The 30-minute cleaning timebox

cleaning 30 (3)In my family, and I’m sure yours too, there are always the dreaded household chores.And now that it’s May in Minnesota, and we have about two good months of weather, I don’t want to spend my weekends cleaning the house.

I figured there must be a more efficient way to get the work done, so I turned on my agile brain. After all, agile has really great ideas for simplifying work.

I decided to try the time boxing concept. This way the task doesn’t feel overwhelming. When I tell my children to clean their entire room on a Saturday, it usually doesn’t get done. And the reason for that – the job is overwhelming! It’s a huge freakin’ mess!

“When we think about short duration’s of time, we are naturally more productive. So I decided to give this a try at home. Just 30 minutes a day. Even if we don’t finish the job.”

When we think about short duration’s of time, we are naturally more productive. So I decided to give this a try at home. Just 30 minutes a day. Even if we don’t finish the job.

My daughter who is 6, is loving this idea. Mostly because she enjoys setting the timer and seeing how much time is left. If I forget about the 30 minutes of cleaning, she is the first to remind me.images

My 9 year-old son likes to get a head start, but I encourage him to wait for his brother and sister. I want this to be a team exercise. Everyone on the team works for 30 minutes. This way, we avoid the, “It’s not my mess!” phenomenon.

I can’t say this is the end all, be all solution. However, I have found that with all three kids working together for a short duration of time, but in a consistent manner, they get a lot more accomplished.

So, whether you are at home or at work, remember that people have short attention spans, and that regular, predictable patterns (like Scrum ceremonies) start to encourage repetitive behavior.

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