I hate to clean.
And last summer and fall were packed with work for me. A real blessing. But it meant I was never getting around to cleaning our house. In my limited time off, cleaning was the last thing I wanted to do.
Now, Les and I are both neat people. Everything gets put away in its place daily. There are some stacks of clutter, usually piles of something we hope to get back to reading or doing something with someday. But they are neat stacks.
But cleaning isn’t the same as being neat. I hate cleaning. Dusting, especially. And so as the work piled up last year, it was easy to ignore the dust rhinos tumbling across the furniture, the grime on the kitchen floors, the rings forming in the toilet bowls.
Finally I had to do something. Two months ago, I broke down and created a micro-cleaning schedule. Every day of the month has a task to complete. I made the tasks small enough (hence, the “micro” designation) that I could do them in a few enough minutes that I wouldn’t resent it. So dusting our bedroom takes four days but the living room with fewer things on the surfaces, I dust in one day.
Maybe you’re appalled that that the house only gets dusted once a month. But I refuse to be ashamed. It’s more than was getting done in the fall! It helps that we have no pets or children. Some other chores get done twice a month (and maybe again if company is coming).
I’ve kept to the schedule for two months now. The weird thing is that I’ve found myself doing extra cleaning that’s not even on the list. When a day’s task takes only five minutes, it seems easy to take a few moments more to wipe down mini blinds or clean some baseboards.
It’s also taught me a lesson for all of life:
I am easily overwhelmed when a task or decision seems too big.
The solution might be to do what I did with the cleaning:
- Break it down into micro-bites .
- Take the first bite, make a start.
- Stay on schedule. (But even when I was away for five days last week, I was able to catch up quickly, because the daily cleaning quotas aren’t overwhelming.)
What tasks—or dreams—are you putting off because you’re overwhelmed?
Can you break it down into bite-sized pieces and get a start on it?
You might not get to the finish line at a frantic clip, but you will get off the starting block. And that’s where victory begins.