The Miraculous 15 Minutes

 Today my sweet friend Misty, from Encouraging Beautiful Motherhood, is guest posting! I am not a natural cleaner. Cooking is one of my favorite activities but leaves the kitchen looking like a tornado went through, I don't like to fold so the piles sometimes fall over, and none my children were blessed with an inborn compulsion to clean things, either.

In other words, I can really struggle as a mama of eight children!

I've learned a trick, though, in my many years of learning bit by bit to keep up with my house. And here it is: 15 minutes makes all the difference in the world.

You can do anything for 15 minutes, right? (If you're not sure, the answer is yes!) Amazingly, the truth is that you really can make a serious dent in your clutter, dust, and laundry piles by devoting just that small amount of time to each project.

Here's how I'm making it work at my house: I set the kitchen timer, put some music on, and head into the room I want to focus on. While there, I work from one side to the other, not leaving until the timer goes off. I take a small garbage bag with me. If there are things to be put away in other rooms, they go in a pile near the door until I'm finished. Working from left to right or clockwise, and top to bottom (make the bed, clear off desks/dressers, then sweep the floor, for example) ensures I hit everything, and gives me a goal to work toward.

With a timer set, I find I'm working faster and smarter. It also helps me get started, because there's an end to the project--I'm not just in there for an indeterminable amount of time. When time is up, I grab a book to read to the children, check the mail, make a meal or pop into facebook for a bit before setting the timer again and moving on to the next room. Knowing mama will be done in just a few minutes helps little ones be patient while I'm working, too.

Expectant mamas will find this to be especially helpful when energy levels are low. I used to get through my days by setting the timer at the top of each hour, knowing that two hours of work accomplished by the end of eight hours was definitely an accomplishment I probably wouldn't attain otherwise!

The other day, I was dreading a stack of pans and bowls that needed to be hand washed. Spending 20 minutes at the sink was not my idea of fun. Dinner needed to be made, so I put a pot of water on to boil and decided to dive in and wash them as quickly as I could. In the time the water came to a boil--probably only five minutes-- look what I'd accomplished!

I'm always surprised at how little time it actually takes to accomplish tasks I'm putting off. Try it yourself--work the 15 minute timer plan in reverse! Set a stopwatch or mark the time you begin cleaning out your refrigerator, folding that load of laundry, or organizing your bookshelf. Somehow, my idea of how long something will take compared to reality is quite off-kilter!

So today, perhaps try my trick and remember, a little diligence goes a long way!

Misty Krasawski is the overly-blessed mom of eight children whom she homeschools in sunshine-y Florida. She has been clinging tightly to the hand of her Lord since she was knee-high to a grasshopper, homeschooling for the past fifteen years, and has fifteen more years of homeschooling ahead of her with the children who are glad she will have done most of her experimenting on those who went before. Her wonderful husband Rob has much treasure laid up for him in heaven for having been called to such a daunting task. She is also the author of Back to Homeschool, serves as the Community Director and a contributing writer at MomHeart Online, is hostess of an online mentoring program for moms called Titus 2 University, and is a regular contributor to Home Educating Family Magazine as well as Heart of the Matter Online . When the house goes to sleep she can be found blogging at EncouragingBeautifulMotherhood.