Thursday, November 24, 2011

CHAOS: Can’t-Have-Anyone-Over Syndrome (July 21, 2008)

Current mood: stressed

Out of town company coming, and the house is a wreck. And I have an interview tomorrow. I have no time for blogging, so this will be short.

I do have a method for trying to get the house clean, based on the book Sidetracked Home Executives, by Pam Young and Peggy Jones (website). Here's a synopsis (though the book is a riot to read!): Get a card file box and a pack of 4x6 cards, some white, some various colored. On a sheet of paper, make a list of all the routine tasks that get done around the house, and categorize them into Daily (yellow cards), Once A Week (blue or green cards), and Once A Month (white). Some of my daily cards are Wash Dishes, One Load Of Laundry, Take Care Of Cat, and so forth. Some of my weekly cards are Take Out Garbage, Grocery Shopping, Clean Up One Small Appliance (like wiping down the coffee maker), etc. Once A Month cards include cleaning windows, cleaning out the refrigerator, stuff like that. Index tabs (1-31, Sun-Sat, and Daily) are necessary, too. I've made some minor modifications, like pink cards for high-importance daily tasks (e.g., check calendar, attend to a maximum one "Must Do" task, etc.).

Writing each task out, one to a card, I sort by type and distribute them evenly through the week and month. Then, on any given day, I never have more than the usual dozen or so daily things, one or two weekly tasks, and at most one monthly task, hanging over my head. If I miss stuff one day, I can usually just resume with the next day's cards and do them, and the place looks presentable enough. If I have the time and energy, I might tackle one or two leftovers from a day or so ago, but most of them, I can let them ride.

The initial card writing is the only time-consuming task. Then, on the first of each month, I set aside that day for cardfile maintenance -- new cards, corrections, rewrites, etc. Most of the cards don't take more than a few minutes apiece to do, so it really does help keep order and avoid chaos, I mean, C.H.A.O.S.: Can't-Have-Anyone-Over Syndrome.

It's a way to keep from being overwhelmed when there's just too much to do. Like right now. Aauughh!!!

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