If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are longer, the air is warmer, and it feels like the world is expanding, doesn’t it? For many of us, these welcome changes are accompanied by an annual ritual we feel more ambivalent about … spring cleaning!
Is it a dreaded chore for you? Drudgery that you’d like to avoid? Well, let’s try to turn that around. Are you game?
First, let’s step back and take a breath. Seasonal changes are transitional times that offer us opportunities to take stock, make choices, and free ourselves up for what’s to come. Freeing yourself is the concept I’d like you to keep in mind as we explore this spring ritual. The focus needs to be on YOU, your time, your life … and what makes it more manageable for you.
So spring cleaning is about self care and efficiency, really. It’s your time to lighten up and let go – like shedding the layers that kept you warm through the winter months but aren’t needed now. Taking time to clean and de-clutter lets you be more agile and responsive to whatever the new season brings. That saves time. And when you value your time like money, you see that saving time is like earning some extra money for yourself!
So, what’s the best way to approach Spring Cleaning? Here are 5 quick tips to get you started … AND keep you going! These will serve you well for any tasks.
- Overview. Make a list of the spring cleaning tasks that you’d like to accomplish this month if you had all the time in the world. Don’t censor anything. Get it all down on paper.
- Prioritize. Sort your list – from things that must be done to things that would be nice but can wait. Factor in things like “due dates” or tasks that require others’ participation as you prioritize. Make guesstimates of the time each task will take. Be generous. I advise using the “Times 2 Rule” – i.e. doubling the time you think a task will take.
- Set goals. Choose one or (at most) two of your high priority tasks, and break them down into smaller chunks that fit within the time you have. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you set yourself up to feel overwhelmed, you’ll lose momentum and most likely either stop before you finish … or never start!
- Validate! Your timeframe needs to include room for congratulating yourself and celebrating what you have accomplished. Think of yourself as your very own cheerleader! At first you might feel self-conscious about this … but give it some time. You’ll be amazed at the impact it has on your energy and productivity. As it becomes second nature … this positive attitude will ripple out and have a powerful impact in lots of areas of your life!
- Review: How did it go? Tweak your process, based on what you’ve learned. Then, if you like, you can go back to your prioritized list and repeat the process. You’ll be building from success to success, and freeing yourself as you go!
BONUS TIP: Create templates. If you have tasks that you do every year and that don’t much change from year to year, start creating simple templates for them. List out supplies needed, step-by-step directions … whatever you need to accomplish your task. Store the templates on your computer and revise as needed … and stop reinventing the wheel every year.
Ready to get started on some Spring Cleaning? Try these 5 tips – and let me know how it goes! In the meantime, I’ll be thinking of more ways to help you with improving your life and saving money every day … by making the most of your time!
Paula Eder, PhD, The Time Finder Expert
Master Coach and Mentor
“Find time for what matters most to you!”