I began writing about MBTI personality types, and yesterday I wrote about structure and routine for the INFP type. Yesterday's tips (to-do lists, time frames, etc.) were all inspired by "J" types (those that organize well and plan everything). Today, I'll talk about something us "P" (unorganized, spontaneous) types do well.
You tend to do things "on a whim", am I right? This is often said to be your biggest downfall, but when used effectively, it can be your greatest ally. Let's think of it as a STRENGTH, rather than a weakness, for a moment.
On a Whim Cleaning
You pass by the same closet every day, stuffing things in and wishing you didn't have to open it again. Its contents threaten to fall out and bury you alive. And then one day, the urge strikes: "I'm going to clean that closet!" You hit it hard, with all you've got. You get 80% of it clean, and then you get bored, or something else comes along to distract you (kids!). Everything goes back in the closet and awaits the "on a whim" feeling to strike again.
Imagine if you could use this "on a whim" technique to tackle smaller, daily projects! Here's how it works:
"While I'm there..."
I've discovered that if I take something upstairs, and notice the pile of dirty clothes strewed throughout the hallway, bedroom, and bathroom, and "while I'm there", I also start a load of laundry... Do you see where this is going? So, as you go about your daily living, take note of one thing that sticks out to you and clean it. If you can wrap your daily "should do" tasks into the "while I'm there" moments, those menial tasks will get done. Here are a few examples:
Waiting for my coffee to heat up in the microwave (kitchen), "while I'm there", I empty the dishwasher and start another load.
Running upstairs to grab a sweater, "while I'm there", I throw a load of laundry into the wash.
The 3yo wants to take a bath with toys. "While I'm there", I clean the kids' bathroom.
Let's return to the closet, the one that got 80% clean. Yes, some things got stashed back in the closet. However, if you really capitalize on that whim-cleaning technique, you hopefully got rid of a garbage bag of stuff. That's one less bag of junk hanging around your closet! If you can make shorter clean sweeps, and make them happen more often, you may see your house shaping up. Use those "whim" moments and use them well! Make your tasks short and with purpose. Downplay that perfectionistic side for the time being. You know yourself: you're going to burn out on the task and it isn't really going to get finished according to your desires. So make it a shorter, easier task; something you CAN accomplish. Let's face it: you probably also have some emotional attachments to things in that closet. Reliving those sentiments as you clean is exhausting. You have to be in the right mood (which is what put you in the closet in that moment in time) to tackle those things.
Congratulate yourself if you even accomplished 5% of the closet! That's 5% empty space and 5% less mess than you had before.