If you're tired of the boom-bust cycle of getting chores done you might want to consider adopting the Eight-Minute Rule as the guiding force in taming your chores and tedious tasks.
Photo by modomatic.
The Eight-Minute Rule is roughly the household/chore equivalent of David Allen's Two-Minute Rule. For those of you unfamiliar with David Allen's Getting Things Done system whenever you have a task that will take less than two minutes to do you don't take the time to enter it into your GTD workflow you simply do it. The Eight-Minute Rule is based on a similar perception of the importance of small blocks of time and how much you can really accomplish if you focus on getting the stuff done — that you'd rather not be getting done — in eight-minute blocks:
Most of the things that need doing around the house can be done in under ten minutes. That's a really short period of time. If you have your snooze button set to ten minute intervals, you'll appreciate just how little time that is.
BUT. It's enough time to do LOADS of stuff:
- Taking out the trash – 2 minutes
- Loading the dishwasher – 4 minutes
- Hoovering one room – 7 minutes
- Ordering a crate of tonic water online – 4 minutes
- Ironing two shirts – 8 minutes
- Going around your bedroom, picking up every stray sock and t-shirt and chucking all in the laundry bin – 5 minutes
- Paying five utility bills – 6 minutes
Although it seems like a simplistic solution, I can speak from personal experience to the power of taking tiny blocks of time and blasting through chores. Since my work — writing for Lifehacker, grading papers and composing lessons for my students — is almost entirely desk-based it's easy to get sucked into working at my desk and hardly budging as I move from task to task. Using the Pomodoro Technique I work on the "work" for about a half hour and then blast through the house like a gazelle doing what most people would consider housework — throwing laundry in, putting clutter away, loading the dishwasher — but that I find a nice break of physical action after being at the computer. Way more of the little things like laundry and tidying the kitchen get done when I use that system then when I try to set aside an hour or day or a few hours on a weekend to do the same thing.
Have a favourite technique for getting tedious chores done quickly or actually making them enjoyable? Let's hear about it in the comments.
The Eight-Minute Rule [How To Get a Grip ]