Why You Should Set a Timer When You Are Doing Housework

People who are calmly and happily doing housework when needed can stop reading. Everyone else: ugh, I know, right?

Housework sucks, but dwelling on that fact can make them seem more intimidating than they really are. And the hard chores around the house are never done – it’s too hard to muster the energy to do it! But apartment therapy has a great trick to get around this mental block: set a timer.

The next time you’re about to get your most hated job done, set a timer first. You do not drive for time – this is purely an observation. Once you see how little time it takes, you realize that your worst chores isn’t actually torture.

(This is like remembering that some things take almost zero time. For me, the biggest discovery in this area was that I hung my coat and scarf when I entered the apartment – I threw them on a chair when I was was lazy, but I realized that it almost saves me no time. What is the use of indulgence if you really don’t get anything from it!)

Yes, some tasks cannot be completed in five or ten minutes. But here too, setting a timer can help. This wisdom comes from the book “Unfuck Your Habitat” , which took over to Tumblr and contains some very cool cleaning tips. Author Rachel Hoffman opposes overeating, which is so exhausting that it can distract you from cleaning the next time. Instead, Hoffman advises cleaning in 20 minute chunks separated by 10 minute breaks. (It’s like a leisurely Tomato .) Frequent breaks make sure you don’t get burnt, and while you can’t clean an entire house in 20 minutes, you’ll see how much progress can be made in that time.

When you see what can be done in a 20-minute time frame, cleaning is no longer an all-or-nothing affair. You can use the time you have to clean up what you can clean up and your home will be cleaner than it was before you started.

You can also use a variation of this to help yourself overcome your reluctance to get to work: I will set a timer for ten minutes and tell myself that I only need to clean – usually it cleans the laundry – for that time. Housework sucks, but I can do it in ten minutes! Most of the time, I finish a terrible job before the timer goes off.


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