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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Household Hints & HELP!

Time Management
submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator

This article appeared in the September 1, 2002 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Summer is coming to an end and with school starting families are working to get back on track with schedules and getting work done. Time management for getting jobs done is important.

While some home/yard/car work is enjoyable, a lot is mundane and routine. So a key to getting home work done is to have a system. Whether that system involves a detailed list or is as simple as lists of jobs to be done, plan ahead and know how household work will be assigned to household members.

There are basically four ways household work is done:

1. Do it yourself. While it may make logical sense for the person who has the resources (time, skill, talent, knowledge) to do it, common sense says that if one person tries to do it all, overload will result.

2. Give the job away to other household members. Keys to the successful giving away of a job include:

a. Teach the person how to do the job, including shortcuts.
b. Have the best tools, supplies and equipment for doing the job.
c. Consider what household work a person already does.
d. Realize others may not meet your standards, but if you have truly given up the job, accept your standards no longer apply.
e. Praise people; let them know their work is appreciated.

3. Hire someone to do the job. Pay a household member or someone outside the household to wash windows or clean the garage.

4. Don't do it. Apply the motto "Less is Best," so you have fewer possessions to manage.

Now let's look a specific household work categories and time management tips to get work done.

FOOD TIPS. Develop and use a rotating menu system which can include complete meals or just main dishes. Photocopy a master shopping list so you just have to check off needed items. Do only one large shopping trip each month for basics and staples. Get everyone in the habit of rinsing dishes immediately after use.

CLOTHING/LAUNDRY. All family members above the age of three put away their own laundry. Put away coats, boots, etc. as soon as possible when entering the house.

HOME/YARD/CAR CARE. Set a certain day as house cleaning time for everyone. All family members over the age of three are responsible for their own bedrooms.

Wipe the bathroom sink after each use. Clean the tub or shower before you get out of it. Change filters on the heating/cooling system frequently to cut down on the amount of house dust. Keep multiple sets of cleaning supplies and equipment especially if the house has more than one level. Keep lawn care equipment in top-notch working order. Schedule the next routine car service appointment each time you pick up the car left for servicing.

SHOPPING/MANAGEMENT. Run several errands at the same time. Have a morning "launching pad" as a place to collect backpacks, briefcases, papers, money, etc. the night before. Do as much routine shopping (bedding, underwear, footwear, etc.) as possible by telephone or mail. Organize important papers and records in a filing system.

HOUSEHOLD MEMBER CARE. When supervising baths or homework, dove-tail with other activities such as cleaning cabinets, checking supplies, mending, list making, ironing, washing dishes, or doing personal grooming. Use a master calendar to schedule chauffeuring of family members.

Take a few minutes as a family, whether there are two or more, to discuss work needs to be done around the home. Sharing the tasks takes less time and you will have time to enjoy more leisure time.

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