What My Dishwasher Taught Me

Today the kids are back in school so that means I resume emptying dishwasher duty.  I can handle that…now.

It wasn’t too long ago that I used to have a mental block when it came to emptying my dishwasher. I hated it and I would avoid it at all costs.  I would usually wait until my husband got home and then I would have him do it.  Then with more and more kids the dishwasher needed to be emptied more and more, and I realized I couldn’t avoid the dishwasher forever. I needed to face my fears.

So I got my timer out and timed myself.  It took me less than 5 minutes to empty the dishwasher. After that, whenever I was avoiding the dishwasher I would say to myself,  “It only takes 5 minutes- you can do it.”   Knowing the end time made me able to face the task ahead.

I applied this same principle with my son yesterday. I told him he had to clean his room before he could play with friends. He started crying about how it would take too long and his room was too messy. I told him it would take less than a minute. I shouted, “Ready, set, go!” and I started counting.  He started cleaning up immediately. Long story short, we got the room cleaned in less than a minute. He smiled at me, was proud that he beat the clock, and ran off to his friend’s house.

I also use the timer with the kids when we clean the house.  “15 minute clean-up!” is so much more do-able than “It’s time to clean the whole house!”   And when we are all working together against the clock it really does only take 15 minutes to clean the entire house.

Try the timing method with any task that overwhelms you or your children like making the bed, cleaning a room or emptying garbages. You’ll most likely find that the job doesn’t take as long as you think and you can get a lot done in a little time.

Or set a time limit to what seems like a limitless task like practicing the piano, reading, brushing teeth or weeding the garden.  Everyone can face a chore if they know when it will end.

Now I’m off … to empty the dishwasher.

4 thoughts on “What My Dishwasher Taught Me”

  1. I LOVE using the timer. I picked up that tip from Fly Lady and it is AMAZING what I can do in a room within 15 minutes. It is SUCH a motivation to hear that ticking!…The other day my husband remarked that {with all the ticking} he felt like our house was the set for 60 minutes. 🙂

  2. I once timed myself folding a batch of laundry and I think about that now when I dread folding. I think to myself… it will only take me about 4-7 minutes depending on what is in the basket. Makes it so seem so much easier.

  3. I’m going out to buy a timer right now! This was a great post that will definitely help me and my family–I’m a dishwasher procrastinator as well (thus, my boys get this job a lot)!

  4. I’ve used the timer before and it works! The boys would cry and throw a fit when I told them it was time to clean up the basement. So one time I set the timer for 20 minutes and they went and did it no problem and actually had fun beating the timer.

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