Being 7 months pregnant, working full-time, with a 5-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a husband overseas, energy is at a premium. I just don't have the energy to do long bursts of cleaning. What has worked for me is setting a kitchen timer. My usual is work for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes. The timer on the stove or microwave is even better, because I have to get up to turn it off. I can't just ignore it and take a longer rest period.
I also use waiting time during fixing dinner (waiting for water to boil, waiting for oven to heat) to tidy around the kitchen.
In addition, I get the kids in on the act by setting a nightly pick-up timer (I use 5 minutes for them) and having them pick up their stuff. Putting clothes in the hamper is excluded from 5-Minute Pick-Up Time, as are putting away dishes and putting away clothes. Those are separate chores that must be done as well. Sometimes I'll skip the timer and just have them pick up while I make their lunches for the next day.
Another thing I do to save my sanity is doing all the thorough cleaning at the first of the month. That helps me remember to do it. This includes cleaning the coffee pot, microwave, dishwasher and fridge, mopping the kitchen floor, washing the blankets and shower curtain, and cleaning the toilet.
By Camilla North from Atchison, KS
Camilla, you should check out the FlyLady! www.flylady.net She does the timer thing too but there's more to her system that is just wonderful! :)
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To motivate me when I am cleaning, I set the kitchen timer for 20 or 30 minutes and then I try to get as much done as I can before the bell rings.