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!


Anonymous said...

Ug.. not sure how successful I'll be. Time seems so short when you're working AND a new mom. I'm already exhausted and it was just my first day at work.

That said, I have a room that DESPERATELY needs to be cleaned out... when we moved, all the boxes we didn't bother to unpack went in there, and all the things we bought "for later" for the baby, and tons of other things. Now I need the room space for baby. I need to clean, organize, set up some shelving, throw out a lot of stuff, set up a dehumidifier (mold problem.. a common issue in this tropical climate), wash the walls and closets and floors and windows, mat the floor, and set up a safe play area. Hopefully put a couch in there. Hang up curtains.

I've been wanting to do that before the baby was born, but was too big and clumsy and tired to do it then, and now I'm just tired! (well still clumsy though) I'm going to try to give it a go (perhaps I can even convince my husband to help out... would it be cheating to split the hour between my husband and I? If we both spent half an hour on the room each day??) We may actually get the room clean... I'll have to do be and after pictures. :D It'll horrify even the bravest souls...

Trish said...

This is an AWESOME idea! I'm totally going to try my best to stick with this. My task for today is to write a list up of all the things that I should be devoting this hour to. I really have a lot of little things that I've been meaning to do. I think I finally licked the dishes issue we were know the one...dishes not getting done until every dish in the house is dirty and even then we still spend a week only washing what we need at the time :P I've been diligent about washing up after each meal or at least at the end of the day.

Here's to a productive April!!!

Jule Ann said...

@Anonymous: There is no such thing as cheating if it helps you to accomplish your goals! Set a goal you can reach. It sounds like splitting the hour makes sense for your situation.

@Trish: I'm in that very dish situation right now. My goal for the rest of March is to catch up on everyday stuff before tackling my HADA projects full-on.

christianlady said...

Okay, I think I can do it. Right now, today's challenge is the little girls' room.

Ready, set....go


roseleaf said...

I'm with you! I've only got the one, but she doesn't nap well, so I never get anything done. Of course, the time I have, I usually waste, so this will be excellent motivation!

Marianne said...

All right, I'm in. I'm going to give it a try. I'm going to make a list of things that I can/should do. I'm going to include some fun things I never seem to have time for as well as household chores I just never manage to get around to. For example, working on my daughters' baby books, writing letters, and maybe photography.

Jule Ann said...

"Fun" things you never find time for totally fit the spirit of the challenge, too! Especially productive fun things like baby books and crafts.

Jessie V. said...

Great idea! I've started to do something like this where I'm going through rooms and listing what needs to be spring-cleaned and then taking a week to do a "room." So last week was the laundry/foyer area so on Monday I dusted the laundry area, Tuesday I reorganized the shelves above the laundry, etc. I'd say it comes out to be average an hour a day. It's slow, but it'll get done, and I won't kill myself doing it.

Tip, always do it with the kids, unless you're doing something where the babe can't be on your back. Alone time is WAY to important to be spent cleaning. I'm surprised that Honor (who's now one) will be quite entertained if I give him a wet washcloth on let him play with a few things that he's never seen before from shelves. And the toddler can help if she wants.

Kate Evans said...

So proud of you! I'm going to try this too- the yummy chocolate dessert will be my motivation! :-)

IntenseSimplicity said...

Great idea Jule Ann! Now what I know my sister is coming to visit during Easter break, I'm feeling the urge to clean. External motivation exactly! That's what it takes for me :) Closets and junk drawers are screaming my name!

Ithaca MOPS said...

So I just took the time to figure out what this HADA thing was you keep talking about! I am off to a belated start today and will just go into part of may! I've sort of been starting this already b/c I was so behind on house work and wasn't getting any exercise. I tried to do one or two more things on my list than I'd usually get to and changed the Kidd tubby schedule so I can have a kid free walk every Wed and Sat after Dan gets home and we've had dinner. Buy maybe I'll push myself more if I'm doing it with someone!