Just about everyone feels they don’t have enough time in the day to do the things they want. You can learn about being more efficient with your time in the most unexpected ways, such as these 6 key elements of productivity I learned from a professional house cleaner.
But of course, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. Some of us are just more efficient at using our time than others. I’ve always considered myself to be reasonably efficient, but I found out recently that I had a lot to learn! Read on for the productivity tips I have learned when I hired a professional house cleaner.
I have always been one to take care of my own home. In fact, I have never had anyone clean my house but me for my entire adult life – except for assistance I’ve gotten from my husband (rarely) and kids (back when they lived at home). But after three decades, it gets a little monotonous, and I had so many things I preferred doing, that somehow, I started letting the housework slide more and more.
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I don’t have a large house, and we aren’t messy people.
I am fully capable of keeping the house clean. I’ve just reached a point in my life that I don’t want to do it myself anymore!
The less inclined I was to clean, the longer it seemed to take to get done. Worse, I found myself losing confidence that I was even capable of taking care of the house anymore. And what did that say about me?
Can you relate?
6 Key Elements of Productivity from A Professional House Cleaner
Around the start of this year, I brought in a professional house cleaner. Her name is Rosa, and I can’t believe I waited so many years to hire her!
As it turns out, she can clean my entire house, top to bottom, in four hours every two weeks.
Yes, it’s true: my house is sparkling clean in just four hours!!! Not only am I so much happier and less stressed to pass this work on to someone else, but I am amazed at her efficiency!
What was this voodoo that enabled her to be so productive?
It became my goal to learn her secrets.
So for her last few visits, I’ve kept a casual eye out to see just what Rosa does that makes her so incredibly efficient.
Productivity Lessons That Apply to Any Project
1. Everything You Need Must Be Easily Accessible
I designated a section of a closet “Rosa Supplies”. Everything she uses to clean the house, from sponges to mops to wood polish, is gathered in this spot. She knows what she has, and lets me know what to replenish before her next visit.
Rosa uses a canvas bag and a bucket to load her supplies from the closet to carry around the house. This saves her from constantly going back to the closet for different items. Because she has a clear plan and knows the supplies she wants, everything she needs stays close by as she moves from room to room.
2. Determine a Sequence for What Needs to Be Done, and Stick To It
Every single time Rosa cleans the house, she starts in the kitchen, then works her way through the downstairs rooms working from ceiling to floor.
She then moves her supplies upstairs before vacuuming and mopping the floor downstairs. (I stay out of the way as best I can – either on my computer or out on the patio. )
Upstairs, Rosa again sequences her activities to clean from ceiling to floor. After cleaning is complete, she tosses all the dirty rags in the washing machine and takes out the trash.
She doesn’t ever have to stop and contemplate her next activity; she simply flows from one to the next to the next, because it’s the same sequence every time.
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”Bruce Lee
3. Complete the Toughest Task First
As I mentioned, Rosa always starts in the kitchen.
I’m not a slob by any means, but I do cook every meal at home. Even though I clean up after myself, the kitchen still needs some love and attention. Those stove grates, right? The kitchen is always the first space to be cleaned, and where Rosa spends the most time.
The toughest (messiest, most challenging, least desirable) task is knocked out first on the list.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”Dale Carnegie
4. Don’t Stop Until Each Job is Completed
Rosa knows what the priorities are in cleaning the house and she gets right on them. Time is not a concern. There have been occasions that it takes her a bit longer – more often, she finishes a little early.
She has a vision in her mind of what she will accomplish, and her goal is always to fulfill that vision. Time is not a concern for her, because she is keenly aware of what she has to do and what must be done to finish the job.
5. Focus on the Work and Eliminate Distractions
Rosa and I are both friendly people, and we do enjoy sharing what’s going on in our lives. So we make time for chatting and catching up. We talk when she first comes in the door, and again when she’s getting ready to leave. In between, I do my best to stay out of her way. She is a dynamo, and is not interested in distractions while working.
I’ve noticed that she doesn’t even answer her phone unless it’s one of her kids calling. Even then, her conversations are short and to the point. Every distraction takes her mind away from the job she is doing.
6. Give a Little Something Extra
While Rosa is an excellent house cleaner, it’s not her favorite way to spend time (no surprise there!).
She happens to be a talented decorator and organizer, and when her cleaning is done, she loves to give a little something extra to her job. Namely, she will declutter a drawer or closet, rearrange photographs on a table, or even suggest ways to rearrange furniture!
Once, she came across my collection of essential oils. After I explained their uses, she began to use them in her cleaning products. Now, she experiments with different combinations and creates her own room sprays andcleaners!
I love the fact that she gives this extra effort to make the house a more pleasant place to be. It demonstrates that she really cares about the work that she does, and gives it her best effort every single time.
Read More About Productivity:
- How Daily Routines Can Influence Your Future
- 4 Morning Habits That Will Make Every Day Better
- How to Master Small Talk When You are Among Strangers
Final Thoughts on 6 Key Elements of Productivity
Although this post focuses on housework, the tips and ideas here can be used to increase productivity in any area.
For successful project management, then, the following productivity tips from a house cleaner will be extremely helpful:
- Have everything you need easily accessible
- Determine a Sequence for the Activities That Need to be Done, and Stick To It
- Complete the Toughest Task First
- Finish the Job
- Focus on the Work and Eliminate Distractions
- Give Something Extra
I admire Rosa’s focus and dedication to her work, and I have learned much about productivity from her. She may not have a fancy job with a big corner office, but she takes pride in her work and performs at her best ever time.
I’m grateful to have learned from her example.