My Best Productivity Tip and the Clutter Challenge Update

Yesterday as I put the last of the pancake batter in the pan and washed the bowl, I was reminded of my best productivity tip.

I decided I needed to share it with you right away! Are you ready?


I know! Revolutionary, right? But I can be such a procrastinator that this is something that has taken a lot of work to change.

The pancake batter bowl will take me maybe 45 seconds to wash, but if I leave it until after dinner and it has dried up it takes much longer.

If I wipe the smeared peanut butter off the booster seat right away, it hardly takes a minute. But when I leave it until later it becomes a bigger job.

If I wipe off the stove immediately it takes only a few seconds. But when I wait, it takes more time and elbow grease.

And then today. When I was cleaning out my refrigerator, it took me a lot of time and effort to¬† scrub something that had spilled who knows when. No doubt at the time, I was “too busy” to wipe it up, then forgot about it. The next thing I know, I am spring cleaning and the job is much more work than it needed to be.

It helps me when I evaluate why I put things off. I have narrowed it down to two reasons.

1. I dislike the job.

If I don’t want to do it, I put it off hoping it will go away. But realizing that I am only making the job more difficult has helped me change my habits.

2. I am a perfectionist. A procrastinating perfectionist.

I will put off a job because I have elaborate plans of doing it beautifully and perfectly later. But sometimes (usually) later never comes.

To quote what I said in my laundry post:

Letting go of perfection is simply acknowledging that it is better for the job to get done now, than for it to be done perfectly later.

This is one of those areas that I had to habit-train myself. Sometimes I have to consciously stop and tell myself that it will be less work if I do it now. Or as the Nike slogan goes, “Just Do It!”

I could not possibly count the number of minutes saved by training myself to do the job now. And obviously, as the refrigerator incident reveals, I am still a work in progress.

Challenge Update!

I told you I would keep you updated on my challenge to declutter at least one item a day in March. As of today I have tossed or given away 75 items! Wow! Seventy-five fewer items to find a place for in my home. Yes, please!

I sorted through several areas this week that tend to be clutter spots for me, so I do not expect the number to be that high in the following weeks, but it feels really good to have a great start in my spring cleaning and decluttering!

How about you? How has your decluttering been going? And make me feel better here, are you a procrastinator?


  1. I am a procrastinator for both reasons you mentioned. Work in progress here too!

  2. Making you feel better, friend: Yes. Same 2 reasons. Work in progress as well :-) Thanks for the encouragement to keep working at doing the job now! I’m off to get something done :-)

  3. I am a firm believer in this, too. My grandmother used to drive me crazy when I was younger (“Bethie, just put things away when you’re done with them. It’s so much easier!”), but apparently it stuck. :) This post was a good reminder for me even this morning: I made a smoothie for breakfast and was going to wash the blender after “just one episode” of Ally McBeal — instead I put my smoothie in the freezer for a few minutes & washed everything right then. I know I’ll be happy when my episode is over!

    In terms of decluttering, have you ever read Makeunder My Life? Her blog was really motivational for me in this area. It amazes me how many things I can get rid of each week. I’m so much happier without excess stuff that I don’t want or need!

    • Johanna says:

      In many areas this has become second nature to me, but I still get derailed in some things. (Usually getting distracted by kids!) But, like you said, I am always so thankful after the fact when the job is done!

      As to the clutter. Isn’t it crazy? I consider myself quite minimalistic…you know what size place we live in and we have no storage unit or anything…but I still always amaze myself at how much there is to get rid of. Always something.
      I’ll check out that site. Thanks! :)

  4. One benefit of “do it now” for me is that once I get started, I seem to have a lot more motiviation to tackle other jobs. Your post inspired me just this morning to go do something about the way I store our sheets. I had been putting it off to do it “beautifully and perfectly” later, but later hadn’t come. So I decided today was the day! And now I am so glad that it is done. Thanks for the push! :)

    • It works that way for me, too! I am always more motivated after I get one job successfully done. And now you have a beautifully, if not perfect, linen area. Awesome!

  5. Leigh Ann says:

    Totally perfectionist procrastinator here. Then I get so overwhelmed that I am paralyzed with where to start. I am trying to learn to let go and just do it. I also find that I am Ina rush to get everything done. I don’t know why I feel like it is a race. Probably because of the little one coming behind me trying to undo everything. That probably makes me feel like I don’t have enough time to tackle the job.

    • I can TOTALLY relate! Sometimes I just have to clothes my eyes and dive in because I am too overwhelmed with where to start! Having littles around definitely makes things harder too!

  6. Nancy Kellner says:

    Johanna, I want to say how much I enjoy reading your Tableau. It blesses me in many ways. Even though I love to declutter I have to get in the right mood to do it. Procastinating: YES. Once I start I can go up into the morning hours. Talking about a habit, I could not clean in the morning. I always had to wait until late evening. I don’t think I liked the dirt I saw in the daylight so I would wait till evening. I guess what works, right? My family probably didn’t like me clanging in the attic at two o’clock in the morning but what can I say. How do you teach this to someone else though? This is the question. Thanks for reading.

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement, Nancy! As far as how to teach it? Well, my kids are young so I don’t have a lot of experience yet, but I have already seen a huge advantage of habit-training them. I’m hopeful that it will stick :)


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