some time and some were new to me. Either way, they're all great and I highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you're new to green cleaning. This is a fantastic resource, and I'll be buying a print copy as soon as I can.

That said, this isn't a review post per say. This is an "aha-moment" post, inspired by something Becky says at the beginning of her book. Her daily cleaning routine. I've actually heard similar advice before but never actually put it into practice until reading The Organically Clean Home. After reading her book I now do the following five things every night before bed: 

  • Sweep- We have mostly hard floors except in the bedrooms.
  • De-Clutter- We have radiators and they tend to serve as secondary tables to us, accumulating mass quantities of junk. I clean them all off before bed.
  • Run the Dishwasher- I believe she suggests turning it on before bed and unloading it in the morning. Ours is a portable and I don't feel comfortable leaving it on all night, so I run it and do the rest of these while it's going.
  • Wipe off Counters and Stove
  • Clean out Sink- I do this when I shut the dishwasher off. I do leave the clean dishes until the next morning. 
What I noticed the first few days of implementing this was how fantastic and relaxing it is to walk into a dinning room that doesn't need to be swept and look at a table that isn't covered in junk, then walk through to a kitchen where the sink is sparkling, the counters aren't covered in crumbs and there aren't stacks of dishes waiting to be washed. It was so nice to have these things accomplished and ready to go. I noticed that I was getting a lot more done throughout the day once I made these little changes, that take me less than a cycle of the dishwasher to complete.

I simply chalked this up to me being more motivated and interested in keeping my home clean. Which is true, in part. What I didn't realize until this morning is that I've been accomplishing so much more every day because I only have to focus on today.

When I walked into my kitchen this morning my first thought was, "I'm so glad I did yesterday's chores yesterday." Really that's what it boils down to. When I was leaving the floors to be swept, the table and radiators covered in clutter, the dishes undone, and the counters and sink un-wiped, what I was really doing was leaving today's tasks for tomorrow. These are all tasks that we know have to be accomplished, but they're so easy to put off after a long day. 

What happens though, at least for me, is that I ended up doing yesterday's tasks today and never fully getting caught up. Every day I would spend the time getting caught up on the things I neglected the previous day and by the time I had finished with yesterday's tasks I didn't want to do any of today's. In part because of all the time and energy I'd already expended and in part because after doing those things I felt like I'd accomplished quite a bit, so I lost momentum to do anything else.

I realized today that I had basically been chasing my tail where my house was concerned, but now I'm actually moving forward. By doing yesterday's tasks yesterday, I can focus on doing something new today. This morning when I woke up I didn't need to sweep, de-clutter, load the dishwasher or wipe off the counters. Today when I woke up I simply needed to focus on today, and because all of the basic stuff was already done I got to focus on something I don't need to do every day. 

Today that was organizing my cupboards and scrubbing the bathroom. These are two of the many things that I've neglected in the past because I had so much other stuff to do I just couldn't fit them in. Every day since implementing her advice I've been able to get another oft-neglected task accomplished. I actually feel like I'm making progress now. I've rarely felt that way in the last several years. 

Seriously, it takes me less than twenty minutes to do these tasks every night and it has shaped my entire day and helped me to get so much more done...and to actually feel like I'm making headway.

Even though this isn't an "official" review, I will give her five big stars! Check out her book and blog, and try to incorporate these little changes into your routine and see if they don't help you too!