Protect August

Well, now, y’all, I am tired. Producing more than refueling. So much to do…like writing a blog post.

You’d think that all the principles of margin and time management we discuss here would cut that out forever. But, no. Some times in life are simply a marathon to push through until the finish line. We’ve chosen wisely and planned well, but sometimes we are called to do a lot. It’s a heavy load.

So today…since I need to write a blog post anyway…let’s talk about being in that kind of a push. What am I doing to handle the load?

First of all, pray for grace and strength. You need it. He loves to give it as we rely on Him.

Then, look for the light at the end of the tunnel and protect it. With the end in sight, you will push through in hope. Will there be a break at the weekend? Do you have a vacation scheduled in a couple of months? Will the project be over in 6 weeks? Take a minute to think about what is coming and make sure it doesn’t get overrun. You will need it.

For this household, it is August. We are not planning, or accepting, or scheduling, any new commitments or responsibilities during that month. It’s not a month off (a vacation), but a month with all the breathing room we can get our hands on. We will work hard during the week, then we will have weekends and most evenings to relax and restore. That time is necessary to recover from a push like this, as well as being a HUGE motivator on the long days. If I know it is coming, I can hold out better!

Although it may be tempting, don’t stop prioritizing. You will keep first things first AND hopefully catch a few things that don’t actually need to happen right now. Those can be pushed to a time when you have more time and energy — or cut out entirely.

Cut the corners you can. Dinner tonight is from the slow cooker. Quesadillas are a quick and easy option for another night. Do surface cleaning as maintenance, but deep clean the storage closet another time, far in the future. I love cooking meals from scratch with fresh ingredients, but this is not the week for that. Accept it, and move on.

Finally, don’t give up good habits you have made. It’s tempting to cut out planning time or prayer time or routines, but now is the time you really see the worth of your effort. Hang on!

House Cleaning Tips

A clean house! It’s a lovely sight, even if only for a short moment. If you clean a house (or any living quarters), there are some basic things you can do to work effectively and efficiently.

Work top to bottom. Start reaching up, then move down as you work through the room(s). The floor will be the last thing. This makes gravity your friend, as anything dust or dirt will work its way down as you clean.

Work clean to dirty. Wipe the cleaner items first. This allows you to keep the the worst dirt off of the rag until the end, right before it goes in the laundry. You will have to rinse out your rag or sponge or whatever fewer times as you go.

Restock as you go. Fill up the swab jar, the napkin holder, the extra toilet paper roll stack, etc., each time you clean the room. You may have to do this in between sometimes, but it will guarantee that you are stocked on a regular basis otherwise.

Clean the floor dry to wet. Vacuum first, to pick up the big pieces of dirt. Then dry mop to wipe up the dust. Finally, the wet mop will clean the sticky stuff and everything left. This will keep your mop cleaner and keep you from pushing gravel or leaves around the floor, or stopping to pick piles of dirt up, as you mop.

Build a routine. Remember, habits help.

  • Use patterns. As you vacuum, cover sections one at a time to make sure you touch every part and keep on track without having to think about it.
  • Find a routine and stick with it. If you clean room by room or task by task (dust whole house, then mop everywhere, etc.), find your groove. You will get used to the flow and then sail through the routine without struggling to remember where you are and what should be next.
  • Turn off lights when room is finished. I love to see progress, so I motivate myself by turning all the lights on at the start. (That’s necessary to see, of course, but also essential for the reward.) As I finish a room, I turn the light off on my way out. It’s a little pat on the back as the cleaning wraps up.