Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Timer Game (OR... How to Cajole Someone (like me) into Getting Things Done)

As a wife, I feel like I bring a lot to the table. Positive attitude, baking skills, cooking ability, open-minded, active, and I LOVE doing the laundry...well, I could go on, but I will spare you. 

One area where I have serious deficiencies is deep-cleaning. I can keep things tidy...but, well, this will tell a lot. 

Mark and I had been together about 3 years, and I had to ask him where the broom was when I broke a glass. Yeah, so I don't do floors or windows (and too many other things to mention.) Mark, on the other hand, balances me out. He is GREAT at organizing rooms and closets, AND cleaning floors and windows.

I suffer from attention deficit whenever anything unpleasant is involved.  Scrubbing toilets, purging closets, mopping floors, faculty meetings; these things make it difficult for me to focus on the task at hand.  I become a procrastinator extraordinaire when it comes to housework.  It seems that a minimal amount of cleaning and organizing is required if I'm going to enjoy being home. Sometimes it seems as if I'm trying to see just how MINIMAL that effort can be, and still get away with it!  

When I was little, my mom often challenged me to make things fun by turning them into a game.  When I became a mom, the only one there to say those crazy kinds of things to me was myself, so I had to get creative when I felt whiny about doing chores.  I had to find a way to reward myself for doing things that simply had to be done. I had long since outgrown the sticker chore chart. And since paying myself is a ridiculous idea; where would I get the money, I needed a different motivator?  And if there were money available to pay someone to clean, wouldn't I have a maid already?  What's a mom to do?

Enter: The Timer Game.
(You may even want to try this with your children or grandchildren...or maybe even spouses who have a childish attitude toward cleaning.) 

First, make a list of all of the annoying, aggravating chores you have been procrastinating forever.  (For me, it's balancing the checkbook, wiping the kitchen grime off of appliances, disinfecting the toilets...)  THEN, make a list of delightful things that would bring you joy, no matter how small.  (Sometimes it's reading my Oprah magazine, soaking in the hot tub, painting my toenails...other times it's sitting in my recliner and not doing one single solitary thing for just a bit.)  And THEN...Set the timer, say for 15 minutes, and go like gang-busters on whatever needs to be done. When the timer goes off, enjoy yourself for awhile and then set the timer again. Repeat as often as necessary. Or until you've had enough. 

I am currently experiencing saturation with the "game." I reward myself with computer time on Facebook and Pinterest or smart phone time, texting my kids and Mark. It works for me.

You know that black flappy thing in the sink that is over the garbage disposal and those overflow holes in the bathroom sinks? I even managed to clean those today. Whew...the one thing I have procrastinated is balancing my checkbook. I will get it done, but I just hate doing that.

As a teacher with a classroom full of 35 students, I've set the timer for two minutes at school.  That doesn't sound like any time at all, but look at the MAN HOURS!!!  A class full of kids can do in two minutes what it would take me over an hour to do!  By turning it in to a game, I can usually convince most of them to pitch in to help, especially if they get to go to recess a minute earlier by helping!

Just thought I'd share my idea. Most of you are probably horrified at my mother is not surprised. I have a long history of hating chores; but I did them. Eventually.

1 comment:

  1. I do not like housework...I fly through it as quickly as I can. I really do need to "deep clean" instead of my usual surface cleaning. Not sure if a timer will make it fun. It might very well lead to the timer smashing against the wall, lol!


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