Staying focused when you’re cleaning the house is always a challenged. Learn how and why you’ll get more done if you use a timer to keep moving and stay motivated.
I maybe kinda sorta do not enjoy cleaning the house. . .or washing the dishes. . .or folding the laundry. Those things don’t fall into the realm of “fun” for me. Sure, I might get a little giddy about organizing a closet or throwing out a trash bag full of clutter, but even those tasks require energy that I often don’t have.
Most days, I have a million and one chores calling my name. And I have a million and two excuses ready to be used. I can always find a very good reason to accomplish absolutely nothing.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a working woman, or a work-from-home-wonder-woman, it can be hard to find motivation to do those tasks that you really don’t enjoy. The chores that need repeated day after day and week after week can completely drain you of your will to get things done.
Then, pile on the exhaustion and low-energy that usually accompany a life of keeping house and caring for a family, and the To-Do List grows while the house gets dirtier and clutter becomes more annoying.
The solution to my I-hate-cleaning-but-it’s-got-to-be-done problem? Use a timer.
There’s something motivating about working against the clock. Setting my timer for just fifteen minutes usually results in an afternoon full of productivity. Call me crazy (and you probably should), but my energy seems to multiply when my timer is ticking.
I honestly doubt that I would get anything done around the house if I didn’t use some sort of timer. Even when I don’t set an actual clock, I’m always trying to finish a task before my tea is done brewing or before the dryer beeps.
And on those days when I feel like I’m dragging (so, basically every day!), a timer gets me up off my you-know-what and kicks me into action. I know – and have to remind myself – that if I will work for a short time on a specific task, I will likely feel like tackling more than I could have imagined.
Why You’re More Productive When You Use a Timer:
1. Limits your time.
The kids know you’ll be able to get them a snack when the timer beeps, and you know you can quit working on that annoying task once the minutes tick away. It keeps you working because you know in a few moments you’ll get to stop (yay!).
2. Efficiently use small segments of time.
You don’t have to procrastinate cleaning and decluttering because the short timer gives you the freedom to work on a chore, even if you don’t have all day to spend on it. No more having to wait for hours of spare time that you can spend on cleaning. Now, you can work for a few minutes whenever you get the chance.
3. Keeps you focused.
There is always something calling out for your attention, whether it’s the next great Instagram post or a project you’d rather be doing. But when the timer is ticking down, there’s no time for distractions if you hope to finish the job on time.
4. Pushes you to work quickly.
The countdown of the clock kicks you into power-cleaning mode and forces you to exert your energy to getting the task done fast. (Hint: This is an especially good way to get young kiddos to work as fast as they can instead of dragging their feet.)
5. Gets the momentum rolling.
Committing to just a few minutes of work gets the energy flowing, without feeling like you have to wait until you can dedicate hours (or days) to getting a task done. And once you see the accomplishments of those first fifteen minutes, you’re more likely to be motivated to keep on working.
6. Proves how easy most tasks are.
It’s amazing how quickly those procrastinated chores can be completed when there’s a timer pushing you along. Quite often, the tasks you’ve been dreading (and putting off) aren’t really as bad as you imagined, and they take much less time than you thought they would. Using a timer proves it.
7. Helps your children cooperate.
The kids are more willing to participate in cleaning when they know there’s an end to the work time. Plus, they’ll work more quickly if they feel like they’re racing the clock (especially if there’s a reward waiting for them at the end!).
8. Gives you a feeling of accomplishment.
Even the craziest days feel productive if you complete a few minutes of homemaking tasks, and the timer makes this a measurable goal. Setting a timer helps you feel motivated to get a few things done, and that progress will make you feel so much better than you would carrying around the guilt of being completely unproductive.
9. Lets good enough be good enough.
Perfectionism holds you back from making progress. It tells you to wait until you can do the job “perfectly,” which generally means you’ll never find the right time to get it done. Setting a timer gives you permission to quit working on a project or chore, even if the end result isn’t “perfect,” so you’re much more likely to make some progress.
The next time you’re struggling to conquer the laundry pile or tackle the stack of mail that keeps growing and multiplying, try grabbing a timer and working for just fifteen minutes. You won’t believe how much you’ll accomplish in a day once you get started!