20 Minutes

Yesterday, I discovered something. You’d have thought I would have discovered this earlier in life, but I guess I’m a little slow to put it all together. Here’s what I figured out. If you have something absolutely deplorable to do, set a timer and make yourself work on it for just 20 minutes. I mean seriously, if you don’t like doing something, you can make yourself do it if you promise yourself you get to quit in 20 minutes, right?

For instance, yesterday the screen porch needed to be cleaned. I mean, it wasn’t even nice to look at, much less use. But, the job seemed overwhelming. First there is the vacuuming of our 27 year old indoor/outdoor carpeting. (I’m working on the remodeling project but, that will require at least six 20 minute discusssions!) Then, there is the cleaning of the furniture, washing the screens, cleaning out the sliding door track (between the house and the porch) and vacumming down the cobwebs. Plus, I really wanted to read my book!

So, here’s what I did. I first went and sat on the front porch, where is was, let’s say, clean enough, and set my timer to read for 20 minutes. (Sometimes, I have to force myself to take time for the fun stuff, too.) Then, I enlisted Scott’s help and promised him we’d only work for 20 minutes. I set the timer and while Scott wiped down the furniture, I vacuumed up the accumlated dead bugs and other debris. Then, we quit, and the porch looked 90% better! It was amazing.

Today, John washed the screens and Scott and I worked on the sliding door track; which honestly, how does it get that gross? But, I digress. The great part of it all was we were able to spend the day enjoying our clean screen porch and no one had suffered too greatly (although Scott might say otherwise.)

I’m thinking my timer and I are going to be great friends this summer. There is always plenty to do! And, I may get through those books a bit faster if I just promise myself 20 minutes a day.

Now, here’s one more tip for my Mom’s group friends. With small children, only set the timer for about 10 minutes and ALWAYS work with them. It requires less yelling (oh, I mean reminding) and much more gets accomplished.

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