Over twenty-five years ago, with four children eight and under, we learned the value of a timer. We began using them to teach our children time management. We would have them do various tasks and set the timer so that they could see how long things take when they really applied themselves.
For example, in setting up their morning routine charts, we would have them run and do each task that was going to be on their chart as we timed them, then when we made the charts, we would put the time that it should take (based on our timing session) in parentheses following each line item on the chart. (This also helped us to know what was reasonable to expect in a certain time period.)
We did the same things with chore sessions. We had chore sessions before each meal, and we wanted for each person’s chores to take roughly the same amount of time since we all worked at the same time on chore sessions. (If you are not utilizing a timer WITH a task list for greatest efficiency and effectiveness, check out my Timer Plus Task List post!)
We would also use the timer to show them how fast Mom and Dad could get something done. I can remember one evening when the children were all dreading cleaning the kitchen after a meal. We had asked them what they wanted to do that evening after cleanup and family worship, and one of them said, “We won’t have time to do anything else. The kitchen cleanup will take forever tonight.”
The challenge was on! We told the children that even Mom and Dad, by ourselves, could cleanup the evening meal within ten minutes. They were sure that could be done, we rolled their chairs into a line, set the timer, and began the show.
They watched in amazement as the two of us left overs away, clear the table, rinsed dishes, loaded the dishwasher, wiped everything down, and swept the floor in under ten minutes. If I had been persuaded of the value of the timer before that night, our kitchen production sealed it for me.
Of course, we used timers for many daily activities in other areas too. They had math drill that had to be timed. They had various activities that were also based on time, such as entertaining younger siblings, silent reading, and more.
Fast forward several years later from those early parenting days and you will find one of the greatest uses for the timer in our home: the blitz.
By our definition, a blitz is a set period of time in which everybody runs around like maniacs and get a lot done. We have done them long enough to realize that when we all work our very hardest for a short burst of time we can get a lot done.
Usually in our blitzes we did not focus on cleaning but rather on decluttering, putting things away, and organizing. (When our kids were younger, it felt like we never got to the cleaning anyway with all of the picking up that always needed done!)
If you stop and think about what you are really doing when you have a blitz, it is kind of amazing. Even as recently as four years ago, with two teenagers and two adults at home, a ten minute blitz means forty minutes of intense housework. Most of us nowadays seldom have forty minutes to just go through the house pick up, organize, put away, and declutter. And yet, when the four of us had a ten minute blitz, that is exactly what we are doing. It is truly amazing what we can get done now in a ten minute blitz for adults.
I want to elaborate on the “blitz” in two areas today: in a family/housework setting and in a business setting. You see, now as an online entrepreneur, I use the skills I developed in homeschooling for thirty-two years every. single. day. Seriously….I figure that I should become a brilliant, productive businesswoman. I mean, after all, I used to have to get eight of us to do what needed done every day in order to be successful in our school and home. Now I only have to get myself on task! How hard can that be? 😉
So if you are reading this for family or homeschool organization, check out the first box below. If you would like to use the blitz concept in your business or work from home situation, scroll down to the second box. Blitzes work in so many settings because they give us a timed focus with a definite start and stop time.
FAMILY BLITZ TIPS!
To use blitzes with your family, you might start out with a five minute blitz. Make a game of it. Tell the children that you’re going to set the timer for five minutes and see how much of the toy room you can get picked up together.
If you need to use rewards in the beginning, you could do so. I wouldn’t let rewards continue on, however, because picking up the house is something we should all be about all the time without any rewards or payment. But if you want to use rewards, be sure you only use a reward for intense, speedy work. In other words, do not reward them just for having gone through the motions of a blitz.
Here are some other blitzes that we have had through the years that your family might find helpful:
1. Five-minute before company blitzes
2. Fifteen minute kitchen blitzes (it is amazing how much you can get done in the kitchen with several people for fifteen minutes!)
3. Veggie cleaning blitzes… Sometimes it is easier to get kitchen help if they know that it will end at a certain time…
4. Dusting and sweeping blitzes – each person takes dusting rag, a vacuum, or broom go to different portions of the house and do those tasks
5. Five-minute “before chore” blitzes – this might seem a little bit unnecessary, but we often had quick blitzes before our chore sessions just to be sure that everything was picked up and put away so that each person could do their chores properly (i.e. the laundry person had all the laundry in the hamper; the sweeper didn’t have toys on the floor to work around, etc.)
6. Serving blitzes – a time in which everybody goes into somebody’s room or into a person’s job room for the day and cleans up for that person
7. Refrigerator blitzes – ten minutes with five people in a refrigerator can yield amazing results! One person throws away food and scrapes out leftover food, another washes the dishes, another wipes out the refrigerator, and another organizes the door!
8. Sunday night blitzes – we always liked to have blitzes before everybody went to bed on Sunday night to be sure that everything was ready for the next morning… This could be a cleaning blitz, an organizing blitz, a packing for the next day blitz, a laundry blitz, or whatever needed done.
9. Unpacking blitzes – we always set a timer when we first got home from a trip and set a goal to get unpacked in the laundry going in a certain amount of time. We always met our goal, and we were watching a movie or playing a game before we knew it.
10. Cooking blitzes – when I felt like I was getting behind in freezer cooking, we would often call a cooking blitz. For example, at the dinner table, we would announce that two people were cleaning the kitchen and the rest of us were going to be putting casseroles in the freezer. One person with start Friday ground be, and other chopping vegetables, we knew it would have four casseroles ready to go in the freezer and the kitchen with the clean for that evening’s meal.
I’m sure after reading through this list, you can see the many benefits of blitzes. They teach children how to work fast. They demonstrate good time management skills as the children realize how quickly things can be done. They teach family unity as we work together for a common goal. They help us get ahead when we are feeling behind. They give us a chance to teach children multiple skills in different areas of the household. They are pain-free ways to get things done – the blitz is over before you know it. And they give us more opportunities to be together both while we are working and with the time we saved by blitzing.
(If you love efficiency as much as I do in your home, check out my “How to Become an Efficiency Expert in Your Home” podcast episode!)
Work From Home Blitz Tips
Many work from home coaches call “blitzes” “Power Hours” or other cool names. (I love cool names!) Here are some thoughts about using blitzes in your home business efforts.
1. I love to use my Timer Plus Task list ideas from the body of this post above. These can be utilized amazingly well with blitzes. Make a short list of the things you want to get done during the timer blitz (do NOT make it too long!). Start your timer and work down through the short list.
2. Power Hours are the ultimate blitzes! If you can discipline yourself as an entrepreneur to sit down, set a timer (check out my Character Ink Press blog for how to use sit/set.…if you write or speak, you really need to know this! ), and not do anything else that is not either on your list or in your checklist (depending on your business) until the timer goes off, you will become successful in whatever you do. Seriously! With technology, social media, and so many things vying for our attention, the skill of working without stopping (or getting sidetracked on other work that is not that session’s work) is truly an astonishing skill to master. Blitz it! Power hour it! Become successful as you do!
3. I have found blitzes to be super helpful when I just don’t want to do what I need to do! (Yes, even efficiency expert wanna-be’s have times that they don’t want to do what they need to do!) I can usually talk myself into a certain time period (and if the task takes longer than that, I usually want to finish it by that time anyway). So tell yourself that you will “blitz” that task for five minutes or ten minutes or whatever. And do it! (Okay, for those times that you really can’t even muster up a blitz for certain tasks, don’t do nothing! Check out my “Just Do Something” post ).
4. I actually use blitzes for non-business things still today. Here is why: I would always rather help my Plexus customers or Ambassadors, edit student papers, write books, make videos, record podcasts, create blog posts—any of my business tasks—rather than mundane jobs like sweeping the deck or unloading the dishwasher. I actually use blitzes in reverse: “If I stop my work for fifteen minutes and do a cleaning blitz, I can come back to it with many things around the house accomplished.”
5. Start out slow with blitzes and/or Power Hours. It does take time and patience to be able to work without stopping. It is worth the effort, but you can become defeated before you really master it if you start out with a full hour blitz/power hour rather than shorter snatches at first. Start out with ten to fifteen minutes, then increase the time as you are successful.
Tell Me About It: How do you get things accomplished in your home or business? Have you tried blitzes? Did they work for you? Why or why not?
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