'How I manage to tackle my overwhelming to-do list in 10 minutes'

Sometimes all the little jobs build up and become overwhelming.

Applying the ten minute rule.

I lead a fairly busy life for an ancient lady. I have a lot to do for the local University of the Third Age, and also I paint, write, cook, and do all the other mundane things. So dust gathers, corners get messy, and ironing accumulates.

Yet, recently I decided some jobs are quite easy to polish off in ten minutes or not much more.

So now I have the “10 minute rule”.

When I start to stress about how much I have to do, it is the perfect ploy to make me feel better. I just do a few 10-minute jobs, and ticking them off the list is a bonus. I sort the laundry folding as much as I can – at least, it looks less – and I can hang up any items to help creases fall out. Normally I do this as I gather it from the line, but some days, well, it just does not happen.  

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The lounge begs for some attention, so I gather some polish and a few cloths in a basket, get the long-handled duster out and remove the worst accumulated dust. It makes me feel better immediately! Then I put some flowers in there, and voila, instant improvement! Taking a bag round as I go, I pick up things that have ‘strayed’, like my husband’s jacket, my earrings, and replace them in their proper home.

I mop the toilet floor, and tidy the little shelf in there, spray with lavender spray, and the smallest room is pleasant again. I may not get all the items on my list ticked but suddenly there is an improvement and I can have a coffee and decide what really must be done next.

It can feel like you’re swamped if the jobs seem endless, so my 10-minute rule helps me anyway. I used to pretend a very fussy visitor was coming ‘soon’ when my children were small and chaos reigned, and that got me moving!

Do you have any ‘tricks’ for getting jobs done when it’s all a bit overwhelming?