There is a school of good housekeeping that suggests you use a timer in your daily routine. The idea is that you allocate a certain amount of time to task or room, then you get on with it until the timer rings. You decide in advance how much time you are prepared to devote to your clothes and then you do just that, and no more.

I can see the merit of this system – it prevents the energy-sapping notion that you are spending your whole life doing housework, and if you work well within a rigid structure, you may find that it suits you to run your home, literally, like clockwork.

Personally, though, this system is not for me. I am not a huge fan of deadlines, particularly, self-imposed ones. I believe there is enough external pressure in my life, without introducing a ringing bell into my housework.

However, there is one aspect of this system that I find very useful. One helpful side effect of timing your chores is that you get a more realistic idea of how long they actually take, i.e., in reality, rather than in your head.

I believe that often we feel so resistant to a job that it builds up in our minds. We erect a psychological barrier to it, out of all proportion to the work involved. The thought of it becomes a much bigger deal than the actual job itself.

For example, I recall a time shortly after the birth of my second child when I left the washing up for three days! (I know, I know…) My mother came round and I moaned for a couple of hours about how I was just drowning in housework. My wonderful mum listened and sympathized. Then, while I nipped off to change a nappy, she washed up. It took her about 10 minutes.

My point is that if I had been thinking in terms of how long it would take, I am sure I could have found 10 minutes, in preference to the angst of having it sitting there, staring at me, getting me down. But I was more focused on my frustration and feelings. I let that particular source of desire loom large as a giant chore in my mind. It wasn’t a giant chore. It was 10 minutes work. (it might even have taken less than 10 minutes if I’d dealt with it sooner…)

The lesson I learned was this: When I feel any resistance towards a certain job, I consider how long it will realistically take. I can then weight up that time against the emotional angst I will take subject myself to, if I do not do it.

It takes sense. If you have to do the work anyway, tackling it early on could save you much heartache. And one very effective way to motivate yourself to do this, is to reduce it down to x minutes work.

And if you are not already familiar with how long it takes to do your chores, there is only one way to find out! I don’t suggest you go as far as setting a timer – unless you find that a positive encouragement. A casual glance at the clock as you start and finish a particular job is all that is needed. But as you time yourself, go at the pace you like to work. It is no good setting the world record for cleaning the loo, then being disappointed the next time when it takes you twice as long.

So, check the time, go as fast as you comfortably can whilst still doing a good job, then log that time in your mind. You can then use that knowledge in future, when you are wondering if you have time to do that particular job.

Author's Bio: 

Barbara is a Online Marketing Manager of a big cleaning company in Sydney: http://www.fantasticcleanerssydney.com.au/house-cleaning/. She has graduated Master Degrees of Psychology and Marketing in the University of Sydney. She loves to travel and spend valuable time with her family. Writing is her way of escaping the world.