5 Time Management Tips for Focused Cleaning

Use these simple productivity hacks to get more cleaning done, in less time. Clean smarter, not harder!

Use these simple productivity hacks to get more done, in less time. Clean smarter, not harder. Psst, check out the printables at the end.

Tip #1

Use a kitchen timer, the timer on your phone, or build a 15 minute Spotify playlist. Working in one area at a time, play beat the clock. See how much you can accomplish by setting yourself a deadline.

Why does this work?

Work expands to fill the time you allot it. Parkinson’s Law of productivity started as a joke, but how many moms can testify to its truth? If you say “Oh, I have all day to clean up the house,” then you will take all day to just do it. Setting strict limits to your cleaning time is the best way to just.get.it.done.


Tip #2

Keep a cleaning log. This doesn’t have to be fancy. Use a dollar store notebook, or pad of sticky notes on the refrigerator. Mark down which room you’re working in, the time you start cleaning, and what time you finish.

Why does this work?

Thanks to a neat little psychological principle known as the Hawthorne Effect, people improve their productivity when it’s under study. Even if you are the only person reading your cleaning log, you will naturally want to impress yourself.

Tip #3

Talk to your friends about the struggle to keep clean. Make one or more them your accountability buddy. Text them a honest picture of the latest disaster zone, and see how quickly you can send the sparkling after picture. Offer her the same support!

Why does this work?

Sharing with your cleaning buddy combines both of the previous tips. You want to send the after photo as soon as possible, plus photo records are unambiguous proof. Adding an element of support (or competition) will only increase your performance.

Tip #4


If you like the idea of accountability, but want an added layer of anonymity, join a group online. If you are on tumblr, there’s a cleaning anonymous group with an unprintable name. Proving that everything is on Facebook, Laundry Love & Science is a bustling private group with product recommendations, weekly challenges, and amazing crowd to play “fix this stain” with. Don’t be fooled by the name. Their expertise extends into all areas of cleaning.

Why does this work?

In addition to the benefits of having a defined accountability buddy above, you also gain access to an amazing amount of crowdsourced cleaning experience. Ask a question and get immediate answers to your biggest cleaning challenges. When you aren’t feeling inspired to clean, scrolling through a library of before & after photos will have you leaping to action.


Tip #5


Just get started.

I get it. Cleaning isn’t anyone’s favorite hobby. And some messes have grown so large, you worry the lego-shopkins-barbie piles are achieving sentience. The task in front of you is so large, you don’t know how you will finish. I’m here to tell you, the end will figure itself out, you need only start at the beginning. Commit to only 5 minutes of cleaning.

Why does this work?

James Clear calls this Newton’s first law of productivity. We’re all familiar with the physical principle of momentum. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Once you overcome the psychological hurdle of starting cleaning, it’s much easier to keep going. You don’t have to accomplish everything all at once. Get off the computer, set down the phone, and commit to just. starting. somewhere.

Free Printables

To help you get started, here are some printables. Just click the image below to download.

Printables to track your time management in cleaning. Results Log & Timesheet

Where do you struggle with cleaning? Is it a particular task (ugh, vacuuming!) or an external hurdle (hello, clingy toddlers). Let me know below!


  1. I NEED to try the Spotify thing with laundry folding! That’s easily the most frustrating aspect of home management for me. It feels like it takes forever, although I’m sure when I listen to a 15 minute playlist my perspective will change. Great idea!

    1. Laundry folding is my least favorite task too. I use the timer and tell myself “I can do anything for 15 minutes.” That’s actually a birthing mantra, but whatever gets it done 😉

  2. Hi Lorelei, this post is just need right now, my house is resembling a disaster zone and we are going into our crazy season! I do normally listen to a podcast whilst pottering round the house, but rarely do focused cleaning. The thought of setting a certain length of time to clean sounds perfect and doable. I’m not sure that any FB cleaning group is ready for me!


    1. Haha, I hear you, Debbie! We just finished hosting out-of-town family. It is such a blessing that they were able to visit us for a week! Now I need to catch up on housework I delayed in order to socialize with them.

      The good thing about those large groups is no one notices if you lurk. You can be the student in the front row, raising your hand to every question, or you can silently take it all in. No one’s checking 🙂

  3. Setting a timer works wonders! I use that concept when, while my kids are at preschool, I limit myself to doing housework only until it’s time to pick them up. The time goes by SUPER slow, lol! It’s amazing how much work I can get done in 2 hours!

  4. I love the timer tip! I’ve done that a couple times and it always makes a difference. I have no idea why I don’t make it a regular thing. Thanks for the great list!

    I’m hosting a weekly link up and I’d love for you to stop by and join the party! http://bit.ly/1S9H0Ls

  5. It’s surprising how much you can get done in a short time. If I have just a short time free I do a small task and then realise I have more time than I thought I needed.

  6. These are great tips, each and every one of them. Perhaps if I set a timer it would give me incentive to get it done in a quicker period of time. And it might be a little bit more fun and I wouldn’t dread it so much knowing that I only had to do it for a short amount of time. Now that my kids are older our house doesn’t get as messy, but there will always be a certain list of chores that needs to get done each week, won’t there? I’m going to implement a few of your tips, and hopefully it will get easier for me to at least start at the beginning and work my way through. Just get er done, right?

  7. I set a timer all of the time! Normally 15-20 minutes, and I try to get done with as much as I can. Once that time is up, it’s up. It has been very helpful. Thank you for all of your other tips! I need to put those to use.

  8. This is exactly what I needed to read. I struggle with keeping just my room clean (I’m still living at home) and I will definitely be putting these tips to the test! Thank you so much! 🙂

  9. I like the idea of an accountability buddy and the playlist. These are all really great tips. I will have to try this out this weekend #myhouseisdisasterzone. Thanks for sharing! #FFBH

  10. I need to incorporate the Spotify tip into all of my tasks. I think I may be a lot more productive if I do. 😉 Great tips on productively cleaning Lorelei!

  11. These are nice tips for spring cleaning! I am currently working on an article for this one. Thanks for this! Found you through the Friday Fun bloghop! Lots of love from Pink Heart String!

  12. I love to time myself and playing music is always a must. Another one I try is to start with one small, seemingly easy task to get me motivated. It helps me to take on the bigger ones.

    1. I’ll be in to link up again tonight, Cristina. I always discover new, insightful posts at the #bloggerspotlight party!

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