“Set a quitting time for household chores or you’ll end up cleaning until bedtime. Set a stopping point when you are done for the day.”
I posted this tip a while back and had a thought provoking response from Amy, a mom of 2-1/2 year-old-twins. She said:
“How did you do this when your babies were young and the work never ends? Most days dishes or laundry are occurring until right before bed. . . It’s just difficult with two-and-a-half year old twins and I’m still learning my schedule. Seems like it keeps changing every week.”
My response was:
“The key is what you said: ‘the work never ends’” You have to have down time. If you don’t set a deadline, you’ll work constantly because it never ends. I had set days for doing things and I stuck pretty closely to that schedule. And I’m pretty sure I stopped every night by 8:30. The kids went to bed at 8 and I had about half an hour before I sat down. I was not one who cleaned my house before bed. My husband wanted us to spend time together in the evening so I left things until morning. I prefer getting up to a clean house but it didn’t fit our schedule to do that. So at 8:30 I just stopped. I still do that. Unless there’s an emergency, I’m done at 8:30.”
I’ve been thinking about this issue ever since Amy posted her question. I imagine it’s an issue that every homemaker deals with because we all know the work never ends!
Here are the facts:
- There’s always more work to be done than you have time to do.
- When you have children at home, especially small children, they make messes faster than you can clean them up.
- Just when you get everything cleaned up, someone comes along and messes it up.
- If you wait to sit down until everything is done, you will NEVER sit down.
- It’s the same in the business world. There is always more work to be done than hours to do it.
In case you don’t believe me, here are some other opinions:
“WANT to be more productive? Keep your nose to the grindstone, or your fingers on the keyboard and your eyes on the screen. Because the more time you put in, the more you’ll get done, right?
Wrong. A growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity — and that skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion.” (Read the entire post here.)
Taking care of a household may not be a “mental” task like the post mentioned, but it’s still exhausting mentally and physically.
“When demand in our lives intensifies, we tend to hunker down and push harder,” says Tony Schwartz, head of New York City-based productivity consulting firm The Energy Project. “The trouble is that, without any downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes, and get less engaged with what we’re doing.” (Read the entire post here.)
And one more:
“Because time is so precious and our lives are busier than ever, we probably all are inclined to try to push through our workdays and get as much done as possible, noses to the proverbial grindstone. But skipping breaks may actually be counterproductive, says the New York Times.” (Read the entire post here.)
Yes, I know these are all about the workday and the workplace, but the principal is true for working at home, too. You can’t work from the time you get home to the time you go to bed. Or if you’re a full-time homemaker, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. You need to stop and do something else. Recharge your batteries. Relax.
I stop my day between 8:00 and 8:30. I sit on the couch and do what I want. Usually that involves:
- Writing in my planner;
- Watching tv;
- Playing games on my phone;
- Talking to my husband.
If we happen to be out late, I still like to sit on the couch for a few minutes if I can. I find that if I don’t wind down, it takes me even longer to get to sleep.
You don’t have to do what I do or even spend as much time relaxing as I do. But do relax at least a little. Forget about all the undone tasks on your list. They’ll still be there tomorrow. Decide on an end time for your day. Figure out what relaxes you and do it! I’m guessing you’ll discover you’re a lot happier and more relaxed.
Do you have a quitting time at the end of the day so you can relax? What do you do to relax?