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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why FlyLady is Right About Getting Up a Half-Hour Earlier Than the Rest of Your Household

When I first read the suggestion that is in the title of this blog, to wake up thirty minutes earlier than those in my household, I thought it was an overrated idea. Ahem, that is, before I actually tried it myself. Like most of my mentors, FlyLady is rarely incorrect on a rule she's taken time to give out. But like most stubborn people, I have to find out on my own that she in fact is correct, not just take her at her word!

This morning, I knew that we had company coming at a certain time in the late morning. I put it on my calendar as soon as I knew about it, and my online calendar also emails me both one day prior ro events & two hours beforehand, as well (the timing of that is at my choice). Normally, I'd get up two hours earlier than any appointment or time to leave in the morning, enough time to drink my coffee, get my breakfast, check my email, get dressed & get groomed for the day. I used to shower, wash & dry my hair in the morning, too. Today, I got up a half-hour earlier, though- I set my alarm to wake me up two-and-a-half-hours before the scheduled meeting time. The first fifteen minutes were spent putting away the cold wraps I use at night (putting them back in the freezer), making my bed & spritzing it with Febreze, using a little Febreze air freshener in my bedroom, letting my coffeemaker warm up, getting my morning protein shake, cup of coffee & taking my morning medicines. I went through my email, balanced my checkbook & checked my to-do list for the day. About ninety minutes before my scheduled meeting (an hour after I got up), I got dressed & groomed for the day. Since I'd already taken my shower last night, it took much less time than if I'd had to shower, wash & dry my hair this morning. I had plenty of time to put on a full face of makeup, wear jewelry & apply a little perfume (things that make me look & feel my best). Things always seem to take a bit more time than I thought they would to get done, though, and today was no exception. But because I had the extra half-hour, and this extra half-hour was spent while my housemate was still sleeping, my morning went peacefully. I then had time left over before my meeting, after grooming myself for the day, to do a quick once-over on my home. FlyLady's right about something else; if you follow your routines even partially, chances are, your home will always be within fifteen minutes of being company-ready.

I'd already swished-and-swiped my two bathrooms last night, so they already looked great today. All I had to do in my computer room was clean out the litter box & spray a bit of room freshener. Since we have windows open this time of year, too, the house stays really clean-smelling with fresh air coming in. I'd already dusted my computer desk & everything on it, which is in the same room, down yesterday. (I use a can compressed air & cleaning cloths to get the dust up in this area twice a week, since the computer attracts dust like a magnet.) I'd polished the wood furniture of the house last weekend with Pledge, and ran the vacuum on all of the flooring two days ago, so my home looked good in that regard. I just used my feather duster to quickly dust down the furniture in the house just as a touch-up today (took all of about two minutes), cleared off a couple of hot spots in the living & dining room, brushed down the spots where my kitty lays down for naps & then simply straightened up the items on my end tables. I finished loading & then ran the dishwasher (it wasn't full enough to run last night) this morning. I'd cleaned the kitchen yesterday evening after dinner- loaded the dishwasher, filled the coffeemaker with water for the next morning, filled up a clean water bottle & put it in the fridge, washed the few dirty pans there were, disinfected the counters & stovetop, shining the sink, changing the kitchen towels & mopped the floor. My cat had been fed & given fresh ice water last night. The trash was taken out yesterday, and all of the groceries I get are put away as soon as they come in the house, so everything was neat in that regard for the kitchen, too. My housemate made her own bed this morning. Laundry is done at a pace of a load of day, sometimes two loads, if needed (thank you again, FlyLady!), so there were no piles of items waiting to be laundered, either. Waking up that extra half-hour early, though, meant that I could still take the extra fifteen or twenty minutes & improve upon my home this morning enough to where I really felt comfortable with anybody seeing it. All without sacrificing my self-care routine, too. And everything went over quietly- no arguments over someone not picking up after themselves, because I was in a mad rush, which frazzles my nerves & sends my blood pressure rising. The Blame Game gets played a lot less when you allow yourself enough time to accomplish something without the possibility of running late- it's good to allow yourself a few more minutes than you think a chore will take to get done, just in case.

I've so often been on the opposite side of the spectrum that I appreciate these small victories greatly. I cannot tell you how many times the maintenance man or someone else has come over when I'm still in my nightgown (granted, that's only happened when it's still morning, but you know how embarrassing that feels anyway!), the house looking like a hurricane went through it, trash not yet taken out for the day, etc. And, of course, at those times I'm not made up, my hair's not fixed yet, no jewelry or anything to improve my looks, so my confidence was down even more. It's not a pleasant feeling. To me, there's nothing worse than someone coming by unexpectedly & seeing a pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen, hard floors begging to be washed, carpeting that look like a catfight took place on it, unscrubbed toilets & unmade beds. I believe that my desire to avoid that icky feeling ever again is probably what drove me to organizing, simplifying & becoming a minimalist. We typically become experts only at something we've had to work hard at to learn. Even if we're naturally gifted in an area, we still have to hone our skills, and learn how to interpret what we know so that we can hopefully teach others the same ability to perform the task. I wasn't born knowing anything that you read from me about this subject. I had to learn it all, and usually, I learned it from my own past failures- which led me to desire success instead in the future. Not wanting to experience something negative again is perhaps even more an impetus for change, maybe more than just wanting to maintain an already-clean home or a life that's running pretty smoothly to begin with. People who are born organized (they automatically know to wash the dishes after every meal, make their beds as soon as they wake up every morning, clean the house faithfully & top-to-bottom once a week on the same day, etc.) aren't always the ones who become professional organizers in life. I'm now the exact opposite of who I used to be in the organizing or simplicity arena. If you talked to people who knew me in middle or high school, they would not be able to say that I was organized, reliable or a minimalist in any sense of the word.

It takes some preparation & careful thought to live the organized way. FlyLady's program is the best way that I know of to prep your life for such an easygoing lifestyle. Speed Cleaning once a week is a fast, thorough, terrific way to get your home looking fabulous all the time as well, assuming that you pick up after yourself & do daily equalizing in your rooms. You have to give thought ahead of time to the lifestyle that you want to lead and how you want your home to appear. One has to see in their mind what needs to get accomplished the next day, prep as much for it as possible, and those things vary from household to household. If you want to get up early every day to get your life going in the right direction but keep waking up late, there's a disconnect between your goals & your actual feelings or thoughts. You're probably not envisioning regularly what it will be like to wake up early, hear the birds singing, watch the sunrises, enjoy the quiet before everyone wakes up & have your home look fabulous by the end of the morning. If you're trying to envision it, but can't seem to bring up the mental picture, there is a belief somewhere in your brain that will likely sabotage you every time. You may occasionally achieve your objective, but you'll be unlikely to make it a regular habit, a routine, until you conquer the limiting beliefs which are your undoing so often.

I've found that you have to visualize yourself in advance sometimes before doing the things that you want to make a part of your reality- especially long-term goals that you've had trouble accomplishing for awhile. When we attempt to visualize, occasionally what will happen is that we hit upon transparent beliefs that keep us from seeing a successful outcome. They're transparent beliefs in that you see right through them- their invisible to your conscious brain. For example, we may believe that we want to start an exercise program- at least, that's the goal of our conscious (waking, knowing) mind. We buy the exercise DVD's, the workout clothes, the shoes for the activity & the equipment. We physically have everything that we need to succeed, but for some reason, we just don't do what we say & think that we want to do. We get angry at ourselves & think we have a lack of discipline. But usually, laziness has nothing to do with the lack of accomplishment. When you attempt to visualize yourself becoming a daily exerciser, for example, you notice that there's mental blockage. There could be a lot of very logical reasons for this blockage- you may subconsciously remember all of the previous times that you've exercised, only to fall off the wagon after a few days or weeks. You may hear voices in your head, like a tape playing on a loop, of people telling you that you're too old or big to ever get fit. You may recall a previous injury, or severe muscle soreness, that occurred from your last exercise jag. You may be facing resistance from your body to getting up early to work out, or making time at night to exercise instead of sitting & watching TV or doing things with your family. You may have exercised in the past, only to end up not seeing the results that you want, and subsequently gave up your routine with great disappointment in the program. You can't disregard your resistances- you have to face them. You have to see through them to the end. You have to conquer each piece of resistance, as it comes up, analyze it, decide how you're going to conquer it, and tell yourself clearly why this time will be different. You have to educate yourself on how to make this time different, too. Using this same example, do you now know that you lifted too heavy of dumbbells too early on? Did you not allow yourself enough rest days? Did you go at the workout only with the goal of losing weight, not thinking about the long-term health advantages, only to get dismayed when the pounds didn't drop off fast enough? Did you attempt to keep up with the much-more-fit instructor, doing things at a pace your body just wasn't comfortable with, ending up feeling defeated? Were you not combining exercise with clean eating, drinking plenty of water & the abstinence from smoking cigarettes & excessive alcohol consumption? Were you attempting to work out at the wrong time of day for your body's natural energy rhythms? Did you wear uncomfortable shoes, or clothing that made you too hot? These things are known as "technical errors". They have nothing to do with moral failings- they're simple things that can be changed. When they're changed, your resistance starts to die. Conquer every single mental block & technical error as you visualize, knowing that an improvement can be made on every single issue that you experienced before. To succeed, we don't ignore our failures from the past, we learn from them. Don't be afraid to analyze! 

-Liz 

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