In my last feature, I discussed steps to take before actually considering firing your domestic help, sharing what was my own story. Two seconds after that was published, my domestic help fired me.
Well, she had been sick for a while, and then next thing her father wanted her home to treat herself the native way.
Bad timing, girl. Bad timing.
With the kids on holiday and work on full blast, it meant I had to be full time mommy and full time business owner, both intense with neither willing to let up for the other.
So what’s a domestic queen to do when the cookie crumbles this way?
Once again, I had to put a few leadership skills to use, leading my own self through what was a crazy couple of days.
Permit me to share a few with you.
Get comfortable with the imperfections of the now.
I am a pretty organised Domestic Queen, with structures and systems for everything at home and work. At the same time my help left, I also let go of two of my staff members at work, leaving me drowning. The first straw I clung to for safety was the one that permitted a few things that could not afford to be neglected.
There were days I let my kids eat cereal twice because there was no time to turn amala. I missed a few birthdays at work, and I wasn’t exactly chasing new clients, just managing the ones I already had. Heck, some nights, I completely forgot to brush my kids’ teeth. And, who knows, there may have been days I forgot to brush mine, too.
But really though, if you are used to things running smoothly, and a shakeup happens unexpectedly, you must quickly adjust cognitively to the new reality that things won’t be as smooth, and that has to be OK. If not, you will overstretch yourself, still fall short, and feel frustrated. Worse still, you’ll start feeling like a failure.
This shake up won’t last forever. Maybe a couple days or weeks, and then you can reset to regular programming
Get skilled with batching
I learned the term ‘batching’ from goal setting and planning expert Michael Hyatt in his bestseller, Free to Focus. Of course, he used it for formal settings, but these principles are parallel, and as a sharp DQ, I had to apply it to my home front.
What this simply means is that for chores you would do multiple times a day or week, you lump them and do them in batches. For instance, dish washing. Please, don’t judge me. And I am not saying you should suddenly let your kitchen become a pig sty. But, rather than doing the dishes seven times a day, as is most likely the case when you have young kids, you neatly stack them as you use them and wash once at the end of the day.
Even when it came to sorting laundry. I batched them, and then on Sunday afternoon, I sorted them out once and for all, while catching up on my Joyce Meyer podcasts I had missed all week. Now that I think of it, both the laundry and podcasts were batched. Haha! Win-win.
The principle behind this is that you save time when you lump these chores together than the sum of doing them individually over and over again.
I should add that there are some tasks that cannot be batched, so be wise even in batching. For instance, keeping your living room or guest toilets clean is not exactly negotiable, so prioritize those.
And even then, we can multi-task, which is my final point.
I hope we are all aware that multi-tasking stopped being cool about five years ago. Research continues to show that focusing on one thing is infinitely more productive than keeping more than one tab open in your brain. However, on the home front, you can still multi-task effectively and get more done. The trick is to schedule two or more tasks that exert very differently on the brain as they are being done.
For example, when I had to clean the toilets, I caught up on my audiobooks. One task is mechanical (toilet cleaning) and the other is intellectual (listening to my audiobook), so really doing just either would be a waste of time I didn’t have.
Cleaning the kitchen at night had me listening to my fave ladies on Better Together TV discuss friendships and more. In fact, there was this one night I had a prayer meeting with a few of my married friends over Zoom and I took the same time to clean up in the kitchen. In one hour, my kitchen was sparkling and I had effectively handled the prayers. Plus, I was so tired, the dishes sure did keep me awake.
So, yes to effective multi-tasking.
By employing these methods, I somehow managed to be almost as efficient in the things that mattered, through a season that threatened to drown me.
I must add that one evening, during my plates batching, which was super confusing to my husband, he stepped in and did the dishes.
I also had to tell a few of my close friends that I was not going to be as available as I normally was, so that they did not feel neglected or ignored, at least for this season.
Do you have any other tips that help you survive times like these? Or maybe you don’t have a help at all, and want to share how you navigate it all?