A Hotspot A Day Keeps the Chaos Away (or at least to a minimum)

home 015My 30-Day Challenge

A few weeks ago, I was trying to figure out a way to “train” myself to pick up after myself.  I’m a little challenged in that regard.  I’m often so busy thinking about the next thing I need to do, that I set things down without realizing it, and leave a trail throughout my home.  If left unchecked, this little “habit” of mine can leave my house in disaster by night’s end.  The Baby-step approach has worked really well for me in the past, so I decided to give myself a 30-day challenge to start clearing my Hotspots.  A Hotspot is any flat space in your home that attracts objects to be set there temporarily (or more like forever)!  These Hotspots often multiply and can soon lead to a full-out Home Blaze of sorts.  So, I decided that my 1st plan of attack would be to take 30 days to work on one Hotspot area a day.  My focus was not to do 30 consecutive days, (although I try for that) but 30 days total.  Each day, I find a hotspot I want to tackle and try to clear it by days end.  For fun, I take a “before” and “after” photo.

home 004The Blessing of Baby-stepping

I’m now 15 days into my challenge, and the blessings have been huge!  All of a sudden the clutter and chaos are disappearing from my home!  One of the things that continually surprises me whenever I approach a habit in Baby-steps is that your success actually compounds as you move through the process — At around day 5 my whole house is practically clean, even though I’ve only worked on 5 separate small (most under 15 minute) tasks so far.  How does this happen??

home 0052 things happen when you Baby-step:

(1) Once you get a spot clear, you subconsciously work to keep it clear.  I was so happy with my finished “after” photo, that I wanted it to stay that way!  Throughout the next day, I would put stuff away rather than setting things back in that spot.  So at least for a few days, that spot stayed pretty nice.  And when you combine that with the next day’s Hotspot area somewhere else in the house, you have 2 clean areas!  Things start to stay clean!

(2) You start to THINK Clean!  Success breeds success.  I made it easy on myself by only picking one small focused area a day because then I would be able to complete it by day’s end, no matter what was on the schedule.  Since I had a focus, I started keeping things cleaner just because cleaning was in the back of my mind as I progressed through the day.

These 2 factors together = Big, Fast, progress!  It’s also given me a better focus for my afternoons.  I’ve always done pretty well with a simple Morning Routine and Before Bed Routine, but I’ve always struggled a bit in the afternoon since each day was different.  I would jump from task to task and hope I finished the day with some progress.  Now, my Hotspot challenge is narrowing my focus for the afternoon.  I have one main cleaning goal that I can work on alongside dinner prep and kids activities.  If I end the day with just that done, I feel great!  I think I’ll continue this habit beyond the 30 days and make it my new Afternoon Routine!

house 008Find an Accountability Buddy (or a whole group of them)!

Something that really increases your success is to give yourself a support system.  Now, we all have to clean, but many of us find it goofy to talk about it.  But believe it or not, there are whole Facebook groups that celebrate cleaning and organizing, and where ladies daily meet to virtually clean together!  Just look up “cleaning” or “Flylady” on Facebook and you will find a slew of private groups dedicated to cleaning together.  There you can meet friends who are also working to build habits in a closed private setting.  I am a part of several different groups, including my own “Happy Home Habits”, and I find them inspiring and quite helpful.  Each day, I am posting the “before” and “after” photo from my 30-day challenge, so that I have accountability to get that day’s task done.  I’ve also been encouraging the friends in my group to pick a 30 day habit they would like to work on and post on it daily as well.  So many of us are seeing the wonderful compounding results of Baby-stepping into habits.  Some are working on drinking more water, clearing their clutter, or keeping their kitchens clean.  We all start at different times, and we are working on different tasks, but we are making progress together and cheering each other on.  Find a group, or find a friend that you can share your plans and success with.  Accountability is your secret weapon to keep you motivated.

Baby-stepping works so well for me, that I’m going to continue this approach into other habits I’d like to lock in place!  I hope this idea propels you into setting up some new habits of your own.  Try it for 30 days.  You’ll love it!