Minimalist in DC

The Quest for Less "Stuff" & More Time

Power Hour (Quick Tip)

I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, in which Rubin dissects the art of forming habits to give you a toolbox for forming good habits and breaking bad habits. She splits the population into four types of people (Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels) and describes how to approach habit-forming with each one. It’s a fascinating read! Along the way, Rubin talks about a lot of specific habits and one of those caught my attention. She calls it Power Hour.

Power Hour

Each week, set aside one hour for those annoying tasks you know you need to just get done, but never have time for. This is Power Hour.

Make a list of the tasks you want to get done and focus on them, starting with the first one until the hour is up.

Power Hour Tasks

Rubin suggests you fill your list with one-time tasks; those things that aren’t recurring that you need to get done (like scheduling appointments and figuring out how to use a new tool). They shouldn’t be things with tight deadlines because those will get done naturally over the course of the week. Use this hour for things that you never seem to get to.

That advice got me thinking about something I, personally, never have time for: cleaning. I hate cleaning. I hate it so much that I never make time for it. I can’t justify spending a lot of time cleaning, because, with two kids in the house, all of my work is undone in milliseconds. I can’t justify paying someone else to clean for exactly the same reason. So, I tend to let things get really dirty. Cleaning isn’t officially a non-recurring task, but I thought Power Hour was the perfect solution to motivate me to actually clean.

Power Hour in Practice

Last weekend, I officially repurposed Power Hour for cleaning. I made a backlog (bathrooms, tubs, random stuff lying in the living room, floors, windows) and got as much done as I could in an hour. In my first hour, I cleaned both bathrooms (including the tub) and picked up the living room. It was a good start.

This weekend, I tried it again. I skipped the tub (it’s still clean!) and was able to clean both bathrooms, all floors, and pick-up the living room. Things look really good! I turn on some music, I focus on my backlog of cleaning tasks and stuff gets done.

Why Power Hour Rocks

At the end of one hour, I’ve gotten a lot done and I really, truly feel done. Time-boxing allows me to set aside the time for a specific task and forgive myself for what didn’t get done. If I hold Power Hour every week, I can pick-up the unfinished tasks the following week.

What tasks would you work on during Power Hour?


  1. I love the use of your power hour. Would a power nap be a good one for the power hour?

    PS – only way I keep my house clean is to avoid buying new things and always (do my best to) put things back in its place immediately.

    • amberrking

      October 15, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Marie Kondo would be proud. That’s her whole strategy for staying organized is giving everything a place and making sure everything gets back to its place! I think a power nap is a great use of your power hour if you’ve got an infant at home! 🙂

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