Cleaning – An Experiment for Fun

I read an article my friend Donna Goff wrote called Trade in Your To-Do List. A few weeks ago, I shared a cleaning system she currently uses that helps her stay on top of things. The article was called Donna Goff – Cleaning – A System for Staying on Top. 

The article I read, resonated with me because my daily worksheet can feel overwhelming. The problem is, I rarely get each item on the list finished, even if I am running circles all day long, Donna had experienced the same thing. And no matter how much you accomplish in a day, if there are unchecked items left on your list it can leave you with a sense of not having done enough. It shouldn’t. I know better. You probably know better. Donna knows better. But occasionally it does.

A Paper on the Fridge

In the article, Donna did a cool thing for fun. She stuck a paper on her fridge and tracked each thing she did that day. Her goal was to list things after she did them and not have a prewritten list to work from. The list on her fridge grew longer and longer. Here is an example from her article:

  • Sorted Laundry
  • Started a white load
  • Ground Wheat
  • Mixed Bread
  • Put Two loaves in pans to rise
  • Put four formed non-risen loaves in the freezer for my next baking day
  • Loaded and started the dishwasher
  • Put a white load in the dryer
  • Started a dark load in the washing machine
  • Wiped Counters
  • Baked bread
  • Swept kitchen floor
  • Dusted living room blinds
  • Folded and Hung up whites
  • Put whites away
  • Put darks in the dryer
  • Started a towel load in the washer
  • Buttered bread loaf tops
  • I read aloud with my daughter
  • We took a walk

Does that list look anything like your list would look? Mine wouldn’t have bread baking on it. In place of bread baking, there would be making no sugar/flour crackers, pancakes, or cookies. LOL My list would also include things like:

  • Read to Mom and Don
  • Said morning prayer
  • Took my vitamins
  • Did my stretches
  • Watered the garden
  • Helped my neighbor with her yard

I decided to experiment with this idea, and it was FUN!!! You can’t imagine how many small and large tasks were done that wouldn’t have been on my daily worksheet. Of course, you probably can imagine. LOL  A child calls and needs a ride. Your son brings you the dirty shirt he needs for a special event. You chase the dog because someone left the gate open. You decide to take a walk with a neighbor and so forth.

The Result

I engaged in this activity for three days. Each night as I showered and said my prayer, I felt good because I had done so much and many of those items had to do with relationships and loving service, not just family management.

Here is the difference between Donna and me. She was able to toss her to-do list. As fun as the experiment was, I realized I could not give up my daily worksheet. I will tell you all about that and how my worksheet came to be next week.

I still use a daily worksheet. It can feel overwhelming, but now I write down stuff I do that isn’t on the list and cross it off. Then just before my shower, I look at my worksheet. I can see why my list got done or why it didn’t. It is never about me not doing enough. It is always about me doing some management and a lot of the more important things. This is the reward I give myself for all the unplanned activities I do that weren’t on my worksheet, the feeling of having done enough!!

If you are overwhelmed trying to find a system that will work for you, to help you stay on top of your work and family and still do the most important things, then why not take a break? At least for three days. Stick a piece of paper to your fridge and write down each thing you do that day. I bet you will find it fun like I did. It will give your mind a break and you may be able to revamp your current system or try a new one.

At any rate, you will see how well you are really doing.

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