Monday, March 28, 2011

Hour-a-Day April

I kicked Jeremy and the kids out of the house for a few hours yesterday so I could spend some time cleaning. I got so much done in a few hours, it was incredible. I cleaned the living room, cleared the dining room table off completely, and reorganized the hall closet. It felt really good to sit down at the end of the day and feel so accomplished.

I was talking to a friend the other day who also has a baby and a toddler at home. We were both saying how hard it is to get things done with two kids. But, if we're honest with ourselves, we probably could do more. When company is coming, we manage to tidy up. You just need a little external motivation sometimes.

So this is my external motivation, and maybe it can be yours, too. For the month of April, I am going to commit to spending an hour every day doing something that I otherwise have a hard time finding time for. I'm going to spend one hour of each day being productive. This weekend reminded me how productive a few hours can be. Sometimes I look at how much there is to do, and the sheer volume freezes me up and I do nothing. I might not be able to do it all at once, but if I pick away at it an hour at a time, I should be able to make a big dent.

Are you thinking about joining me? Here's how it will work:
  1. Think of something that you normally have a hard time finding time for. Sewing, cleaning, painting, organizing, playing basketball, crossing things off your honey-do list, it's up to you! It can be one big project, or a bunch of little projects. For me, it's going to be sorting/organizing and deep cleaning. Those are the things I never seem to get to, because any motivation I have gets used up on the surface stuff before I get to it.

  2. Spend an hour every day working on your chosen project(s). Set a timer and stick to it. Kids need your attention? Stop the timer and give them your attention. You have all day to squeeze in that hour, and if your kids are anything like mine, it might happen five or ten minutes at a time. But by the end of the day, make sure you've clocked that hour. Know yourself. If the best way for you to get in your hour is to get up early, get up early. If you clean best after everyone else goes to bed, skip CSI. It's only for a month.

  3. Take one day off a week. If you're religious, you may already have a set sabbath, if not, just pick a day to be your "break" day. Or don't pick a day, and let it be a floating day off, so if you miss a day, you can just say, "Oh well, that was my day off." (Jewish bonus: There are 5 Saturdays in April, and only 4 Sundays. So you get one more day off than the Christians.)

  4. Keep others updated on your progress. Comment on this blog. Blog about it yourself, and send me the link. Tweet about it on Twitter and use the hash tag #HADA (Hour-A-Day April). Take pictures and post them to the HADA Flickr group. Phone up your mom. Put a gold star on a chart.

  5. Don't give up. Missed a day? Just brush it off and get back on the proverbial horse the next day. Even if you only do half the days, that's still 15 hours more productivity than your April would have otherwise had.

  6. Celebrate when it's all over! If you live near me, let's go out to dinner together and order gooey chocolatey desserts. If you live far away, have your own celebration and tell me about it. Go ahead and splurge, you've earned it!

So, who's with me? Let's make April the most productive month of the year!

Sunday, March 06, 2011


(This is partially a response to this post about dads.)

We went to the park yesterday, as a family. I wore Dorothy in the Ergo, and Jeremy and I followed Valerie around as she showed her dad all her favorite park features. Eventually, Dorothy fell asleep, so she and I settled onto a park bench while Valerie and her dad kept playing.

I had never been to this particular park on a Saturday before. And maybe I'd just never paid attention before. But the park was full of dads. I counted more dads than moms, and none of the dads were sitting on benches. They were climbing on the structure, going down slides, swinging on swings, bouncing on the teeter totter, holding kids' hands, picking kids up, kissing their kids on their way down the slide, pushing kids on swings, teaching them how to pump their legs to swing higher, calmly redirecting them out of the swing radius so they wouldn't get kicked, reminding them of playground etiquette without yelling.

And I watched my best-friend-turned-father-of-my-children play with our daughter. I watched him celebrate with her as she went down the slide again, and again, and again, with genuine joy even on the 17th run. I watched their eyes light up as they laughed together. And I felt very blessed.