Friday, October 21, 2016

Keeping my Sanity with Housework

I've got two small kids and a job with unpredictable shifts bordering on full time. That is to say, my ability to get things done around the house is hamstrung by a very real crunch on time, energy and patience. Before starting a family, I loved having a clean house and it was very easy to accomplish. Nowadays I feel like a modern Sisyphus picking up after everyone on a daily basis.

So! How can I help this, using modern tools and tactics? Here's a few things I've picked up that might help others.

First, and this is very simple, I have to let things slide. There's some small tasks I can do on the fly. Dishes, laundry, garbage. Just because without it done we'd have nothing to eat off, nothing to wear, or nowhere to throw our trash. I'll pick up and toss toys back into the kids' room at the end of the day, but that only takes a minute and it's nowhere the deep clean I like to have done.

IF I continue down the road of "I'll just do this, and then this, and then this" I can lose a whole day to unexpected cleaning. Instead, I keep a running to-do list of tasks that I want to get done, but I'm not about to do them yet. Right now that's managed in CloudTasks (from the same people behind the very cool CloudCal).

CloudCal in Action


The benefit of buffering up tasks like this? Well, it's a psychological thing for me. Intent is almost as good as accomplishment, so I rest easy knowing this is going to get done soon. The actual cleaning happens during predetermined times. What times? Well if I were in charge of that I would procrastinate like heck. So instead I set up a goal in my Google Calendar. One hour, twice a week, when I'm otherwise free. I get notified when it's time to start, and then have at it - knocking out as many of the tasks as I can. When the hour's done, so am I.

At Google's mercy

Another common approach to housework is 20/10. That is, work for twenty minutes, then take a ten minute break. Repeat as many times as you like until you're done. This is the idea behind Unfuck Your Habitat which I also love.

But hey, I mentioned I have kids right? So a whole day of cleaning is a thing of the past. But on the other hand, I can recruit them to help. This is where Familytech's suite of apps comes in handy. That's ChoreMonster for little kids, Landra for big kids, and Mothershp for parents. I give my kids tasks, they earn points, and cash them in for rewards. They freaking love it.

Gamifying Chores!
And that's how I'm managing my workload around the house! Hopefully some of these apps and tools can help you as well.

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