Lessons Learned from Completing the Fly Lady Challenge

For the last 31 days, I've put my best foot forward with Fly Lady's Beginner Babystep Challenge. It's designed to help you create healthy habits; habits that help you get your day rolling and help you accomplish what you need to accomplish. I'll be the first to admit I didn't ace this challenge. Now that it is over, I can't say that each and every day's task is now a habit - they take several weeks of consistently doing them to become habits. But I can say that some small but meaningful tasks have become habits and even if they're not habits, I'm much more conscious of them.

Here are the top 31 things that I learned over the last 31 days and some insights I've gleaned from this journey.

  1. I can go to bed at night with a spotless sink. All it takes is the mindset to do it. This is now a habit for me and my clean shiny sink welcomes me every morning. It sets a good tone for the day.
  2. Since my kids require me to address their needs before my own in the morning, I'm typically not able to get "dressed to the shoes" before one needs a bottle or the other is screaming for breakfast. 
  3. I don't think Fly Lady  had young children when she created these rules.
  4. I do, however get dressed immediately after attending to those needs (whereas before I'd have lounged a bit longer with coffee in hand). I'm okay with this compromise for now.
  5. I have a hang-up about wearing the proper shoes with my outfit, so the same pair of lace up shoes (or sneakers) every day will not work for me.
  6. I did attempt my friends solution - wearing plastic zip lock bags over my shoes (we have a shoe-free home) and it just felt a little too weird (although Krista, you wear them very well darling).
  7. I also found an old pair of sneakers, washed them and deemed them my "house shoes" but quickly got frustrated when I needed to take off the house shoes, just to put another pair on to take the dog out quickly (which then I'd have to take off when I came back in and replace with the house shoes). 
  8. I clearly need a new method with the shoe thing (and welcome suggestions). I do agree that wearing shoes first thing in the morning makes a huge difference in the way you approach your day. It's more laid back with bare feet or slippers. I've definitely noticed the difference and accomplish more on those days I follow the rule.
  9. I am able to make my bed every morning. This sounds ridiculous as I write this, but I was never brought up to make this a priority, so it wasn't second nature for me. It literally takes less than two minutes and it makes a big impact on how you feel when you enter your bedroom. This is also a habit for me now and I love it!
  10. I love my timer
  11. I use it for my 5 minute room rescues - which are the best way to speed clean an area that is just screaming - clean me! Sometimes, 5 minutes is all that I have and I feel accomplished in those five minutes.
  12. I use it for my 15 minutes of decluttering. While I haven't stayed super-consistent with it every single day, I do it more often than not and it helps to not feel overwhelmed with whatever challenge is facing you.
  13. When I set the timer and it goes off, sometimes I'm already in the groove and if I have the time (meaning no screaming kids or dashes to preschool pick-up) then I keep going for another round. 
  14. I use it with my kids. We play the "switch game" when my son and his friend are battling over the same toy. We set it for 3 minutes and then they have to hand it over. We set it again and the switch game continues. They get tired of it after one round and the argument is settled.
  15. While I don't do the full-blown "swish and swipe" every morning, I am now very conscious of taking that extra 15 seconds to put the hair dryer back in the drawer, toothbrushes away, etc. so I can wipe down the sink and freshen the mirror with a quick spray of Windex.
  16. I created a 'control journal' with a morning, afternoon and before bed routine.
  17. I'm not very good at reading it regularly for it to be truly effective. Perhaps I'll work on this.
  18. My morning routine is rather habitual now, except depending on the day's schedule, it turns into an afternoon routine by the time I finish everything. At least I put forth the effort and I'm okay with that.
  19. My afternoon routine doesn't really exist. Every day is too different with regard to our schedules. Besides, my morning routine runs into the afternoon anyway. LOL
  20. My before bed routine is a crap-shoot. I always have my sink shiny, but the other stuff I sometimes wait too long to do it and then I'm wiped and just want to go to bed.
  21. I need to start my before bed routine BEFORE I sit down and relax for the night.
  22. Sometimes, once those kids are in bed a tired mamma just needs to sit her fanny on the couch and relax with a glass of wine and the 'before bed routine' just has to wait.
  23. I failed MISERABLY at the task "pick a bed time and stick to it". When I say miserably, I mean I didn't go to bed by my designated bed time ONCE. 
  24. Sure, I'd love more sleep, but once the kids are down and I've got some time to myself to catch up online or watch some DVR'd shows - that time is SO precious. It's the only sanity-saving time I have and I don't want to give up that love affair.
  25. If I'm ever going to get up, showered and dressed to the shoes before my kids get up I'm going to HAVE TO learn to go to bed earlier (usually around 11:30/12am - that's late when your kids are up 6-6:30am!)
  26. I have more hot spots than I care to admit.
  27. Two minutes is not enough time to extinguish them daily.
  28. I get sidetracked by the computer and need to make a conscious effort to shut it down or agree not to log on until I've completed what I need to do.
  29. While I've mastered a few of them, I fail at several of Fly Lady's 11 commandments
  30. I'll continue to work on them. Progress happens over time, not over night.
  31. I am thankful for this journey and know that while I haven't perfected everything in her program, Fly Lady has helped me become that much more of a Well Planned Woman. I encourage you to attempt her challenge if you'd like a better handle on your day!

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