In Pursuit of an Organized Life

. . . putting life in order

Quadrant Cleaning

As I was cleaning yesterday, I found that I did best when I treated it like an archeological dig. I would rope off a small area in my mind and clean that. I found that it kept me focus on the task at hand. My mind has a tendency to wander.  I put a lot of items away, but don’t see progress. I spend more time wandering around the house than I do actually cleaning.

I really liked this style because it allowed me to see progress fast. I could pick a small area like the area rug in the foyer and clean that up quick. The bigger the mess the smaller the area I choose. I sometimes also clean by theme such as cleaning up all of the books or dirty clothes.

Now off to actually clean instead of thinking about cleaning!

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Deadlines and Productivity

There is something about a deadline to spur productivity. I would love to see graphs of different people working on long term projects. The chart would show the percent of the project or the amount of time spent on the project per day from when the task was given to when it was completed. It would be so fun to see the progression of the project, compare graphs of different people, and see how the length of time to complete the task, the type of task, and the amount of work that needs to be done affects when people get the job done.

When I work on academic or work tasks, I am usually fairly balanced. I have a burst of enthusiusium and get a really good start. Then I slow down in the middle and finnish up before the deadline. I had friends that always seemed to wait until the last minute. I was always curious about it. Did they get it done? Were they telling me they were further behind than they were to be dramatic? How was their grade?

With cleaning, I am a total procrastinor. I tend to wait until the day of or the day before people come. There is an odd thrill to knowing that they will be here in 2 hours and seeing what I can get done before then. By doing that, I’ve sometimes not gotten stuff done or had to hide things rather than deal with them correctly. I could have cleaned the house more earlier in the week. My husband would have even helped, but I didn’t.

It comes down to do I want to do a little bit each day or have a day devoted to cleaning. On paper, I like the little each day model. I rarely seem to follow it though. In some ways, its nice to not think about it till later. Sometimes I curse the fact that I didn’t do more earlier, but often if I don’t sit down I don’t mind the productivity burst.

The other part of it is I’m not totally in control of my own messes. The kids will take out a pile of toys or grind crackers in the floor minutes after I tidy and clean the floor. Hopefully, I can train them to clean up after themselves or to only make little messes after I clean, but I’m not there yet.

Have a great day!

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Sitting Chores

As I was procrastinating from getting chores done, I thought of an idea for this post. Here is a list of productive tasks that can be done while sitting. I’m hoping I can look back at this list when I am tired and really don’t want to work and will do one of these instead of just lying on the couch and wishing I had gotten stuff done.  This idea was partially inspired by my sister who is currently pregnant 🙂

Sitting Chores

  • Fold Laundry
  • Sort paper
  • Sort random boxes of junk
  • Match lonely socks
  • Plan meals
  • Make grocery list
  • Make errand list
  • Plan week
  • Make phone sheet (I’d be lost if my cell phone died)
  • Make phone calls (appointments, insurance, etc)
  • Pay Bills
  • Write/update will
  • Research purchase/cut coupons
  • School paperwork/make materials

Productive Relaxation

These tasks may not be chores, but I often feel better after doing these than watching TV or randomly looking at Facebook.  These tasks can also be done while sitting.

  • Make photo book
  • Shop/brainstorm for Christmas/birthday presents
  • Phone a friend
  • Journal
  • Watch a movie (it feels like more  of an accomplishment than movie)
  • Play game
  • Blog 🙂
  • Read a book

Enjoy your weekend!  Off to do a few of these things than a cleaning burst of the kitchen.


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“The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change; the signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” Jim Collins

A friend of mine posted this quote. It makes so much sense. There were so many goals that I’d try really hard at, but not reach my goals and wonder why. I may have liked the idea of the goal, but didn’t have the time or the willingness to do it all the time.

The quote makes me think of the Olympians striving for that gold medal. What am I willing to do and to give up to reach a goal? Is this a goal I’m willing to put in the time for?

It also makes me see the value of setting small goals and mastering them. Once they are habit, they feel less like work and more like something I just do. Regardless of if I’m sick or dead tired, I brush my teeth before bed.

It’s easy to be too tired or have something else come up or just not want to do it. I’m sure skipping many things once or twice won’t make a huge difference, but it’s the series of skipping things “occasionally” that makes a huge difference. I feel that way with running and cleaning. It’s not that I’m bad at either of them, I just don’t do them all the time.

Hopefully this quote will either motivate me to select achievable goals or stick with the ones I have set.

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Folding Socks

I hate folding socks. A sea of socks of different socks in a pile. You sort and search and think you find a match—-no it is 2cm shorter. Oh wait—–here it is. . . No the pattern is different. Oh here is the match!!! Success!!!! WAIT hold on—-there’s a hole in it.

It takes longer or at least feels longer than many chores. There is always a pile of similar, but unmatching orphan socks. Do I throw them in the laundry and hope it finds its match in the next load? Did I match two socks incorrectly? Was the sock left at the park never to return? Did the laundry fairies take it for their nest? Do I keep it in a bag of lonely socks to be sorted through twice a year? Do I throw it away only to find it the next day?

Living in the midwest, matching socks will always be a necessary evil. Male socks aren’t too bad. Most are relatively similar and I can buy a bag of 30 matching socks. I swear there must be some rule on kids and women socks. Socks must be sold in packs of 2-4 socks and each be slightly different from each other. A value pack of socks is considered a whopping 6 pairs of socks.

Vent complete. Enjoy your day!


Order of Operations

Remember in math class the order of operations. Honestly, I don’t really. I know exponents and parentheses are early and multiply and divide come before add and subtract. I know at one point I used to remember some acronym for it.

Anyways, I saw a Facebook post regarding it and it got me thinking about the order that I do different tasks and chores throughout the day and week. Some things really don’t matter as long as I get them all done. Other tasks make the most sense to do a certain way—-cleaning out the fridge and then getting groceries makes for less work.

I am getting better at it. I started the laundry and dishes at the beginning of the nap. It gets it started so I can change the laundry and empty the dishwasher later in the day. It is also more likely to happen now than after I have sat down on the couch. Next step, watch tv show/movie while folding a pile of clothes. The girls are not supportive of my folding efforts and think it’s quite cute to climb in the basket or “help me” fold. It also allows me some time to myself and to watch a show that I like without interruptions. Well, I better go before they wake up.

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The Hurry-Up Clean

I am doing better at getting the house clean when someone is coming to the house. It used to overwhelm me or consist mainly of hiding things rather than cleaning. Now those things that I hid in the past now need to be sorted through 😛

What’s been working for me:

  • Not focusing on tasks that don’t matter.  Cleaning out the fridge needs to be done desperately, but not an hour before company comes
  • Getting surfaces clean.  It’s amazing how much better coffee tables, kitchen tables, and counters look when there is nothing on the top
  • Find music or the Olympics to put on in the background—be careful its not actually something you want to watch cause then their might be more watching than cleaning
  • finishing one task at a time—-having the coffee table partially clean is no where near as gratifying as having it DONE
  • Get the dishwasher running early in the cleaning burst so you can see if you need to hand wash or if you can get another load in before they come
  • When I get fatigued with cleaning, I’ll do interval cleaning—-during this song I will do put away shoes—-during the next song I will unload the dishwasher
  • Constantly look at what is the dirtiest.  I will often spot clean the dirtiest spots in the house and come back if I have time to do a better job.
  • I try to figure out where we will spend the most time and focus on that spot of the house
  • Leave for last understandable messes—-piles of paper in a corner or a pile of laundry for laundry day—-I get the ones that are in the way or grossest done first
  • Relax—Most people know by now that cleaning is not one of my best skills–If they don’t, they soon will 🙂
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August Goals

Here are my goals for August. I plan to cross them off as I complete them.   I obviously have more, but  this should be plenty and the formatting got weird so I’ll take it as a sign.

Clean out Car                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Go to library 1 2
Watch SLP related movie or read SLP book
Run 10 miles 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Attend 8 group fitness classes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Clean out 3 random boxes 1 23                                                                                                                                                                                    Go to Zoo
Go on the boat                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Get haircut

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