What Preschoolers Can Teach You About Productivity

English: Children in classroom during lunch break.

English: Children in classroom during lunch break. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember when my nephew was in preschool and learned “The Cleanup Song” – he hated it because it meant playtime was over. But, learning to clean up a mess is a valuable lesson, not only for preschoolers but even for all of us grown ups!

A UCLA study found that when women were near clutter their stress hormones skyrocketed! This proves that clutter makes you more anxious and less focused. The act of organizing can actually help us feel more in control, decreasing stress even in the most out-of-control situations.

That’s why I make it a point to tidy up my desk at the end of every workday and my apartment every night. It’s really worked for me because the next time I enter those spaces they feel inviting instead of stress-inducing.

Here are a few tips to make “cleanup time” more fun than it was for my nephew!

1. Make a playlist – It doesn’t have to be long, just 2-3 upbeat songs to make your clean up go more quickly.
2. Start a routine – I use a blanket when I watch TV at night, move some throw pillows to get comfy, and drink a cup of tea, so I’m used to the routine of folding the blanket, arranging the pillows, and washing the mug – now it takes no time at all! It’s like brushing your teeth after a while.
3. Time yourself – people love a challenge, so see how fast you can clean up. I’m sure once you try it you will see that it is a lot less painful than you thought.
4. Reward yourself – this will work especially well when you first start this routine. A little bribery never hurt anyone!
5. Play your favorite video – find something you love on YouTube and play it while you clean up. That way you associate something fun and positive with the not-so-glamourous task of cleaning.

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2 replies
  1. Kosio Angelov
    Kosio Angelov says:

    Talking to someone while you are cleaning up also helps a lot. Family members are the obvious choice but don’t forget your friends/family in different time zones. I am on EST so when I am ready for bed it is still pretty early on the West Coast so there is always a chance to catch up with someone. You get some socializing done and keep the clean up fun, two birds with one stone…


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