Completing personal chores and responsibilities more efficiently

Unfortunately, not all of our tasks excite us, so spending energy on them feels wasteful.  If an activity’s not challenging or offers no reward, motivation is difficult. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could complete your tasks more efficiently, so you’d have energy to spare? Well, I can help you with that.

1. Get your domestic duties done. Develop an evening routine, and make sure everyone in the family takes part. This will help you retain your sanity, happiness, and energy level, and teach other family members to respect others’ boundaries.

2. Enlist help with meals. Cooking dinner every night can be a real grind. Cook more than your family will eat so that you can browse on leftovers some evenings, and teach your children how to cook — they need to learn anyway.

3. Divvy up chores. Every single member of the family should contribute to household chores, as age allows. Try not to make chores gender-specific. Girls should know how to mow the lawn, and boys should know how to cook. These are basic life skills that they’ll need as adults.

4. Communicate clearly. Clear communication is vital, because it’s a time- and energy-saver. Don’t assume that you know what someone means when they’re assigning you a task. Ask questions, clarify, and challenge unrealistic deadlines.

5. Focus on what’s important. Don’t be a perfectionist, and don’t perform menial
tasks that someone else can do more cheaply. Do first what’s due first, try to resolve small items quickly, and don’t spend too much time on low-priority items.

6. Transform your outlook about necessary tasks.  If you dread something, you’re likely to put it off — which can be disastrous if that task is absolutely necessary. Do what you can to make it easier, but if you can’t change the situation, then change your mind. 

7. Don’t procrastinate. Force yourself to complete your work quickly, even if you hate it or are afraid you’ll have nothing to do later on. The reward is the freedom from the stress that not doing the work was causing you.

8. Work before play. Instead of doing the fun, easy, or trivial tasks first, do the hard ones. After you’re done, you can read a book, take a long hot bath, watch the sunset, or whatever it is you love to do. Having a reward waiting can help you get it done faster, because you have something to look forward to. 

Spending energy completing low-value tasks feels like a waste of time, but it’s as necessary to mop the kitchen floor as it is to buy groceries or enjoy quality time with the family. Learn how to do your chores quickly and efficiently, and you can better enjoy the rest of your life. 

(C) 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations.  Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces.  She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004).  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M.  To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401.  Visit to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.