One of the most challenging parts of a modern professional lifestyle is finding time for the 'insignificant' little tasks that become a major problem if ignored too long. Cleaning, folding laundry, and tidying up after yourself and your household always seem to pile up behind you. The vast majority of people who try to work and keep up a home at the same time find themselves behind on chores on a regular basis and constantly scrambling to keep up. If you're tired of having mountains of laundry to do on the weekends and facing sinks full of dishes, the time has come to change your approach to chores.
The problem is thinking about chores as something you have to do in big chunks of time and effort. They don't seem to fit into your schedule because you see everything as taking a half hour or more to complete. If your dream is to come home Friday evening to a clean house and empty hours ahead of you to relax in, the key is to slip your chores into spare moments throughout the week. With the right approach, you won't even feel like you've been cleaning that much and the house will be spotless almost all the time.
Never Leave a Room Empty-Handed
The first step is to challenge yourself to a game: Never leave a room empty-handed. Every time you're about to change rooms or walk across a large room, have something in your hand that needs to be tidied away. Ideally, you will start to strategize grabbing items that need to go where you're headed. This can be like taking a screwdriver back to the garage, an empty glass back to the kitchen sink, or a stray piece of laundry to the hamper. Incidentally to the game, you will also constantly be tidying.
Clean While You Talk
If you love to stand around and chat, as many of us do, and are constantly finding yourself losing time to conversations, this habit can be turned into an awesome cleaning tool. Simply try to always find something to clean if you're chatting at home or in a workspace you're responsible for. It takes very little effort to windex your desk or wipe down the kitchen, especially while enjoying a lively conversation.
Work Out While You Wait or Watch TV
Most people don't manage to work out as much as they intend to. One of the most important things to remember if you struggle with exercise goals is that constant unmeasured exercise is a lot better than no exercise at all. Get some small 3-10 pound weights and practice casual exercises like curls, calf lifts, crunches, kicks, and stretching while you watch television or listen to your favorite podcast. If you're waiting for food to cook for two minutes in the kitchen or even out in the world, do a few curls or calf lifts to burn some extra calories in the empty moments.
Make Chores Part of Waking Up
Do you have trouble getting your brain started in the morning? If so, you're not alone. Many people need a little time to shake off being asleep and this is the perfect time to do chores. No, really. Doing something structured, lightly physical, and not very complicated is exactly what your brain needs to start up. Consider emptying the dishwasher, folding laundry, or wiping down your kitchen counters first thing in the morning while you start up.
Clean Up As You Go
For the home chefs who accidentally create disaster zones of dirty cutting boards, pans, and utensils, there is one way to make sure you're not looking at an avalanche of dishes at the end of the night. Clean up as you go. Take some time while the garlic browns to rinse a few dishes and line them up in the dishwasher. Fill the sink with warm soapy water and soak pans the moment they come off the stove. Most importantly, wipe up with a soapy sponge between cooking phases to keep the counters clear.
Always Be Working on Something
The final piece of advice we have for you if you want to never feel overwhelmed by chores again is to simply try to never be idle unless you're intentionally relaxing. Whether you're talking on the phone, watching your favorite television shows, or waiting for the microwave popcorn to finish, either be working out or cleaning. Pretty soon you'll figure out how to do both at the same time.
If you're an active person with a positive self-challenging mindset, chores should never have to feel like a problem. Rather than getting single-minded about your tasks and feeling like chores are always piling up while you're busy with other things, simply challenge yourself to little games and always be tidying, exercising, or both.