Tolerance Levels

I'm trying to fulfill these goals for 2011 right now:

13. Get my life organized and keep my apartment clean.
14. Find a way to get my life organized and keep my apartment clean.

I'm mean I'm also doing a million other things, but these two are my biggest goals. At first I wanted to tackle it right away during my vacation, but that didn't happen, so, now I just want to get it done soon. Like soon soon, so that I can enjoy the rest of the summer in a nice, clean, organized apartment.

Last week I came up with a cleaning/chore plan for us. I told A.P. about said plan, but he laughed at me and told me it was just a piece of paper until the apartment was clean. So now, in order to prove to A.P. that my plan can work in the future, I have to now clean the apartment. Damn it! He and I have both made strides, but his idea of clean and my idea of clean are two totally different things . And I can't get off the couch these days. It's hot outside and it's cool inside and I'm always dirty from gardening and fat from being fat, so I stay in and get computer projects done (and save money by not going out. Hello? I want credit for that.) or hang with the critters. Cleaning is the last thing I want to do to enjoy the summer. I just want to enjoy the summer.

But clean, I must. And so I have been. This week I attacked the dreaded laundry. I won't even tell you how many pounds of clothes we took to the laundromat. I'm also starting to pick up the amassed clutter. I FINALLY brought out my summer clothes instead of rooting around in my storage containers to find the top I wanted. And yes, I know it's mid-July. I may favor re-runs of old sitcoms and The Bachelorette in lieu of news these days, but I'm aware of, like, time. Plus, I also got rid of a whole bag of clothes from my storage containers. I will donate them to the Salvation Army next week. See? Cleaning *and* doing good.

Anyway, I've been thinking about the basic idea of my cleaning plan, which is to make doing chores feel like less of a, well, chore. The key is to divide everything into chores that can be accomplished in less time daily. Instead of letting chores pile up and then having to devote whole afternoons to them, I'm trying to spend, say, 10-30 minutes a day doing them. And then having my weekends to myself. But first, I have to spend the whole days to get this place in shape. It's hard, people. I'm lazy. Working so hard this year has made slow times like these feel like much needed breaks instead of time to get crap done.

This whole thing started because I'm also trying to work on this goal:

1. Lose the rest of the weight I've gained since I started dating A.P. four and a half years ago. Do it at my own pace, and without headache or self-loathing.

I biked to work Tuesday because A.P. needed the car and I didn't have to go in until later. Oh. My. God. It was hard, people. HARD. I realized that my goal of losing weight is never going to happen. It's not 10 years ago. I can't just eat a little less and lose weight. I have to do work. But I hate working out. I hate it. After realizing that I had to do something, though, I thought about Real Simples 15 Minutes and You're Done series where they do great arm, leg, butt, etc. exercise routines that you can crank out in 15 minutes.

See I can stomach 15 minutes, but 20 is too much. I could even do two 15 minute routines at different points in the day, but not 30 all at once. (Yes, I hate working out that much.) For working out, 15 minutes is my tolerance level, unless it's something I love, like biking or playing badminton or going for a long, long walk (not a hike, a walk. I hate hiking.). This got me thinking about other things I hate doing: cleaning, calling people on the phone (funny how this used to be my favorite thing to do), budgeting, etc. And I started to think what if I just did all of those things for 15 minutes a day? Sure, some I'd have to put in 20, maybe even 30 minutes a day on, but some I hate more than others. The point is, if I did a little each day, it seems less overwhelming than a ton at once. Revelation! I know, crazy, right? Plus, if I combine that with the GTD idea that if it takes 2 minutes do it now, I think I'd be crazy awesome with getting shit done. So awesome in fact, maybe I'll write a book and call it Getting Shit Done.

The key to all this is discipline, which I don't have. Witness my guitar lessons. I'm supposed to practice every day. And I want to. But instead I practice 2-3 times. If I'm lucky. Last week, I rescheduled my classes partly because I was tired after a long day in the garden and a long meeting and partly because I hadn't practiced in a week and couldn't even remember the new stuff I learned. The truth is I have a hard time making time for things. I let some tasks suck up whole hours. I also do bad things like work with the TV on (a bad habit since childhood). It's distracting. I get stuff done, but it's much slower than if I were completely focused. Which means I have no time left. So, instead of figuring out a way to get my apartment clean, I'm deciding I want to focus on time management and factor cleaning into all that. I'll get my apartment clean and my life organized, but I think it hinges on me "cheating" time.

I'm hoping that the result is something like retirement. It sucks to do these things every day, but in a way, I'm socking away time. I'm socking away time I can now spend on the weekend with my husband instead of a mop, computer, phone, etc.

How do you manage time? Are you able to fit everything in? (Because I don't even have kids and it's freaking hard. Though A.P. is sometimes like a kid. I caught him stirring his ice cream the other day to make it like soft serve.)

PS. Methinks my idea is not too, too wrong since this awesome lady has a similar approach.


  1. I have THE solution for you (no, not the housekeeper): FLY lady!
    it's this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FlyLady

    they have a website here: http://www.flylady.net/

    and a support forum here: http://forums.ivillage.com/t5/FLYlady-Followers/ct-p/iv-hgflylady

    Sorry then, but it means someone already made money with "get shit done around the house" ;-p

  2. Why doesn't A.P. help you? My husband helps me when I feel overwhelmed about cleaning if the house is really messy. He either tells me how to do it or does a little himself.

  3. way to hold yourself accountable!!

  4. @Musing: I will check that out! It sounds interesting!

    @Michelle: He does help me, but right now, I have a lot more time. He does the kitchen and he helped me with the laundry the other day. Usually, we split chores, but these days, I just have more time than him.

    @Whitney: Thanks! We'll see how long it holds. :O )


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