Five-Minute Chores & Small Rewards

I know I’ve raved on and on about Break Reminder in the past, but I just have to do it again. 

As I’ve said before, I keep it set to force a 20-sec­ond break every 15 min­utes, with a longer break every hour. I’ve also con­fig­ured it so that the screen goes blank dur­ing those breaks, and the key­board and mouse are locked out (nec­es­sary to enforce the breaks, because oth­er­wise, I am a bad, bad girl). The only thing I’d ask for now is that it auto­mat­i­cal­ly put up away mes­sages for my chat clients (and I did send that to the com­pa­ny as a suggestion).

Any­way, some­thing sug­gest­ed recent­ly on one of the many orga­niz­ing newslet­ters I read was that you make a list of chores that take about 5 min­utes. You cut 3 x 5 cards into quar­ters, note one chore on each, and stick them into a jar or some­thing sim­i­lar. Every time you have five min­utes, you grab a card and do that chore. The fin­ished ones are put into anoth­er container.

So every time Break Reminder locks me out, I do one chore. That gets me up and mov­ing, so I don’t get as stiff. It also changes the focus of what I’m look­ing at, which reduces eye­strain. It’s amaz­ing how many things you can break down into five-minute chunks, and before long you can real­ly see a dif­fer­ence around the house.

Lim­it­ing myself to ONE chore also helps me avoid the hyper­fo­cus that is all too easy due to obses­sive-com­pul­sive disorder.

Now I’m work­ing on fig­ur­ing out rewards for myself. I’m not good at tak­ing care of myself, cer­tain­ly not reward­ing myself in any way. curiousmay9 has repeat­ed­ly men­tioned doing that as a way of moti­vat­ing her­self, and final­ly talked me into try­ing it. I fig­ure I’ll count up the cards I’ve done in a day and tie that to a reward somehow.

Here are the chores I’ve thought of so far — any suggestions?


Move laun­dry forward
Clean one ceil­ing fan
Clean one window
Clean out the car
Put away CDs (nec­es­sary because we tend to take them out, lis­ten to them, and let them pile up on the enter­tain­ment center)
Clean one light fixture
Wipe down kitchen counters
Straight­en one cabinet
Brush the cat
Straight­en one drawer
Swish one toilet
Clean up cat food mess (she’s always get­ting food on the floor around her dishes)
Dust one piece of furniture
Clean the mir­rors in one bathroom
Sweep the hard floors
Scrub any dirty pots/pans
Clear one bed­room surface
Refill all the soap dispensers
Get any­thing off the floor in one room
Declut­ter one book­case (they tend to col­lect things that don’t belong there)
Clean the front of one kitchen cab­i­net (a con­stant chore with an all-white kitchen)
Clean the front of the stove
Clean one of the dish stor­age shelves
Clean inte­ri­or car windows
Check the car’s oil
Declut­ter the bar area
Clean one of the sur­faces on the out­side of the fridge
Sweep the porch
Clorox-mop the hard floors
Clean the microwave
Straight­en one pantry shelf
Check the fridge for any scary stuff
Dust the pic­tures hang­ing in the hall
Vac­u­um the liv­ing area
Vac­u­um one bed­room floor
Fill the bird feeders
Fill the cat’s water fountain
Cocoa but­ter the cat (she has sores that she keeps pick­ing at, so we put cocoa but­ter on them to help them heal and keep her away from them a little)
Clean the front of the dishwasher
Scrub the sink with an SOS pad
File something
Clean one fridge shelf
Tilex one shower
Clear off the kitchen table if it’s cluttered
Dust the pic­tures in the liv­ing room
Dust the pic­tures in the hall
Feed/water the plants
Clean the range & its hood
Make up one bed
Load and run the dishwasher
Unload the dishwasher
Put away one load of laundry
Iron two items of clothing
Clean TV & mon­i­tor screens
Beat out the doormats
Declut­ter one enter­tain­ment cen­ter shelf
Get emp­ty hang­ers out of one closet
Toss old mag­a­zines from the liv­ing room
Scrub one tub
Clean one bath­room sink/vanity
Add water to flower vases
Clear one sur­face in the office

Cur­rent Mood: working
Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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