Productivity is in the eye of the beholder

On the days we clean, we follow an operational process – sort of. I have a list of all the tasks we need to complete and because I believe a little competition is healthy, my children sign up for them on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Feel like sleeping in today? Be prepared to scrub toilets. Didn’t hear me the first time I asked? Cat boxes for you. You snooze, you lose.

It’s a pretty long list but not as long as my pre-children days when I was apt to spend a Saturday morning cleaning out the inside of the fireplace or dusting the furnace (I know, I know). No time for those tasks anymore. My standards are considerably lower than they used to be.

Lest I leave you with the impression I am actually organized, I must confess that we do deviate from the list – for example, on the Saturday our mercurial dishwasher decided it wasn’t going to cooperate. The door kept popping open in mid-cycle and then guess what? It doesn’t run. After I’d closed and restarted it about twenty times, I assigned my youngest to sit on a stool in front of the dishwasher until the cycle ended. A productive use of time? It was that day.

We’re not cleaning today. Instead I’m enjoying the blissful silence of an empty house. But later, just for fun, I might dust the furnace.

Any great suggestions for accomplishing those mundane weekly tasks?


8 thoughts on “Productivity is in the eye of the beholder

  1. Hm… the only suggestion I have is to not let things build up to a mess. Put stuff back from where it was taken from, don’t walk around with dirty shoes etc.
    Easier said than done, and I realize it is much more difficult for people with kids than it is for me.
    Love your powers of delegating though, your son must be proud to be appointed the post of “Junior Kitchen Appliance Manager”!


    1. Then you would love my bestowing “Most Favored Child Status” on the child who is most helpful and polite. The best part? You don’t even have to be a member of the family to earn it. My daughter’s friends actually vie for the title when they’re here.


      1. Oooooooh…. Motherhood and the joy of manipultion, hm?
        Love it. Always saw my younger sister as my first direct report. (She was only dotted line though, mainly reporting to our parents).


  2. I used that technique with some colleagues when I was in charge of organising daily tasks (this one time… at band camp…) and they complained it “wasn’t fair”. Apparently it’s “not fair” if the people who turn up bright eyed and bushy tailed get the best jobs and the people who walk in late hoping it’s all been done by everyone else already get left with the shitty stuff. I disagreed. And I did so as someone who’s not very good at being bright eyed or bushy tailed but will at least sheepishly suck it up when I miss out.

    Hopefully your children are a bit less entitled about the whole thing. Nice to have the house to yourself once in a while, even if they are willing to fall in with the arrangement!


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