Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 22: Schedule Recurring Tasks

The last time my laundry room looked this good. June 2012

You know the saying:
a place for everything and everything in it's place

Well, what is that "thing" were a task and the "place" a spot in your schedule?

Assigning times to do recurring tasks gives structure and definition to your days and weeks and even your year. It is also another pro-active strategy.

For years, my children and I lived without a schedule of any kind. We didn't even have one for sleeping. I remember once being on the phone with our ISP troubleshooting a problem at two o'clock in the morning--and the technician remarked on the "noisiness" of the children in the background.

It wasn't the life of a free and easy spirit--it was a life of undisciplined free-for-all, otherwise known as h*ll.

But, don't go to the other extreme and think you now have to schedule every last little thing. (I tried that too. Perfectionism tends to extremes.) Flexibility is good, too. The challenge is to find that golden mean where you have just enough scheduled to stay ahead and feel in control--and stay flexible enough to respond to the demands of the day, week, season.

Ask yourself: what would be the consequences to letting let this fall apart (whatever "this" might be)

For example, if I let the dishes pile up, the consequences are pretty dire. Grumpiness, nastiness, filth, it becomes a struggle to cook. You've heard this before.

But what about sweeping the kitchen floor? Well, frankly, after about a week even I can't stand it any longer. So, I should put sweeping the floor down on the schedule for once a week.

But laundry?
How about cleaning the bathroom sink?
Putting groceries away?
Dealing with the mail?

Here's the thing: only schedule what, if not done in a timely manner, causes you to cross your clutter threshold quickly?

Some things you will get to when you notice them and that will be OK--or they'll be triggered by something else. For some, cleaning out the fridge may be triggered by going shopping, or, more likely for me, by garbage pick-up day.

You may change out you and your family's clothes for the season--and that's a great time to also clean out and reorganize closets, and, maybe, the laundry room. You can schedule these things rigorously, or you can do small bites at a time over the course of a few weeks: whatever works for you and your life, of course.

Just one thing: if there's something you really don't like to do: do it often! If you put it off (as you'd rather) it will grow into something horrible and overwhelming--and you really don't want that. So, tackle it early in the process and in bite sized bits.

Put this into action:
  1. Identify and list those tasks which when left undone cause you to cross the clutter threshold quickly.
  2. Write down your current schedule. Start with the daily, then move on to the weekly, then monthly, then semi-annual and annual chores.
  3. Now, schedule in those tasks from step one into your current schedule.

You don't have to think of everything, now. Give yourself permission to discover what's what as you go. For example, when I first did this back in the Spring, my laundry room was functional. It isn't now. So, I know that it takes about five to six months for it to utterly fall apart. That works for me: I'll clean out and re-organize the laundry room every six months. If it bothered me, I might make straightening it up a monthly task.

Is there anything you know of right now that you need to schedule?

ETA: You can catch all the posts in the series here

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