As a SAHM of almost 8 years and now a WAHM, I need to be able to be super productive in my evening hours in order to get to bed at a somewhat normal time.
When my last kid is finally in bed, all I want to do is collapse and have a cup of coffee in blissful quiet. As I walk out of my boys’ room into the kitchen, however, I’ll notice the assorted detritus of the day.
Books by the reading corner, toy cars, tractors, and trucks strewn around the living room. And don’t get me started on the kitchen. If I’m lucky, I managed to get the dishes into the sink and the table wiped, but there are still dishes to wash and the floor to be swept and possibly mopped, depending on how messy dinner was. (Although I find rice is easier to sweep up after it’s dried, so I left the floor for later COMPLETELY on purpose. Right?)
Not to mention lunches for the next day that need to be made. And sometimes I need to prepare a plate for my husband who comes home late more often than not.
My first instinct, however, is to ignore the mess and just SIT, for the first time in hours.
I’ll just rest for 15 minutes, I think to myself, and then I’ll tackle the chores that need to be done, and maybe get in a couple hours of work.
And here I come to the #1 productivity rule I created when it comes to the evenings.
I call it “The Mom Law of Momentum”.
Your first instinct is to sit. Don’t do it.
DON’T SIT DOWN.
I have found, from experience, that getting up again after sitting down is probably 50 times harder than staying in motion.
In fact, this is rooted in physics.
Newton’s Laws of Motion, to be precise. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless the object is acted upon by an outside force. Being the object in question, I can absolutely confirm this.
When I sit down, suddenly my lazy side takes over. I’m already sitting, I rationalize, so why not check Facebook while I have my coffee? Or Pinterest. Or my inbox. In other words, the main productivity enemies.
And before I know it, an hour has passed and it’s 9 pm, my husband is home, I have to get his food together, and I end up dragging myself around the kitchen. The worst case scenario here (and it has happened more than once), is that I end up making my kids lunches at midnight. Seriously. It leads to that.
If I leave the kitchen, it is SO much harder to walk back into it.
The worst case scenario here (and it has happened more than once), is that I end up making my kids lunches at midnight. Seriously. It leads to that. If I leave the kitchen, it is SO much harder to walk back into it.
And, unfortunately, there is no outside force helping me out here. The only outside force awake at that time is my husband, and after a long, hard day of work, he is even less inclined than me to get off the couch.
Here is what happens in the alternate scenario:
I walk out of my boys’ room after finally putting my firstborn to bed. Then I go into the kitchen to eat some supper, and while it’s warming up, I quickly load the dishes in the dishwasher or wash them and leave them on the draining board. After I eat my meal, I prepare my husband’s plate and wipe down the table. Then I make my kids’ lunches and wipe down the counters and sweep the floor.
That sounds like a lot. It’s actually not. Especially because I’m cleaning as I go.
A quick pick-up in the living/dining room, which usually isn’t so messy because we did a family clean-up before dinner, and voila. I’m pretty much finished with my housework for the night.
By 9, my husband is home, we sit together for half an hour while he eats, and by 9:30 he’s relaxing and I can get to my work.
Seriously? Are you telling me you never sit down before getting your work done?
Of course not! I’m just saying that when I DO sit down first, I always regret it.
The only exception I make to the no-sitting-down rule is sorting laundry. I do this on Saturday night and Tuesday night, but it involves sitting anyway and only takes a couple of minutes so I tend to do it towards the end of the evening, after which I can shower and throw my clothes in the appropriate laundry basket.
In any case, this works without exception. I work much better in momentum.
I’ve also found this applies to other areas of life.
When you’re tidying up the living room and you see the floor is covered with crumbs and assorted child-related paraphernalia, you’re much more likely to grab a broom and sweep right then. If you tidy up the living room and then plop down on the couch and only THEN notice the floor is dirty, you might rationalize all kinds of reasons to yourself as to why you don’t need to clean it up right that second.
Have you found this to be true for yourself? Do you find it easy to get up once you’ve sat down at the end of the day? If you do, please share your secrets in the comments below! If not, please share your experience and how/if you’ve managed to work around it!