Can you imagine that you have a free half hour specifically slotted for housework?
You’ve got four 3x5 cards with specific chores on each to direct your work. There's an estimated time telling you how long each task will take written on each card. You’re dressed for housework, so you won’t wreck your good clothes and you’ve got on sensible shoes. You're a SHE (Sidetracked Home Executive) and you're easily distracted. Ac-cording to your math, you can do the tasks on the cards in half an hour, but what has happened to your good intentions when you find yourself at the mall getting a pedicure?
You can find that out by thinking backward until you come to the point in your housecleaning that prompted the diversion. Maybe you were innocently dusting the dining room table with a couple weeks’ worth of mail stacked on it and when you went to move the mail to dust you saw the coupon for 50 percent off a pedicure at the mall, and the sale ends today. So much for housecleaning, but at least you have pretty toes.
SHEs are champions at getting sidetracked and if you’re one of us read on because there is a wonderful anti-sidetracking tool you can use and it’s located in your head (well actually in your throat).
You can read all about it at the end of my column.
If you’re tired of being a victim of fatal distractions (fatal to your good intention that is) here are the top 20 fatal distractions you need to be aware of before you start any housework.
1. Cell phone
2. Door bell
6. Mailman or UPS guy
7. Physiological interruptions: bathroom, thirst, hunger
8. Computer games, Face-book, Twitter
9. Child or husband
10. Your amazing mind
If you’ve been sidetracked in the past by any of these distractions, here’s what you can do.
When you set your timer for 15 minutes and you set out to clean the refrigerator for example, promise yourself you are going to stay on task short of an emergency like a broken arm, a fire in the next room or a drone takes off the top of your roof.
Once the vow is made, work fast and play with your time constraint (Seeing how much you can get accomplished in 15 minutes will engage your inner child who loves races against time.).
There is no guarantee that one of the fatal distractions won’t occur, in fact, mostly likely one or more of them will crop up especially if the job at hand starts to get boring. No worries, you’ll be ready!
So, let’s say something in the fridge speaks to you, like a left-over chicken leg and the thought comes to your amazing mind, “I’m kinda hungry.”
Speak to the chicken part and say, “Shut up! It’s not time to eat! I’ll eat you later.”
If that dialogue works, keep cleaning the refrigerator. If it starts to nag you or another food item tempts you, it's time to bring out the big gun.
The ultimate and tried and true solution is the air horn (you know the sound of the horn at a basketball game).
Now in the course of the 15-minute fridge clean-out you may have to use that obnoxious horn more than once, but it’s such a brutal sound and it’s hard on your vocal chords, so your sweet soul probably won't want to hear it more than once.
You can also use the air horn while at the grocery store when you’re tempted to put a package of Oreos in your cart for example (If there happens to be someone in the cookie aisle when you blast the horn, just touch your throat and say, “I hate it when that happens,” and continue shopping.).
Because we SHEs are easily distracted, this distractive tool REALLY WORKS! Give it a try and get back to me! I’d love to hear how it helps you.
If you’re buried in clutter it makes it all that easier to be distracted because each item of clutter has a voice that can distract you. There’s a chapter in my book, “The Joy of Being Disorg-anized” called There Arose Such a Clutter and I’d like to give it to you. If clutter is a big problem, this chapter will help you get rid of it. Here is the link: cluborganized.com/the-joy-of-being-disorganized-chapter-one
For more from Pam Young go to www.cluborganized.com. You’ll find many musings, videos of Pam in the kitchen preparing delicious meals, videos on how to get organized, lose weight and get your finances in order, all from a reformed SLOB’s point of view.