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on ten-minute jobs

I’m a massive fan of the ten-minute job. These are small, achievable tasks we can finish in a short period of time. Completing just one of them has immediate, visible results. When there’s a lot to organise and we don’t know where to start,  ten-minute jobs can be a great entry or warm-up. Read on to find out more or scroll to the bottom for some generic, room specific ten-minute job ideas.

The crucial factor of a ten-minute job is that it’s done whilst we’re waiting for something else to happen. Perhaps we do them while on hold to a utility company, awaiting a delivery or for someone to arrive. We can do them for the duration of one song (the ‘ten-minute’ bit isn’t set in stone), cooking pasta or simply by setting a timer.

how did ten-minute jobs come about?

We have a list of ten-minute jobs on our family i-pad. It was inspired some years back after I went to a panel discussion about the distribution of housework between couples, flat-mates and families. I realised I wasn’t the only one living with people who didn’t ‘do things properly’. Although that was slightly comedic and rather normalising, I left wondering what I could do about it.

Then the insight came: neither my husband nor daughter signed up to my brilliant smooth running household systems because I hadn’t talked to them about them – I’d assumed they’d just notice and join in. We talked. Either husband or daughter suggested I wrote down the quick jobs I did routinely so they could refer to the list in my head. Both of them set diary reminders to check and choose a job from the list and (not all of this next sentence is100% true) we all lived happily ever after.

A home is never perfect or finished. Stuff comes in and stuff gets grubby. Our ten-minute job list is mainly cleaning (the cat-flap, skirting boards, light switches) and includes a few decluttering jobs (the papers on the table, the pot of odd bits of jewellery and hairgrips or the place we shove postcards and flyers).

ten-minute jobs are household specific

Many of my clients have made their own, individual list of ten-minute jobs. They’re do-able tasks they commit to completing when I’m not there. They’re household specific and they make a small, immediate difference.

When I give talks and run workshops, I love sharing, with permission, things that clients have done that inspire me. People like the ten-minute jobs. Feedback from the last talk I gave has motivated me to write some generic, room by room suggestions of ten-minute jobs, together with ideas of what to do with unwanted items. I’ll add them to this page over the next few months – let me know how you get on and if you have some to add.

room specific ten-minute job suggestions:

ten-minute jobs – kitchen
ten-minute jobs – bathroom.

coming soon – ten-minute jobs – bedroom

ten-minute jobs

“..if you’re going to spend an afternoon considering dusty old posters and busted camping gear, I can’t think of a better person to do it with..”

– anna, hackney


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