I am what you could call “persuasion averse”. If you tell me I “should” do something, I immediately don’t want to do it. It’s a perverse reflex, I know, but a reflex it is. (The irony is that I sometimes try to persuade others to do things!)
So imagine how effective my own list of “should do” items is. Yeah, not very. I tend to panic, freeze up, and then do nothing.
But I’m working on it!
One recent development is my new house cleaning routine. It is focused and open-ended, meaning that it allows me to accomplish what I can, and feel good about it, rather than listing a bunch of big jobs and then feel crappy about it.
It is simply this: I have seven rooms/zones. I simply work on one room per day, doing whatever I can in that room that day. I can’t work on it the next day, because there’s a different room to focus on. And if I don’t get much (or anything) done there that day, it doesn’t matter too much because it’ll come around next week.
This handily makes a weekly routine, but it could just as easily be a five-day routine, or an eight or ten day routine. What matters is that it is regular, focused and open-ended.
What do I mean about open-ended? Well, instead of going into a room and making a list (“I need to clean the closet, and I really have to repair that picture frame, and I absolutely must tackle that mound of dirty clothes”), I go into the room and think “What can I do here?” and then I do one thing. And then if I have time, I do another thing. And depending on the time I have, I go from there.
The other benefit is that it saves me from getting overwhelmed about ALL the things I need to do to improve my living space. Usually if I start on one project I easily get side-tracked with messes in other areas. With this routine, I stay focused on the room I am in.
So there you have it, a weekly cleaning routine that doesn’t feel like a life sentence. I’m only on day four, but already I can see improvements. And believe it or not, I’m excited for next week to roll around so I can get to the things that I wasn’t able to complete in the rooms I’ve already been to.
Does this make sense to you?