Being productive with your time
If a person sleeps 10 hours, they are awake for a total of 14 hours. I typically sleep 7 hours so I have 17 hours of time each day. What do you do with your time? If you feel overwhelmed with all that you have to do in a day, it is time to make yourself a schedule. Schedules organize our time so we can do all the things we set out to do. If you already have control over your environment, it is easy to keep it up. Cleanup should take no more than 30 minutes after each meal if you have each person doing their own share.
First thing after breakfast, we break away to do our share of the work. We all live together so we all work together as a team. I buy a spray bottle for each of the kids, a broom, and some other cleaning tools to go in their own cleaning caddy so they can do their jobs efficiently. I will share our typical morning which is a piece of cake for TEAM HARRISON (the kids and I) who rent a 4,000-square-foot home…
Junior (my nine-year-old) has bathroom duty. Each bathroom takes five minutes. There are four bathrooms. First, he sprays the counter top and sink and wipes it clean (1 min.). Then he sprays the mirror and shines out all the water spots (1 min.) He dumps a little vinegar into the toilet and brushes it clean (20 sec.). Then he takes the bag filled with garbage out of the trash can and takes it outside to the garbage bin (15 sec.). He sprays down the toilet seat and around the outside of the toilet and wipes it down (30 sec.). Lastly, he sweeps the floor (1 min.). He finishes out the other three bathrooms with the same routine. He only puts in about 30 minutes of total work time.
Mikey is my ten-year-old boy. He feeds and waters the chickens and gathers the eggs (10 min.). When he comes back into the home, he goes into the living room to pick up items that have been left on the floor and returns those items to their proper places (5 min.). He then gets his broom and starts sweeping the living room (5 min.). Then he gets our handy spray mop and mops over the living room floor (5 min.). In his remaining five minutes, Mikey dusts the living room.
Megan and Molly work on the kitchen together. While Molly is clearing the breakfast table, Megan is rinsing the dishes. Typically, it takes about ten minutes to clear all the countertops, put away any leftover food, and wipe off the countertops. It takes another ten minutes to wash the breakfast dishes. The remaining ten minutes are for rinsing, drying and putting away the dishes.
Miles is the cow-milker (we live on a little hobby farm). It takes him about 30 minutes to get the milker ready, milk the cow, dump out the milk, and wash out the milker.
Mom-ME While they are working, I am also busy working alongside them. I start a load of laundry and fold a load that is dry (10 min.). I wipe down the faces of the cupboards in the kitchen while the girls are washing the dishes (5 min.). I sweep and mop the kitchen (10 min.). If needed, I help any of the kids with their work. I sweep my home office and tidy it up. I am right alongside Junior since he is my youngest. I help him execute his bathroom duty. I may pop in there and help him with a toilet or shine up the sink.
Preventative cleaning—Being PROACTIVE...
In a short amount of time, our home is completely clean. I call this “preventative cleaning” because it prevents us from having to deeply clean once a week. When you clean up messes right away, the grime and filth will not have a chance to take over and set in. If you maintain a clean home each day, you have more flexibility to do other things.
We have about a half-hour before we typically start school, so it feels very relaxed. If our chores take a little longer, we have that extra time. We all like finishing our work quickly so we have time for other things. If we are in a summer vacation time, during the normal school hours we will do other projects. Projects like gardening, canning, sewing, building forts, mowing grass, or most days, just enjoying more playtime with friends.
While the kids are having free time, I can do things that I need to take care of like business or correcting schoolwork. I feel like I have a lot of time. Being productive helps me stay motivated. I gain momentum as the day goes on and I just keep plugging away.
People come to visit and they look around and say, “You must clean all day long.” No, I actually do not need to clean very much because we keep it up. Some moms say, “Well, you have a bunch of kids to help.” If you do not have a bunch of kids, you have a lot less mess. Less dishes to wash, less food to prepare, less people to teach, so it is all relative. If you have 20 kids, you have 20 people to team up and tackle the jobs. If 20 people worked a solid 30 minutes each, you would have the equivalent of 10 hours of work. And it is all done at the same time.
Wow. Let’s do the math…
20 people x 30 minutes = 10 hours
When I work with my five kids, we actually put in a total of three hours of cleaning in the morning. Here is the math equation…
6 people x 30 minutes = 3 hours
30 minutes is nothing to one person when they have 14 hours a day! The more members in the home, the less time is required out of each individual. I like to give my kids schedules where they can check boxes off. It is good to see what is expected of each person. It feels good to check things off your list.
This is taken out of one of my many chapters in Living Virtuously: A Wife's Complete Guide To Keeping Her Heart & Home. Discover how to manage life by reading my book. It really covers all the aspects of achieving and maintaining an organized and joyful environment.
Here are the kids chore charts if you are interested in using them. They are word documents, so you can download them and replace the chores with your unique situation at home. Make one for each of your kids today! You can also purchase some mini dry erase boards and copy my idea pictured at the beginning of this post. See how much work you can do in 30 minutes. Call your team, TEAM (your last name)! Enjoy!