I love timers. They have so many uses in the home. I first started using a timer when I found FlyLady (she is very popular so you probably know).
When I was a new mom and things felt overwhelming and sleep deprivation threatened my grip on reality timers saved me. I knew I could at the very least do anything for 15 minutes or less. Often I only had 15 minutes to do everything.
My grandmother was the first to introduce me to the world of timing yourself. When I complained once about a chore taking forever she said she would time me to see how long it really took. Of course it was not the hour it felt like, only 10 minutes. I was truly shocked that chores took so little time. What had I been whining about?
Now when complaints and whines threaten my day I will use a timer. When my kids do the same I challenge them to a race to see how fast they can finish using a timer. The objective countdown to when my son’s violin practice is over works well too. No more arguing about playing that piece one more time (well almost).
After years of doing this I can now take a shower, get dressed, and ready to go faster than my husband. Or like this week when illness has thrown me off track and I have no clean you know what to wear because I have been to dizzy and weak to do anything but feed and nurse us back to health, I know that I will get it done 15 minutes at a time eventually.
(Please note: Timers are not magical devices that make kids stop whining. They still complain but the timer helps focus and distract them and it doesn’t always work.)
The chores I complain about most and how long they take:
- Dishes, countertops, prep for next day, clean coffee machines, and pack a lunch – 35 min
- Make Bed – 2 min
- Load/unload washer & dryer, fold 1 load of clothes – 10 min
- Straighten kid’s rooms (without their help) – 15 min
- Tidy entire house for unexpected guests – 1 hour
- Clean Bathroom – 15 minutes
- Mop Kitchen Floor – 10 minutes
If the chore takes more than 15 minutes I break it up into 15 minute chunks so I don’t feel overwhelmed.If these times seem off to you then it may be because I have trimmed what I do down to the essentials. I do my best (not perfect) to keep what I love and use it. My time is precious and so is yours. Cleaning and moving items that I don’t love or serve a purpose for our family steals my time and doesn’t belong in our house.
P.S. A house cleaned imperfectly can still bless your family (thanks FlyLady).