Time Hack: Start a maintenance day

by | May 15, 2013 | Time

Takeaway: Group all of your “maintenance tasks” together on one day to be (and feel) more productive.

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 34s. But it’s easily skimmable.

I have a Sunday ritual called “maintenance day”. On maintenance day, I lump all of the boring tasks that most people do throughout the week into one solid block of time on one day. Every Sunday, for straight five or six hours, I do every undesirable task that people typically do during the week. I do the laundry, clean, go grocery shopping, create a meal and workout plan for the week, cut my nails, water my plants, and everything else maintainence-y under the sun.

Grouping these tasks together has had its benefits. Over the past few years, here’s what I’ve found:

1. When you lump all of your maintenance tasks together, you are left with time to think about and do things that are much more important for the rest of the week. All week you can focus on becoming better instead of keeping up.|

2. You feel much more productive when completing mundane house chores at once rather than scattered throughout the week. Once you get the ball rolling by knocking down a few of your maintenance tasks, you feel much more motivated to tackle the rest of them.

1193876_175513323. It is almost impossible to procrastinate completing your maintenance tasks. If Friday is your laundry day, it’s easy to put it off until Saturday, then Sunday, until your floor is covered with clothes. If you manage your expectations at the beginning of the week that you will do the laundry (as well as a bunch of other things) on your maintenance day, it is much more likely that you will do your laundry on your maintenance day.

4. You will accomplish your maintenance day tasks without relying on reminders in your external environment. You feel less stressed when you routinize watering the plant in your living room instead of seeing it dry up.

5. It’s a great feeling to accomplish 10 or 15 things at once. Getting something done is such a good feeling, but getting 10 or 15 things done one after the other is so much better.

6. Your life, home and mind seem much more orderly after you accomplish many things in a short span of time.

7. Not only does having a maintenance day help eliminate physical clutter, it eliminates mental clutter too. Especially if you schedule your maintenance day at the beginning of each week, you will start each new week with your house and mind in order.

8. When you spend a bunch of time tackling your maintenance tasks all at once, you are able to multitask at the same time. On my maintenance day, I usually listen to a few podcasts or an audiobook while I’m doing my mundane maintenance tasks, which makes me feel a lot more productive.

For me the concept of a maintenance day is something that’s evolved over a few years. I started out by lumping a few tasks together, and with some time figured out other tasks I could comfortably move into the pile. Now I hardly do anything during the week maintenance-y. It’s a great recipe to focus better during the week. Give it a shot!

Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of three books: How to Calm Your Mind, Hyperfocus, and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in more than 40 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

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