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Let’s be real. A lot of your life is simply maintenance to keep life going. You do a lot of the same tasks over and over. You grocery shop. You load the dishwasher. You do laundry. You wipe off the counter. For the most part, you do these things automatically without thinking. But, should you ever get behind a day or two, it can easily become unmanageable – especially when combined with a holiday or the kids being home or an unexpected occasion that throws life for a loop.

This week was one of those weeks for me. I suddenly realized that everything in my house was off kilter. There were dishes in the sink. Laundry needing to be put away. Strewn packages from the constant stream of packages and wrapping going on in my house. It was driving me crazy.

So, I got to work and put everything in order, right? WRONG. I just ignored it. I had analysis paralysis. There was so much to be done it seemed the best thing to do was just ignore it. Then it continues to compound more and you know how that story ends. You are even more frazzled.

I had finally had enough and decided I was going to tackle it. I haven’t listened to a podcast in ages, so I thought – Ok, I want to listen to this podcast by Gala Darling, so I can only listen to it if do the mindless tasks that I have been putting off. The podcast in question was 23 minutes. So I put it on and got to work. Here is what I did in 23 minutes:

  • Wash and moisturize face
  • Clean out medicine cabinet
  • Put shoes away
  • Put laundry away
  • Straighten couch – Fold blankets and straighten pillows
  • Load and start dishwasher
  • Take trash out
  • Wipe down kitchen counters
  • Rinse apples
  • Throw away dead flowers

Not too shabby for 23 minutes, right?

Now, it would be better if I hadn’t got to that place in the first place. I have heard of several strategies that people use to not get into this situation.

  • Every time you leave a room, if you see something that doesn’t belong there, take it with you and put it away
  • If a task will take you less than 1 minute, do it right away
  • I once knew an engineer at work that if an email came it and it would take 5 minutes or less to do whatever was asked, he would do it right away. Otherwise, he would create a task on his calendar for the item, schedule it in, and then archive the email.
  • Institute a 15 minute quick clean with the family. Put some energetic music on, set a timer, and make it a game to see how much you can get done in a short amount of time.

What are things you do to stay ahead of the dailies?


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