I have a babysitter who comes four mornings a week to play with Jay while I work. While they’re together–going to the park, or story time at the library, I sort of have a value system of what’s “worthwhile” to do while I’m paying someone else to play with Jay. Things that I can’t do around him–writing, meetings, phone meetings, etc. are at the top of the list. Housework is at the bottom. (Even crocheting and knitting, I usually save for other times, unless I’m on a deadline.) However, I love to try and get house stuff done when I can’t be doing anything else. For instance, when I put Jay down for his nap after lunch, I’m stuck upstairs for about 10 minutes until he settles down. I’ve decided that this is the best time to fold clothes. In fact, I make myself do it. At least one basket. This tiny 10 minutes of my day has made the laundry flow in the house immensely better. Because before, I’d put off folding clothes for any other activity.

Today, when I came upstairs from my studio to make a cup of tea, I played a little game. See how much I could do in the four minutes it takes for the tea to steep. (If I were to go back downstairs, I promise, I’d forget about the tea getting busy with something else). In that four minutes, I emptied the sink of dishes, and sorted through some dirty clothes, hurrah! Isn’t tea time fun?

Ok, back to work…


7 thoughts on “Juggling

  • October 31, 2006 at 11:22 am

    Nice post. I get a whole lot done in the few-minutes’ time when I can’t do something else–just by figuring out which task fits into which “stuck” spot in my schedule. (This does not mean my house is as clean as I wish it were.) Since I got a headset for the phone, I can do simple knitting while on hold, or whatever. . . .

  • October 31, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    I used to do that with Elena-I am just not as organized as you are. However, I have never made a cup of tea where it didn’t oversteep because I started doing something-if I don’t stand there while it’s steeping-it’s all over.

  • November 1, 2006 at 6:26 am

    I’ve heard it said that if we take care of the minutes, the hours will take care of themselves.

  • November 1, 2006 at 9:50 am

    I have the same system (except for the sleeping toddler). While the tea’s steeping, I do the dishes, clear off the table, fold laundry, sweep floors, or generally tidy. It *is* amazing what can be done in four minutes, and how much order is established in that tiny amount of time. Of course, the four-minute-steep is usually the only house cleaning I do beyond dishes and laundry!

  • November 1, 2006 at 9:54 am

    Hmmm… housekeeping limited to how much tea you have in a day… Since I have only one cup, that wouldn’t be much! Maybe if I switch to decaf…

  • November 2, 2006 at 4:41 am

    Thanks for sharing your tricks! The “see how much you can do in a particular amount of time” is especially good because you’re allowed to stop when that time is up.
    Love your Knit Witch, btw.

  • November 3, 2006 at 8:44 am

    I’m the same way! if I have to go upstairs for something, say, to go to the bathroom, I’ll pause and see what I can get done while I’m there, whether it’s carrying kitchen towels from the clean laundry basket back down or folding or straightening the beds, or…

    Sometimes I just CANNOT work unless the house is straightened up a little, so I do that as soon as I get up and then settle in to work!

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