The sink is overflowing with dirty dishes, Mt. Laundry is about to erupt at any moment, the kids are starting to doodle in the dust on the tv, and you don’t know if the smears on the wall is chocolate or…. Ugh. Someone has got to clean this place and that someone is you. But you’d rather be doing absolutely anything else.
We all have those days. It’s important to have a couple of tips in your pocket to help you get motivated to get done what needs to get done. Here are some of my personal favorites.
1 | Get dressed
If there’s one thing I know, I know that no matter what you’re doing, if you want to do anything well, you get up, dress up, and show up. You don’t have to get on your Sunday best, that’s for sure, but you can’t expect to feel like doing anything productive if you’re still slugging around in the pajamas you put on two days ago. Put your bra on, throw on some old jeans and sneakers, pull your hair back, and wash your face. You and Mr. Clean have a date.
2 | Give yourself a time limit
Don’t think about how much you have to do or how long it’s going to take to get it done, just give yourself a block of time – 10, 15, 30 minutes – and promise yourself that you’ll give it all you’ve got for that time period. I promise you will be AMAZED at what you can get done within tiny time blocks.
3 | Give yourself a space limit
The same rule as above applies here. Avoid the urge to dwell on all the things that you have to do. You don’t have to clean every single square inch of your house in one day. No. No you don’t. Give yourself a single space to work on and work there until you are done. Then, if you can, move onto the next space. But do no – I repeat: Do Not float from room to room. If you do, you’ll wind up feeling like you’ve worked all day and achieved nothing because your work is spread out all over. Concentrate your efforts into one space at a time.
4 | Take before/after pictures
Don’t believe me that giving yourself a time and space limit will reap awesome rewards? Take before and after pictures of your space and see the awesome transformation that can happen in just a few minutes when you concentrate your efforts.
5 | Ditch the distractions
Turn off the TV, close the laptop, and lock your cell phone up in a vault. These things can be a serious time-suck and before you know it, you’ve wasted all your time staring at these and you could have had your cleaning done. Ditch the distractions and get productive.
6 | Make a checklist
CAUTION: This is a checklist of things you can actually get done in this session. This is not a task list of all the things that need to be done eventually. Make a list that is realistic of both the time and energy that you have available. Then focus on one item at a time and get ‘er done.
7 | Let go of perfection
This is my secret. This right here. Most people when they come into my home comment on how clean my house is. Honestly, it is so unbelievably NOT clean. But when I clean, I focus on what has to be done in order to make me feel good about my space and productive with my time and I end it right there. What I need is a tidy space. I like things in their homes – right where they belong. I don’t care as much about making sure the floor sparkle or if the toilet smells like a field of lavender. I like tidy. Tidy is good enough for me.
8 | Get caffeinated
Ok. So usually I wouldn’t enforce the use of drugs, but I’ll make an exception in this case. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, tea, soda… whatever gets you moving – and then rehydrate with lots of water. Lots.
9 | Put on some music
Put on your favorite energizing music. Something that you can sing and move to. And turn it up! Don’t want to wake the neighbors (or the kids)? That’s cool. I get it. Throw on some bluetooth headphones and have your own private jam session – don’t mind the stares and fits of laughter from others as you sing along to your favorite tunes. They’re just jealous of your mad skills. Rock it out, sister!
10 | Call someone
Do you have a friend who could talk on and on and on for ages while barely giving you room to get in an “uh huh…”? This is the perfect time to call them up and let them catch you up on the latest and greatest while you get caught up on your housework. Just plug in some earbuds or use a bluetooth headset to free up your hands for cleaning. Two birds – one stone.
11 | Ask for help
Recruit friends, family, strangers – whoever! Set an appointment and stick to it. I often tell my kids that we are going to have a “party” tomorrow morning at 10am sharp. They know this means we’re all cleaning and cleaning until the lists have been checked. Get some help – and remember, accept good enough. Your 10 year old son may not clean the bathroom the way you would, but it’s ok. It’s good enough.
12 | Pick a tiny task
When you look around and get overwhelmed at all that has to be done, just pick something small and get started. For example, unload the dishwasher: 2 minutes. Done. Take out the trash: 1 minute. Done. Straighten the chairs and the placemats at the table: 2 minutes. Done. Taken in tiny bite-sized pieces, you can get your place in tip-top shape again.
13 | Use commercial time
Have you found that you just can’t pry yourself away from the Law & Order marathon playing on TNT? Fine. Have it your way. But use the 3 minute commercial times to your advantage and do one task during each break. Don’t worry, you’ll hear the “duhn duhn” before it comes back on again. *Spoiler Alert: They catch the bad guy. He loses.
14 | Listen to an audio book or sermon
One of my favorite things to do to occupy my ears while I’m doing physical work is to listen to sermons, recorded conference calls, and audiobooks. It keeps my brain in motion while I’m doing the things that have to be done… even though I don’t wanna do them. Plus, I walk away a little wiser. Edu-cleaning.
15 | Invite someone over for dinner
When all else fails, invite someone over for dinner. Preferably someone whom you wouldn’t want to see your house a wreck. Your best friend has probably already seen it like it is… if not even worse. Invite someone you want to impress. You’ll make sure the space is nice and clean before they arrive.
Do you have a favorite tip that helps you get motivated to clean when you’d rather be doing anything else? Tell us in the comments!