Here it is, are you ready? Empty the dishwasher.
Yes. Empty the dishwasher. It is my number one time management tip. Unless you are a rare soul who has daily paid help, you, or someone in your house needs to empty the dishwasher. I’m here to tell you that the empty dishwasher is the key to getting your day off to a good start. At a minimum, an empty dishwasher can impact the next 12 hours of your day.
Think about it. You start your day in the kitchen getting something to eat. If the dishwasher is empty, you can quickly put your dirty bowl, spoon, etc., immediately in the dishwasher. And so can everyone else.
If the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, that smooth process comes to a grinding halt. In the rush of getting the day going, no one wants to take time to empty the dishwasher. So you leave the dirty dishes on the counter, on the table, or in the sink. Everybody else in the house does the same so the piles grow. All day long, you know in your heart that that mess is waiting for you when you get home.
One of the assignments given in the Teaching Seeing My Time course is to time a task you don’t want to do. Just this morning a client reported her surprise that with the dishwasher empty, it only took 20 minutes to clean up the kitchen— a shorter time than she had expected. This observation brought up the critical step of having an empty dishwasher.
In my home, my husband and I came to the agreement many years ago (after a marriage counseling session) that we would empty the dishwasher together before we went to bed. Working together at this task takes about 3 minutes total. And since it is a shared task, it has a feeling of teamwork instead of drudgery.
After mentioning this to my client, she replied that to empty the dishwasher is her teenage son’s task, one he has to be nagged to do. She decided that they’d switch to doing it together. They’ll have a time of teamwork and her whole next day will go better.
Make a date with yourself or another family member to empty the dishwasher before you go to bed. It will help everyone’s time management.
Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.