“Relentlessly prune bullshit, don’t wait to do things that matter,

and savor the time you have.” Paul Graham

 

When your shift ends at home, what do you do at night? 

If you’re like me, you get sucked into staying up late in front of a TV, phone, or computer screen while consuming unhealthy calories. I’ve never made a salad or smoothie for my evening snack: more like chips and a glass of wine!

None of this is likely to enrich our lives or help us reach long term goals. It is likely to deprive us of sleep, provide unwanted calories and give us a groggy start the next day.

But when I “prune the bullshit” of screen time and go to bed and wake up earlier, I always do something that nourishes my life: I’ll write, stretch, meditate, or just sip my coffee or tea in my favourite mug. Better yet, I get to do it all in total peace before the morning chaos begins. I just have to remember to NOT pick up my phone. I’ve regretted it every time, getting sucked into that crazy vortex. Those texts can wait until later.

One of my favourite wellness authors, Richard Carlson, points out that if we regularly wake up early, the books we’ve always wanted to read “are getting read, the meditation gets done, the sunrise is appreciated.” And it’s a win/win: not only do we feel better, our families benefit. By taking care of ourselves, we have the energy and positive mindset to give far more to our loved ones.

Being an early bird is easier if we get enough sleep. To start, try going to bed and waking up just a half hour earlier. I need some self-discipline to not hit snooze on my self-imposed alarm in the morning, but the prize is always worth it. I bet you’ll enjoy the benefits as much as I do, and start craving these sacred mornings.

 

Purely Practical Tip:

Turn off text message and email alert sounds on your phone. Each little “ding” is a distraction, taking your attention away from your kid, your spouse, your friend, or just your lunch. Your friends can wait, and if it’s really important, they can give you an old-fashioned phone call to get your attention. (You can allow alert sounds for specific people only, like your kids/spouse etc. if you wish.)

 

Join the Conversation

What about you? Have you played with sleep and wake times to get more out of your day?

How else have you been able to “prune the bullshit” and do what matters?

Purely practical ways to clean and organize around the house.

Remember to share your favourite tips!

 

Don’t cry over spilled wax. Get candle wax drippings out of your carpet by putting a paper towel over the wax, then gently running a hot iron over it. The heat melts the wax and immediately gets absorbed by the paper towel.

 

Get rid of that gunky mess in the microwave. Heat a clean, wet cloth in the microwave for 2 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool off and let the steam do its trick, then squeeze excess water out of the cloth and wipe microwave clean. The steam makes it easy to wipe away the food guck without any elbow grease or chemicals.

 

Get your dishwasher cleaning more than dishes. Dishwashers make it easy to clean and disinfect can openers, scissors, plastic hair brushes and combs, your dish scrubber, soap dishes, toothbrush holders and more. Just don’t put wood, copper, crystal, cast iron, hand-painted ceramics and antiques or other delicate items that common-sense dictates should be hand-washed.

 

Clean your can opener. Can openers are often neglected, accumulating gross bacteria gunk under the blades. Ewww. Rinse after each use, or if it needs a deep clean, put in the dishwasher. If there’s rust, soak rusty parts overnight in a small bowl of white or apple cider vinegar. Brush residue with an old toothbrush, then rinse well. Dry by shaking water out and/or drying with a cloth or paper towel, and leave in open position so any remaining moisture can air dry.

 

Re-use paper towels. When I’ve used paper towels and they’re not too soiled, I dampen them and wipe the grimiest parts of my floors and window tracks before tossing them in the green waste bin. Think of those gross places under your fridge and stove, or the dirty tracks of sliding doors or windows. Or if you’ve cleaned your mirrors in the bathroom, dampen the barely soiled paper towels and give your floor a quick wipe, especially corners and edges where the hair and dust bunnies tend to accumulate. Then voila! The bulk of the disgusting-ness is gone.

 

Clean residual wax out candle holders by popping them in the freezer for a few hours. Then, it can pop out (sometimes with a little help from a dull knife). Any stubborn residue can be rinsed with steaming hot water and wiped off with a paper towel—and you know how to re-use that paper towel! 🙂

 

Make your own glass cleaner. A simple solution of dish soap, a splash of vinegar and warm water will get your windows absolutely streak free. Put in a dollar-store spray bottle and wipe clean with a good microfibre cloth, newspaper or coffee filter.

 

Get rid of moldy spots on your shower curtain. Just throw that plastic or vinyl curtain in the washing machine! Add a couple of towels for extra cleaning agitation, then hang it back up to dry or put in the dryer on low heat. To keep it clean longer, stretch the curtain out after each shower to help moisture evaporate.

 

Get rid of stink! Baking soda is the BEST at eliminating odours. Sprinkle in stinky shoes, let it sit for a day, and tap it out well before wearing again. Also works great in stinky garbage bins, garbage disposals, or anywhere you want to get rid of stink.

 

Clean roasting pans by soaking them with a bit of dish soap, hot water and a generous sprinkle of baking soda. The burnt-on food will slip off easily an hour later (let soak overnight if really bad).

 

Freshen any fabric that can’t be put in the laundry. Generously sprinkle with baking soda, rub it in, let sit for a half hour, then vacuum up the residue. Think stinky pet beds, or after you’ve cleaned the cat pee out of the carpet or kid’s puke off the couch, etc. 

 

Swap household chores with your spouse. Dad gets more one-on-one time with the kids while mom does jobs unrelated to childcare. I sincerely welcome the change of mowing the lawn after dinner while Derek washes dishes and gets the kids ready for bed.

 

Negotiate a rate with your babysitter/local teen to do simple household chores when the kids are asleep. For a totally worthwhile extra fee, our babysitter would empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor, fold laundry, dust, wipe baseboards, etc.  Alternatively, hire and train a local teen to do these housekeeping chores at a fraction of the cost of professional cleaners.