Today has been day two, and so far, the routine is really working. In fact, today it worked so well that I felt completely underwhelmed by my work load! 🙂 Although, the vast majority of the credit goes to the fact that yesterday–my initiating day–I found myself home alone for a very, very long time. (The girls went to the zoo with Mammaw again.) I tried to make good use of the day, though, and tried to get every item done pretty well so that today wouldn’t be so much work. I had thought it would take a week or so to get every area on my list back in enough order so that the deeper work could begin and the “upkeep” work would be manageable, but my unexpected free day yesterday put me far ahead of my own schedule.
So today, I learned a very important motivation lesson: if I do a really good job every day on the small tasks I need to do, then they won’t stack up and become overwhelming. Instead, I’ll be able to do new things. Today it took me perhaps an hour or so to get the entire house back into the same level of order as it was yesterday, which left me with time to do other things (play with the kids! go on a field trip!) and to work on specific trouble spots to bring the house into even better order than it was already in.
At any rate, I wanted to write up some of the things that landed on my “routine” sheet. Again–I know that a working routine is going to look different for everyone, and mine are definitely not “right” answers! But these are the basic components of my list:
Reminders: things I tend to forget if I don’t actually have a visual reminder of them, and things I prefer to forget if I don’t like to do them. On my list, this is things like: meal-planning, setting out the meat to thaw for dinner, and laundry.
Daily Project: this is sort of an extended Super-Work; the idea is to work on tasks that take an hour and half or so to complete. It’s not necessarily “cleaning” per se, but it is “homemaking” and is usually cleaning. This is also the part of my routine that will get utterly cut if we’re not at home, if something comes up, if someone is sick, or if I’m just too worn down. But the DP is also one of the most fulfilling parts of the day (“Guess what I did today, honey!?!”) and so I’m not tempted to cut it too often. Some examples of DPs would be: switching wardrobes to the next size/season, going through bins/piles of items, sorting and finding new homes for bags of incoming items, cleaning the basement, etc. The DP is the one area where I still find it very useful to use a traditional todo-list and manager–I use Remember the Milk and put my items in a “Household” list with no due date, then use the GMail widget to pull the list into a location I see a lot throughout the day, so I can think about the potential projects and choose the one(s) that fit the best with my particular day. The added benefit is that this declutters my brain: by writing down the little things I need to do “some day soon,” I no longer have to actively think about or remember them!
Yes, some past-tense there which doesn’t make much sense considering I just drew up my formal schedule on Sunday. But some of this–particularly the distinction between different kinds of cleaning, and the idea of “projects,” is things I’ve been doing for a while.