View Full Version : Every day 5-6 pm: chore hour

12-02-13, 05:36 PM
Context: I've been playing with routines for a while, but after falling back into chaos I realised that I underestimated my enemy... so now after some good communication with my supervisors at uni, I have created space to put some time into improving my routine. What I describe below is one example of a habit that I am building to get permanent control of my life...

I have won a major battle in getting my life organised; I made a todo-list that I am going to print tomorrow that will hang on my whiteboard; while this does not seem like much, it is in fact the secret weapon that I plan to use to win the war against chaos! :D

How does this work?

Every day I come home from university at 5 o'clock. Then, between 5 and 6, I have my chore-hour... during this hour I plan to finish every item on my todo list as quickly as possible.

This is my todo list:
1 Coming home
- put bag away
- hang jacket
- put keys away (where it should be)
- but wallet away (again, where it should be)
- charge phone
- charge ipad
2 Relaxing
- make tea
- put music on (jazz)
- light candles
- chill for 5 minutes
3 Bag
- unpack today's bag
- pack bag for next day
- but stuff back
4 Clothes
- gather
- wash
- wash timer (I use a timer on my phone to remind me when I should hang my clothes)
- put laundry in wardrobe (yesterday's)
5 Dishes
- gather
- wash
- dry
6 Finance
- write down daily income/expenses (on paper)
- pay bills

While this list may seem long, I think it's actually doable in 15-30 minutes; a lot of tasks don't have to be done daily (laundry, paying bills) and most things on the list are really small. Some take only seconds, some take minutes. I actually removed as much as possible that is not useful to do everyday, because the idea is to give everything daily attention that requires this attention... I mean ignoring it should really cause me more stress/trouble then paying daily attention. There will also be a weekly list that contains things that are useful to do every week, i.e. writing all expenses/income in checkbook, which I don't do that daily because I think it's too much hassle, buying groceries, check for borrowed stuff that I need to bring back, etc.
Nearly all things on this list have been problematic many times in my life... here's some of the problems I've encountered:
(numbers below refer to numbers of list above)

1 I lost my keys, shoes and wallet countless times. Very unpractical if you are in a hurry.
2 Not a problem, but to motivate: I want this thing to be as easy as possible, therefore I'll always listen to jazz while doing this, I light some candles (since it's so dark in this time of the year) while drinking tea.
3 Not problematic, but I often carry a heavy bag with many things I don't need (because I don't take the time to consciously pack my bag for the next day). Another thing is that mess from my bag can get lost, which is why the unpacking is useful. I put everything where it belongs.
4 I can procrastinate on washing clothes... quite frustrating if you need clean clothes when you don't have any, which has happened often.
5 Dishes. I don't like to do a lot of dishes, so it's easy to do them every day when it only takes 2-5 minutes.
6 I don't want to know how much money I wasted by paying bills late. From now on, I'll remember bills every day; if I have any, I will pay them during this hour (I only have 2 bills or so to pay per month, rest is automatic).

When I am done, I can spend the rest of the hour relaxing; this can be anything... reading a book, watching youtube, etc.

So, I think by having a fixed hour every day and a fixed todo list (that I don't have to invent every day), and by making it as easy and positive as possible, I have a good chance to get this area of my life under control without the need to obsess over it.

I spent two hours to make the todo list in a good drawing program, so it looks as good as I can make it (to make the experience even more positive) :)

The beta test starts tomorrow! I am actually looking forward to doing this! :D

I hope this post is interesting! Feedback is always welcome, and feel free to steal all of my ideas.

12-02-13, 05:44 PM
Bad things about lists is that you procrastinate still lol

12-02-13, 06:01 PM

If you mean that making lists is a way to procrastinate, I agree. I try to avoid this by having this daily list that I can just follow without having to make it every day and without giving myself the opportunity to do other things. I think I save a lot of procrastination.

I am not allowed to procrastinate on something that's on this list if it needs to be done.

But I do not ask myself to do useless chores... the goal is not to be perfectly organised, but to be organised to get the most benefits (a clean & calm place to live) and avoid most problems (unnecessary stress, costs, guilt/shame (when somebody sees my chaos), etc). I don't ask myself to vacuum clean and wash my room daily, this is a weekly task. This is not really procrastination, since I follow my plan.

At least I hope to be able to do that. Time will tell ;)

12-03-13, 05:40 PM
Wow! That’s so great. I might copy this one day, lol. Well done.

12-03-13, 06:21 PM
Thanks! Today I did my first chore hour. I used a nice list that I printed today with the todo points that I describe above. It took me only 10 minutes or so and it was actually quite fun/relaxing to do those chores. I liked that I didn't need to remember what I needed to do, just follow the list. A rare moment where my life was organised. As a bonus, I will prevent a lot of problems by taking care of my finances/chores and I have the benefit of living in a nice organised space.

I never dreamed that organising would be such a positive experience!

12-03-13, 07:28 PM
I like the way that you've divided it into those 5 distinct headings. .... But have detailed steps for each stage.

I really like it and might copy it for myself (and my daughter with ADHD)

A tweak might be to color code each main heading - so it stands out and there is not so much feeling of a wall of text. Oh I just saw that you did it in a good drawing program so it looks nice:) Vwry good idea!

I also like that you've scheduled in some relaxation time. How about rewarding yourself for following your schedule reasonably ell by getting some really nice tea or even a new CD of jazz that you like:)

12-04-13, 06:06 AM

Thanks! Here's the planning (it's in dutch):

I made four of these schedules and hung them on the inside of the wardrobe door:

1) Daily chores (5-6 pm)
2) Weekly chores (Monday and Thursday)
3) Daily planning (4.15-4.45 pm)
4) Weekly planning (Sunday afternoon)

About color coding, I use color coding for these lists (you see the one I posted is orange for chores) and in my agenda:
Orange = chores
Yellow = exercise
Ice blue = planning
Blue = study
Purple = appointments
Green = done (in my agenda I change every past event to either "done" or "not done", an easy way to see how things are going)
Red = not done

Yesterday I had my first chore hour and it was very nice. It took me only 15 minutes to do everything. Felt good to not have to think and get a lot done. It's crazy to think how much I will benefit from this small routine. That's how I designed it, I removed everything that was not worthwhile to do daily (most of which I now do weekly), so I only do things that are really useful to me.

Good advice about the rewards. Been thinking about it. I use spotify for music, so I can listen to any kind of jazz that's on there (there's a lot!) :). But good tea is an excellent suggestion; as long I do this, there should always be good tea :)

Good to hear that you consider using this idea. I hope it's as useful to you (and your daughter) as it is to me! Let me stress it again: I think this will be the secret weapon I need to win the war against chaos. I am actually serious about that! ;)

12-04-13, 07:19 AM
it looks cooler in Dutch :)

I haven't made a specific plan like that but I have just been INSISTING on a kind of routine in the evening: set the kitchen timer, so I don't forget to make dinner (I'm not kidding...) ; put everything away (my coat, my work clothes), BEFORE dinner
take valerian tablets during dinner! DON'T fall asleep on the couch. :)
remove makeup makeup, be sure there is nothing left on the bed etc for when I need to go to bed (11:30)
Crochet until sleepy!

12-06-13, 04:29 AM
Thanks, haha! ;)

I get what you're saying... I have been insisting on different kinds of routines too, the problem was that:

1) I didn't make it fun
2) I didn't do the routines. Only on rare occasions, but not... routinely!
3) There were just too many of those routine
4) Last but not least: I did not specify what my routine should be like

I took me like a full week to design these routines. This is a bit much, but I wanted to really think it over well (like I describe: it should be as fun as possible, only essential things should be on it, etc).

One thing that is useful is that I do batch processing now; I do a lot of chores in 20 minutes, all things that I know are very useful. I think with ADHD the core problem is difficulty switching from task A to task B (and staying there). This is where my list is useful... when I follow it (with number on the list):

1) I come home and put everything I have with me in their places (but I don't yet unpack my bag)
2) I take my ipad, put on some music, take my 3 candles and lit them and make some tea. Then I sit 5 minutes in a chair, just chilling! :) Really nice moment of the day, while at the same time it's just sitting in a chair so I also start wanting to do something
3) I unpack my bag and pack my bag for the next day (takes me 2 minutes or so)
4) I gather all the clothes that I threw on my floor, throw them in my laundry bin, check if there's enough to wash them and if so I wash, then take the clothes from the previous washing. All in all this can take zero time if there's no clothes and 10 minutes if I have to do it all.
5) Then I do my dishes, which is only 5 minutes of work. I also do my housemates dishes if they are there (I kind of like doing dishes), then it's 10 minutes or so.
6) Finally, I pay the bills (did so yesterday) and write down income/expenses.

All in all, it took me 25 minutes (including chilling) and it was very positive. So, from this, what I can recommend: batch processing (daily/weekly/monthly) chores, looking for fun ways to do them, only doing things that are really useful and making+printing a list. This formula is working for me, which is why I am so enthusiastic about it! :)

I wish I had this idea earlier!

01-26-14, 06:49 PM
Dutch, you're an inspiration!