There’s a ton of stuff you don’t do when you could, and so getting things done causes you stress.
Small stuff. Stuff that accumulates during the week, stresses you out to the point of flipping, when you embark on a frenzy of activity, getting things done, cleaning cars, getting to the dry-cleaners, writing your thank-you notes, before repeating the cycle over.
Boom and bust.
These bipolar bursts of activity rock the steady foundations of coasting along as the suave man-for-all-seasons you aspire to be.
(We’ll deal with the danger of aspirations another day.)
So here’s the problem:
You want to be the kind of host that can offer a gin and tonic to a friend that drops by at no notice, in an apartment free from piles of laundry and cat hair, and from a kitchen that isn’t doubling up as a petri dish.
But you can’t find the time to do the laundry and clean up the cat hair, and you always forget to buy tonic.
And here’s a couple of steps towards a solution:
Pick your tasks one at a time, and apply the eight-minute rule.
Most of the things that need doing around the house can be done in under ten minutes. That’s a really short period of time. If you have your snooze button set to ten minute intervals, you’ll appreciate just how little time that is.
BUT. It’s enough time to do LOADS of stuff:
- Taking out the trash – 2 minutes
- Loading the dishwasher – 4 minutes
- Hoovering one room – 7 minutes
- Ordering a crate of tonic water online – 4 minutes
- Ironing two shirts – 8 minutes
- Going around your bedroom, picking up every stray sock and t-shirt and chucking all in the laundry bin – 5 minutes
- Paying five utility bills – 6 minutes
- etc etc etc
If you’ve got young kids, eight minutes is about the maximum time you get to yourself anyway. Load the washing machine in your first eight minutes, and drink that gin and tonic in the second.
When you get home tonight, after boiling the kettle, and in the eight minutes before Eastenders starts, do something. It won’t take long (under eight minutes, in fact), you’ll experience the warm glow of achievement, and you’ll be one step closer to being the domestic goddess you aspire you to be.
There are a ton of tools that help you get things done. Start using them. They might just work.