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Faking Martha » Featured, Housework, Organization » Why Flylady doesn’t work for me.. and what does.

Why Flylady doesn’t work for me.. and what does.

I love Flylady.. she really has helped me keep my house neater and tidier… but it still doesn’t look company-ready much of the time and I have no routines whatsoever.  Over the last few days I’ve been wondering why I can’t seem to get into the flylady jive.. why her system doesn’t seem to be a good fit for me, after around 7 good tries.

I think it comes down to this.  I don’t like somebody telling me what to do.  With Flylady, you get an email and then you do what is in the email.  You have set routines and you do what is in the routines at specific times of the day.  Seriously?  This is way too structured for me.  The problem isn’t that I can’t provide myself with structure.  As a list-lover Virgo type, I can out structure almost anybody.  No… my problem is actually that too much structure bores me so quickly that I turn my back on it like a rebellious teenager in a huff.

One thing I did learn from Flylady was to break tasks down and only tackle them for 15 minutes at a time.  To put on a timer and zoom around as quick as you can for 15 minutes.  I can do that, and I do.

The other issue for me is that much of Flylady is email based.  That means getting on the computer and the computer is kryptonite for me, especially if the house is messy and I’m looking for a something to procrastinate with.  If I get on the computer first thing in the morning, I may not be able to tear myself away until mid-day.. not good.

What I have found works for me better is to have a big list of 5 – 15 minute tasks that sit on my microwave.  During the day I pick the task I feel like doing (or maybe one that I didn’t do yesterday) and do that.. in pretty much a totally random order.  It makes me feel like I can do whatever I want whenever I want.   I don’t get bored with doing the same thing every day, although because I do, I don’t do it long enough for it to feel like a chore.  It’s more like a smorgasbord.

The tasks are actually listed in order of “impact”.  The things that come first make the most impact on the functionality of the house.  So if things get totally trashed and I don’t know where to start, or I’m feeling overwhelmed, I do start at the top and work my way down.  (Though most days I just flit about doing this and that and marking it off the list.)

The nice thing about my list is that unlike many other “to-do” lists, I don’t have to print it out each day, and I can easily see what I did yesterday.. so that anything that got missed can be done first the next day.  The list also handles weekly and monthly tasks too.  If I get bored with the daily tasks, I can pick something off the weekly or monthly list and tackle that instead.

Anyway, here is what my “smorgasbord list” looks like:

Smorgasbord cleaning list

As I complete each task, I tick it off in the relevant box.

The daily tasks I do every day (or try to, anyway) and sometime during the week I do the weekly tasks as listed in the bottom section, and the monthly tasks for the week, also listed in the bottom section, different ones for each week.

This is working really well for me.. it’s not specific enough to make me want to “buck the tyranny” of some woman telling me what to do over emails, it keeps track of what I’ve done, and it doesn’t lure me onto the computer.

I think it’s important to work out why systems don’t work for you, and to develop something that does work.  Most systems are not one-size-fits-all.. we all have our own baggage when it comes to our homes, and as women especially, a lot of our self concept and self-esteem can be tied up in the work we do here.  Often we have our own old “tapes” in our heads left over from the way our Mothers and Grandmothers used to do things to battle with, too.  I think it’s worth taking the time and space to do some introspection.. and don’t be too hard on yourself!  I used to think I *should* do something a certain way.. I should have lists, routines etc.  I should try Flylady harder or whatever.

I also used to think that my reaction to not wanting to establish routines was childish, and I really just needed to grow up and do things the “adult” way, rather than trying to buck the “system” like a defiant teenager.  In the end, I decided that I needed to work *with* myself rather than trying to work *on* myself by trying to be something I was never going to be.

And that made all the difference.

So what has worked for you?  I’d love to hear your ideas on staying on track with your housework!


Filed under: Featured, Housework, Organization · Tags: , , , ,

8 Responses to "Why Flylady doesn’t work for me.. and what does."

  1. Karla
    Twitter: frugalskills

    I was never able to make Flylady work for me either. What works for me is keeping a To-Do list next to my computer monitor in a place where I can’t easily ignore it. It’s difficult to slack off when I’m constantly reminded of all the stuff that needs to be done.

  2. admin says:

    hey Karla – great idea! I’ll have to rig something up so I can get my list up near my laptop. Keeping it “in view” could definitely help!

  3. Sara says:

    Hi there,
    Love, love that chart, b/c it breaks down weekly and monthly in one glance.

    Is there a way you might be able to send me the template?


  4. Shannon says:

    Huge enthusiast from this blog, a bundle of your blogposts have really helped me out. Looking forward to updates!

  5. Cassidy says:

    I would love the template for this.

  6. Lycadia says:

    This is amazing and completely clever! What an elegant solution, with so much of the information embedded in the layout itself to keep it sleek and easy to read at a glance. I’ve just bookmarked your site because I too am struggling with Flylady but really wanting to get more organized and motivated. Thank you so much for sharing this. And to second the earlier commenter, I too would be deeply grateful for either a template or a copy of the actual spreadsheet or whatever to edit!

  7. Kristi Robbins says:

    This looks like a much more doable idea, after failing Flylady 101 a few times now. Thanks! And thank you Karla, that’s a great idea about keeping the list by the computer!

  8. Nancy says:

    Flylady hasn’t worked for me either. As soon as I cleaned the sink, my adult son would bring all his dishes out of his bedroom and fill the sink up after I left the house. lol My chiropractor told me to stop setting my timer for 15min and rushing around cleaning because it kept throwing my spine out of alignment, especially when I did laundry too fast. I work 8-4 or 5pm, M-F, so I can’t get up, throw my clothes on and start cleaning. I have to take a morning shower and I can’t take my shower until I have my morning “constitution”. The amount of daily emails freaked me out-I felt so overwhelmed I could barely function at all. There are a couple of parts that worked for me-the increasing water drinking and the 15min. of exercise. Unfortunately I had to give up walking in my neighborhood because it started to get dangerous, so I exercise inside. I think Flylady’s system is great for stay-at-home moms and I wish I was one, so I could follow it.

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