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Illustration of a gold clock with hands at 5 past 5

You don’t come to this blog to read about cleaning the oven but it was oven cleaning that proved so fruitful during my exploration of ‘do it in 10 minutes’. I hate cleaning the oven and hob. I put off doing it until I can’t stand the state of the things any longer. Then I resent every minute as time wasted when I could be doing something more interesting. However, I also dislike that it stays on my job list for weeks as I find excuses not to do it.

So when I began to look at the ‘10 minute method’, as I’ve now named it, oven cleaning was an ideal candidate. it couldn’t possibly take longer than 10 minutes to do. This was the (not entirely true as it turned out) premise that I was working towards. All I had to do was knuckle down. And then I would be able to tick it off my job list. I would be free to do something more interesting like browse stationery themed tote bags on the Internet.

Set a timer

I set a timer for 10 minutes and got going. And then set it for another 10 minutes. Followed by another 10. Then 10 more. It took me 40 minutes to clean my oven and hob.

I was a bit surprised. I had to sit down with a fortifying cup of tea. Surely it couldn’t take so long to do such a simple task. I know we overestimate what we might achieve in a day but this was ridiculous!

How could I make it take less time? Could I find a way of doing that took closer to 10 minutes? Firstly the ‘Getting Things Done’ approach was applied. I looked at it as individual tasks. I needed to separate out the hob cleaning and oven cleaning. Then I set to researching oven cleaning methods. 10 minutes proved ample for this and soda crystals are my new best friend for oven cleaning. The ceramic hob was a bit trickier – stuff just sticks to it. However, I have discovered if I clean it every day (do it in 10 seconds rather than 10 minutes) the stuff doesn’t build up.

I still couldn’t claim it’s my favourite household task. But at least it’s now getting done and it made me think about how I can apply the 10-minute method elsewhere. I know that one of the ways I justify procrastination is by thinking about how much time it will take to do a task. This won’t entirely stop me from putting things off but I now have a tool to deal with it.

Other bonuses of the 10-minute method are:

  • Lots of jobs take less than 10 minutes.
  • Where jobs do take 10 minutes then a maximum of 6 you can schedule in an hour. This means you have to prioritise.
  • You can maintain focus for 10 minutes. If your brain protests at having to undertake some kind of labour you can simply remind yourself that’s it only for 10 minutes.

So here’s a productive week, may your ovens be shiny and your consciences as clear as your job lists.