I remember when I first got married. I was totally overwhelmed with the idea of keeping a house clean, meals cooked, groceries bought under budget and figuring out how to get more done. And all that had to fit between work and all the other things that already kept me busy!
I wanted desperately to get more done at home and not be overwhelmed by it all!
The thing is, I look back now and that time was very simple! We lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment and we had no one to answer to but ourselves! We could have ate hot dogs all week if we had wanted to!
But the thing is, it was new. And everything that is new feels overwhelming.
I also put too much pressure on myself to do it all perfectly all the time.
This is a guest post from Jessalynn Jones at Doable Simplicity! She’s a simplicity and systems guru and the creator behind Doable Simplicity.
What About You?
As life has changed it’s gotten more complicated in some ways and simpler in others. I know you understand how that can happen.
You may be working, raising kids, homeschooling, running your own business, dealing with a health problem, caretaking for a family member and much more!
It may feel impossible to stay on top of it all and some days you may feel like you do nothing but chores and errands.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get more done at home in less time? Don’t you long to make chores easier so you actually have time and energy to have a happy simple life you enjoy?
Don’t worry! I’ve got your back! And I want to share 10 tips that will definitely help you work smarter and not harder!
Let’s get started!
1: The One-Minute Rule
The first home productivity secret I am going to share will change your life! I’m not kidding!
It’s called the one-minute rule and it goes like this:
“If something will take less than one minute to do, do it right away.”
I know it doesn’t sound that mind-blowing BUT it is totally revolutionary! Think about it. How long does it take to rinse out your cereal bowl, put your shoes on the shelf, hang your coat or put away the sandwich fixings on the counter?
Take a minute to imagine your home. Would it look a lot different if you applied this rule? Would you feel less stressed when you walked in the door?
Try it! Every time you are tempted to just leave something that will take less than one minute don’t. Go ahead and do it and see how your tiny efforts add up.
2: Time Yourself
Another great way to motivate yourself when you have boring chores to do is to time yourself.
My mom used this on me when I was a kid and didn’t want to wash dishes or clean my room. She would tell me to set a 5 minute timer and see how much I could get done.
It’s really amazing what you can get done in 5 minutes if you are focused. Some tasks might take more like 10 or 15 minutes but when you set a timer and do some focused work you will be surprised that you will able to complete your task within the time!
If you don’t finish you will be so close to finished that you will be motivated to do the rest.
You can time yourself doing anything. Try this with folding the laundry, washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, and more! It can even help you learn how to declutter your home in little bit size pieces!
3: Daily House Cleaning
Speaking of all these little cleaning chores…
Do you find it hard to make time to clean your house? I mean, who wants to clean house on the weekend? When I get a little time to rest the last thing I want to do is clean.
But no one said you have to do all your cleaning tasks at once! Instead try a daily house cleaning schedule! Pick one task a day and devote 15 minutes to it. Set a timer.
You will be amazed at how you can keep your home clean without ever having to devote hours to it!
4: Listen to Music or a Book
Still, cleaning and household chores can be really boring. I mean 15 minutes can really drag when you are folding laundry.
It’s time to turn the drudgery of chores into a little self-care time! How is that even possible? Simple!
Two essential products I can’t clean house without are my phone and my headphones.
Just turn on some great music or an audio book from the online library app and you will find yourself looking forward to your daily chores! Having something great to listen to will make folding laundry and cooking dinner feel like a little me-time.
5: Meal Plan
Have you ever been wondering what in the world you are going to make for dinner at right about 5:30?
It’s a real panic feeling! Do you run to the store at the last minute or order in? Or do you just snack on some stale cereal?
None of those options are good for your budget or your health.
Instead start making a meal plan!
Think about how busy you are on each day of the week and choose a meal that you can make that will fit how busy you are.
If you are super busy do something in the crock pot. And when you have a little more time try a new recipe! (Pinterest is great for ideas.) For average days just choose from a million simple meals you can do in 30 minutes or less.
Write a menu for your week. And don’t forget to plan some breakfast and lunch basics on repeat too.
6: Use Grocery Pickup or Delivery
Now that you have your meal plan it’s time to get groceries. Look at your menu and write down a grocery list with everything you will need for that menu. Double check your pantry staples to make sure you have what you need for your meals.
Once you have your grocery list you have come to a cross roads.
Will you go to the store and spend and hour shopping and another half hour (at least) hauling everything home?
Or will you spend an hour at the gym or doing your favorite hobby because you decided to use grocery pickup or delivery services?
I absolutely love using grocery pickup or delivery!
Some people say that they still prefer to look at everything but I will tell you a secret. The people who select your groceries don’t want complaints. They are generally going pick the best that is available.
And when substitutions happen you usually get an upgrade for the price of the one you picked.
If you use grocery pickup you will save time that you can spend on better things and money that you might have spent on impulse purchases that are not very healthy, like Oreos. It’s a win, win, win!
7: Create Systems
So aren’t these tips great so far? Some of them are what we like to call systems.
A system is a game plan for how you will get things done that helps it become more automatic and easy to do!
You can create systems that help you get your workout in every day and systems that help you get the laundry done. You can set in motion a system that helps you get all your health appointments done regularly.
Even the ideas for daily house cleaning, meal planning, and grocery shopping listed above were kinds of systems.
So how do you take a boring chore you don’t want to do and turn it into a system you do on auto pilot?
Just think about the activity, think about the best time for you to do it, plan ways to make it a little easier for yourself, and then get in the habit of always doing it that way.
It can be hard at first but once you make a boring chore a routine that is as easy as it possibly can be you won’t think about it, you’ll just do it! You also won’t get behind and as a result make the job bigger or worse.
8: Use a Planner
A big part of making systems work is using a planner.
A planner is especially important for getting those home, car, and health maintenance tasks on a regular cycle. These things can generally be planned on your previous visit. Then you just plug the next time into your planner!
I also like to use a planner for my daily to do list. I kind of brain dump all the things I want to get done in the day and then I can see what I really have time for, what I hope I’ll have time for, and what can wait.
My planner has helped me build healthy habits, keep track of my budget and income, and also find pockets of time for fun and self-care!
9: Have Less Junk
If you are still feeling overwhelmed with everything you have to do and take care of in your home you either have small children which just take a lot of work, or you have too much stuff!
Really though, no matter who you are having a bunch of stuff you don’t need will make your life harder.
Remember this phrase:
“Everything you own owns you back.”
It may not seem like the crap in the junk drawer or your overflowing closet or the bins and bins of toys are really affecting your life but they are! They are weighing you down and stealing your time. You have to take your precious time and energy to obtain, maintain, clean, and put them away!
In the end all the extra junk in your home is stealing your life away, seconds at a time.
It’s time to learn how to declutter your home and how to shop more carefully so that you don’t have to deal with all that stuff forever.
I promise you, if you take the time to declutter you will gain that time back 100x over!
10: Just Say No!
Last but not least, there is an important skill that will help you get more done at home and in every other part of your life. It involves a word that makes us cringe…
You have to learn how to say no because your time, energy, and resources are finite. Plus, when you say yes to something you always say no to something else. So why not say no to things you don’t want to do and say yes to things you want to do instead of the other way around?
In a way the minimalist lifestyle is based on this idea of saying no to the extraneous so you can say yes to the essentials.
When you simplify your life down to what you really want, need, and use you will find that you have a lot more time to live a life you love!
Learn the power of the word no. Say it nicely but firmly. Say it to others when they ask too much of you. Tell yourself NO when you expect perfection! Give advertisements that make you feel like you need to buy more stuff a big fat NO!
It’s amazing how much better your life can be when you learn how to say no in a smart way!
Get More Done at Home and Have a Life!
I am passionate about an idea. This idea goes beyond how you fold your clothes, how much you shop, or when you clean your house. My dream is bigger than the never ending cycle of chores.
Do you know what it is?
My dream, my strong belief is that you can break free of the idea that your life is one big hamster wheel of never ending mundane tasks.
I know that you are brilliant and beautiful! And I am sure that you have big ideas and goals that seem out of reach most days.
But maybe, if I share what has helped me and you share what has helped you, we can simplify life enough to find the time to make those big dreams happen!
When we work smarter, not harder we can get more done at home. Then we can move on to the bigger and better contributions we have to make!
I know you can do it! Go build the life you love!