Part of making a life that matters is managing the day-to-day tasks of life, and for most of us that includes running a household. When life is full, it can feel hard to keep up and it can be overwhelming to catch up once we get behind. I was thinking about how back in the day, homemakers had a cleaning routine for the week—a certain day each week to do certain things. These days, we don’t have time to spend all day cleaning. But there are small things we can do each day to help prevent things from getting so bad that we need a whole day.
Productivity tips to bring order and calm to your home
Here are six daily productivity hacks that I’ve come up with–just little things we can do each day to make life easier and more peaceful
1. Try an evening home reset
Take 10 minutes to sweep through the main living areas before bed.
- In the living/family room area: toss trash, straighten cushions, pillows, throws, grab dirty dishes & take to the kitchen, put toys/games in a basket, bin, or cabinet, and put remotes where they belong.
- In the kitchen: load the dishwasher and set it to run overnight, wash any dishes in the sink, tidy and wipe down countertops.
Remember you don’t have to do this all yourself. Recruit spouse, roommate, kids to help.
2. Take a few minutes in the afternoon or evening to look ahead to the next day
What can you do to prep for a more peaceful morning? Maybe preassemble lunches (you can do this while dinner cooks), get your work bag or kids’ backpacks set up and ready to go, along with anything else they need for the next day’s activities (Sports practice? Dance class? Piano lesson?) and, if applicable to the season and your location, coats, boots, gloves, hats. Lay out clothes for yourself and kids, including underwear, shoes, jewelry, etc. Set up the coffee maker, even cereal bowls or whatever for breakfast; take meat out of the freezer to thaw for dinner.
3. Take a few minutes in the morning to set up for a good day
Whether you’re going out for the day or staying home, make your bed and teach the kids to do the same. Doing this immediately elevates the look of the room, the sense of order and control, and makes it so much nicer to come back to at the end of the day. Make it easier by keeping beds (especially kids’ beds) simple-comforter, fewer decorative pillows, etc. For kids, consider all-in-one zipper bedding, like Beddy’s or alternatives found on Amazon. Straighten up and quickly wipe down bathroom counters and hang towels and put away clothes before you leave the bathroom. If you’re leaving for the day (work, school, errands) do a 5-minute reset before you go-kitchen countertops, main living areas, etc.
4. Home with kids? Try 3-minute pick-up games.
Things can get messy and chaotic with toys, home school stuff, and snack dishes laying around. To avoid a total disaster by the end of the day, do 3-minute pickups throughout the day (e.g., before lunch and dinner). Put on a fun, energetic song and everybody puts things away and tidies as fast as possible until the song ends.
5. 15-minute sprints
Set a timer, put on some music, and get as much done as you can. If you do this once or twice a day, start in a different spot each time.
6. Take advantage of found minutes
When you find yourself in between tasks, rather than stand and stare out the window, try to make some progress on a chore that gets neglected.
- While the water boils for the pasta, wash the dishes you’ve cooked with so far, or declutter and tidy your utensil drawer.
- Keep a sponge and cleanser in the shower, and while you’re conditioning your hair, wipe down the shower, or maybe just one wall (a different one each day).
- While you’re on hold with the phone company, wipe down a counter or declutter and tidy a drawer or cabinet.
The idea with all of these ideas isn’t to add more obligations to your day. Change your mindset from “I have this list of things to get done” to “I have this much time to spend on it, and I’ll get as many of these things done as I can in that amount of time.” Because even if you can’t or don’t do everything you’d like to, anything you do is an improvement over doing nothing.
The other thing I’d like to note is that long-term, one of the best ways to minimize the time it takes to keep a home and home life in order is to negotiate with your spouse and train your kids to do their part. Although you might be the one coordinating all this (likely because you care more about it than others in the household do) there’s no reason you should be doing it all yourself unless you want to.
Resources and Links
What do you think?
Do you have any little habits or hacks you use to stay on top of your home? Please share your questions or thoughts in the comments section below this post or on The Productive Woman’s Facebook page, or send me an email.
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