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Do What You’re Doing

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Years ago my mother introduced me to an extraordinary, out-of-print book on house cleaning, which has stuck in my mind ever since.

It was a thin, battered paperback from the early 1990s called Speed Cleaning, and it tells you how to clean a whole house in 42 minutes. Both of us were so impressed with its clarity and confidence that we resolved to learn its methods before it had to go back to the library.

Speed cleaning takes persistence to master, and I didn’t persist for long. But I did enough of it to experience its great revelation: cleaning, or any other challenging task, when done with a certain vigor and wholeheartedness, becomes strangely easier, even as you do more work in less time.

Another copy recently entered our lives, and I think I understand better what creates this effect.

The author is a house cleaning professional, and the book is essentially his method. Every action you will take is described in complete detail, right down to what tools and supplies to carry in your apron—you must have an apron—what type of cloths to use, what direction to toss them in when they’re soiled, where to position your bucket so that it’s not in the way, and how to cover the whole room without wasting a movement.

There’s a rule for everything, each to be memorized and drilled. Divide the room into vertical, oven-width sections, and clean top to bottom and left to right. Don’t backtrack. If it’s not dirty, don’t clean it. Use both hands, aiming to “finish one step with one hand and start the next step with the other.” Time yourself. Try to get faster every time.

As I said, I did not master speed cleaning, but I did experience its magic in short stretches. These little runs were glorious—gliding smoothly across kitchen cupboards and surfaces, drawing and re-holstering the appropriate tool for each scuff and splotch, laying down perfect vertical swaths of clean, as though I were a human squeegee that conforms to every crevice.

It wasn’t just my usual cleaning experience at a higher speed. It felt like a different activity. It was physically harder work, but there was no tedium or ambivalence. No sense that I was hacking away at something big and stubborn.

My intuitive cleaning strategy is to get the task behind me while alleviating the tedium with music or podcasts, and maybe bringing a cup of coffee around with me. While my body dutifully sweeps and scrubs, my mind mostly goes elsewhere, to plan, reminisce, ruminate, or sing along with the Thompson Twins.

Speed cleaning, on the other hand, is such a demanding activity that it requires the mind to be just as engaged as the body.

Which is why one of the rules—not suggestions—is to pay attention to the work itself, even when it seems like you don’t need to:

Pay attention. Almost everything else will fall into place if you do. Don’t think about revisions in the tax code. Or anything else. In Latin: Age quod agis—”Do what you are doing.”

I take this to mean something more than just “don’t get distracted from the act of cleaning.” I interpret it as, “bring all of your concern to exactly the task you’re on now,” whether it’s wiping away soup spatters from the stovetop, or dragging the coffee table aside so you can vacuum.  

The body does the labor, but the mind must be right there with it, running through cabinet-door grooves alongside the fingers and cloth.

As intense as it is to work this way, it’s much easier than working without devoting all your attentional resources. When the mind is fully engaged—nothing held back for daydreams or singalongs—there’s no tedium and little displeasure.

And that’s because there’s no room for them. The mind has a full-time job, and therefore no time to formulate complaints. Once you’re cleaning at speed, if you need to move the rattly old spice rack to wipe under it, you just do it, and there isn’t time to be annoyed that you have to.

“Do what you’re doing” sounds trite. But it draws your attention to the self-defeating inner resistance that often underlies challenging tasks.

Sometimes I catch myself dragging my feet during workouts, dawdling before the next set. Reminding myself to “Do what I’m doing” reveals the absurdity of my approach: trying not to work out while I’m working out.

While writing, when I’m stuck somewhere I often rationalize quick checks of email or Instagram. It’s a normal enough behavior that doing it doesn’t feel self-defeating. But when I ask myself—am I doing what I’m doing?—the answer is clear.

I may be a hard case, but it seems like every time I question whether my efforts are divided, I find they are. Almost any bogged-down task starts to flow the moment I ask myself, “What am I doing, and am I actually doing it?”

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Photo by jeshoots

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{ 65 Comments }

Lee November 26, 2019 at 2:51 am

This rang a bell. Years ago I stumbled into a small commercial cleaning business. When I bought it it was overstaffed and underperforming, and not making much profit. I sold it 3.5 years later, having become the 14th biggest commercial cleaning business in the state and returning $14,500 a month clear profit for 22 hours a week of work.

Without realising it I was using a Buddhist form I’d read about years before. Kensho is the distraction; the things that fill your mind with anything other than what you’re doing. Satori is doing what you’re doing (immediate enlightenment). In this state, I did the work of 4 staff inside those 22 hours without exhausting or hurting myself, and while still achieving perfect 10s in every client monthly assessment.

Here’s what I learned: If you make it feel like work, it is. If you make it feel like satori, kensho falls away and becomes incredibly uninteresting.

Life in every breath.

A nice reminder. Thanks, David.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 8:59 am

Thanks for this insider’s view, Lee. Yes… I didn’t get into it but there is some kind of spiritual connection relevant to this way of working. Enlightenment is about seeing through the self, and overcoming the internal conflict that creates suffering, and speed cleaning is all about getting out of your own way.

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John Brier November 27, 2019 at 9:16 am

This is also called flow state.

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Vilx- November 26, 2019 at 2:53 am

Hi there! Your friendly neighborhood grump here! :) But this time I’m not here to disagree, rather to add my own experience.

I’m a computer programmer by trade. I have been programming for 23 years and the last 14 of those it’s been my full time job. And this skill – devoting your mind 100% to a task – I find that it goes hand in hand with computer programming. I learned this along with programming. While forcing my mind to focus on code I also learned to focus on a task completely and 100%. Put everything else out of your mind, find “the zone”. Programming benefits immensely from this, to the point where I’m not sure if it’s even possible to do it without it.

I do find however that I also have some drawbacks. I’ve gotten so reliant on this method in my everyday life that I find it hard _NOT_ to use it automatically. But the one thing that this method does not play well with is multitasking. Remember the “put everything else out of your mind” part? Yeah. No room in there for two tasks at the same time. I very much like to finish one thing and only then start with the next one, so that I don’t need to switch my mind back and forth. It’s actually often – well, if not exactly a problem, then certainly an inconvenience.

For example, it’s one of the reasons why I find cooking challenging, because there’s a lot of multitasking happening there (well, unless you want to spend the whole day in the kitchen by doing things one at a time). Now, when I’ve rehearsed a recipe to the point where I don’t need to _THINK_ about it – then I can perform it easily, yes. But when I need to deviate from the beaten path (or, god forbid, improvise), it’s a challenge.

And, of course, sometimes things just keep intruding in your mind and you just can’t focus. That happens too. But when you really, really get into it – it feels awesome. :)

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Ashley Kung November 26, 2019 at 5:02 am

I’ve experienced that with programming as well and it definitely feels awesome. I really like your example of the kitchen though, because it can feel hectic and you’re having to go back and forth cooking multiple things at once. Have you ever used Blue Apron? They send you a meal recipe with only exactly the ingredients you need. They set up the instructions so you can get as close as possible to doing things in a perfect order where when one dish is in a “downtime” like it’s baking or simmering or marinating, you move on to prep other things. As long as you follow the steps stop to bottom, you don’t really have to think about anything other than the step you’re on, similar to what the article is suggesting, and you end up with your finished meal at the end. This sounds like what you do when you rehearse a recipe – I never thought about trying that myself but it makes a lot of sense. True though that you’d need some quick thinking if your plan gets derailed.

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Vilx- November 26, 2019 at 11:18 am

Nah, it’s not THAT much of a problem, I can adapt. :) Also, I’m not from USA, but from Latvia, so I don’t think Blue Apron will be an option for me (although I haven’t checked it out, I could be wrong). Anyways, this reminds me about a website called “cooking for engineers” which also has a ton of recipes with exactly this approach – step by steap. They even have these nice diagrams!

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Ashley Kung November 26, 2019 at 1:30 pm

“Cooking for engineers” sounds cool. Thanks! I’m gonna check that out.

David Cain November 26, 2019 at 9:06 am

Vilx! If I didn’t make it clear before, I’m always happy to hear from you. Your counterpoints are always very good. I don’t consider you a grump :)

I appreciate hearing about your mental approach to programming because I think definitely sway the other way… I’m always jumping around and have trouble single-tasking. That is probably one of the reasons I never became a computer programmer, even though I went to school for it — I remember having trouble isolating one concern from everything else in the program. Everything felt hopelessly connected to everything else. Not that I’m a brilliant cook either :)

Some part of me really years for the hyper-focused logical problem solving entailed by programming. If I could do things over again I might just dive right into it.

There are times though when I am completely absorbed in writing. What’s outside the screen goes away and effectively doesn’t exist during that time.

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Vilx- November 26, 2019 at 11:21 am

Naah, don’t worry, I was just joking. :)

As for programming – well… maybe give it another go? With your newfound philosophy, it might even be easier. Just do it at your own pace and try to find the fun in it. For me it’s the ability to make the computer DO things. It’s like a creative outlet – you start with this passive inert machine, and as you write instructions for it, it slowly becomes alive and starts to show things and react to your actions, and maybe even make sounds and whatnot. You’re literally making something from nothing and you’re not limited to just one medium either – visual, audio, interactions – it’s all there for you to play with! :)

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:40 am

Everything you said definitely appeals to me, and programming is more attractive to me than it ever has been. There is a simplicity to it that I don’t think was accessible to me before. I need a simple way to start, because for now it could only be a hobby. Can you recommend a book or some clear way to begin?

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Vilx- November 26, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Well… hmm… I don’t really know. I haven’t had the need for a tutorial for ages, but there are lots of them on the internet for every occasion. Maybe I can give some general ideas. There are a lot of new possibilities today that didn’t exist 15 years ago.

If you were starting from scratch, I’d suggest trying one of the visual languages, such as Scratch or code.org. They let you program by dragging blocks which I think is a great way of understanding the basics. However if you’ve already had schooling for it, this might be too simple (then again I think there’s some fun to be had with them anyway, seeing how far you can push them).

For the next level, I’d suggest first figuring out what you want to make. For example, I’ve always found computer games fun to make. And today you can get tons of assets (art, sounds) for free too. You can also make a MOD (short for MODification) for some game that you like. Some games, like Skyrim, even include an official toolset for modding them. Definitely lots of fun to be had there. In addition, if you like the social element, there are “Game Jams” where people come together for a weekend to make games. Great stuff made and great way to spend time.

Then again, all this probably is more fun if you also enjoy playing the games, and I don’t know what your relationship with them is. :)

Another fun thing is playing with hardware toys. Things like Micro:Bit and Arduino are the first to spring to mind – they are both pretty cheap and have tons of various fun addons. You might also get some mileage out of a Raspberry Pi. Then there’s also Lego Mindstorms and it’s little cousin Lego Boost. Those are more expensive but if you have a pile of old legos from your childhood lying around the possibilities are limitless!

Or perhaps making webpages is what tickles your fancy? Start with HTML and CSS, then go for Javascript. I’m afraid I can’t point to any good tutorials, but there must be many out there. When you get to server side, I suggest using Node.js. PHP is more popular, but the language is still kinda awkward (slowly getting better though) and you might pick up some bad habits along the way.

If you want to try out a more “serious” language I can suggest C#. It’s very versatile, you can use it for anything (desktop apps, webpages, games, whatever), and Visual Studio is one of the best IDEs made by mankind ever. Did I also mention it has a free “Community Edition”?

If you have any more questions, or other ideas, I’ll gladly answer. :)

Ashley Kung November 26, 2019 at 3:37 pm

If you are interested in web development, I highly recommend The Odin Project. It is comprehensive, you learn by doing, and the course doesn’t hold your hand every step of the way, so although challenging, it will deepen and solidify your learning much more than other potential courses (in my personal experience).

Segun Babalola November 26, 2019 at 7:47 pm

David,

“Confident Coding” by Rob Percival is a great way to “re”-ease yourself into coding..it’s a fun, simple to follow book I just started using after running away from programming almost two decades ago and now finding myself back here..:)

David Cain November 27, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Thank you everyone for the suggestions!

Cam December 11, 2019 at 10:40 pm

I agree with Vilx in that Scratch and Code.org are amazing resources to start with and C# being a great language to dive into when you’ve grasped some basic concepts.

I wanted to teach myself (I’m an artist/designer) to program with enough skill to develop video game prototypes. I settled on Unity and C#, followed some tutorials online (GamedevTV and Brackeys are incredible resources just to name two) and it wasn’t long before I could create some fun mini-games/experiences.

It’s extremely satisfying to bring life to a little character, to make them move or jump etc. It is even MORE rewarding if you have young children/nieces/nephews etc handy that can play your game. Watching their emotions as they play it and ask you to play “that game” again is such a wonderful feeling.

Ashley Kung November 26, 2019 at 4:43 am

Trying not to do whatever while you’re doing whatever. Wow! Seems so obvious now but I do that too. All that resistance is so self-sabotaging but I do bring that attitude of actively fighting doing something while doing something. Now that I see it maybe it’ll be a reminder to go all in and just do what I’m doing. Thank you.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 9:09 am

I think this self-interference is a major force in our lives, but it’s under the radar. Human beings have such complex minds that we can hold conflicting desires — we want to stay up late, and go to bed; we want to eat the donut and not eat the donut. We want to do the work and not do the work. The “Do what you’re doing” motto shines a light on this conflict at least.

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Anne November 26, 2019 at 5:04 am

Thankyou David. Timely, as I’ve just started to read “The Power of Now”. On a silent retreat last week, I was literally driven to distraction by my over-busy mind, and came home resolved to try to improve my focus and learn to ignore the background buzz of random thoughts and impulses. While on retreat I also found it very difficult not to go online – a major cause of distraction for me, as for most of us. I suspect that letting go of casual browsing and substituting an intentional activity such as reading would be a big step towards re-learning the art of concentration.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 9:12 am

Silent retreats are amazing for revealing the torrent of thought we live in. It seems like we’re thinking more, but we’re just more aware of it.

It’s great that you’re able to step outside the torrent a bit. We can’t stop it but we can step aside a little bit, and a little sidestep, even occasionally, goes a long way. I’m working on an article about just that.

If you like the Power of Now, the follow up is great too. I should revisit them both.

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Nancy November 26, 2019 at 5:14 am

Great post. Great advice. I’ve been bogged down by a lot of things lately and despite learning this very thing in my meditation practice and pushing myself daily to do that practice, I’ve essentially forgotten to do what I’m doing. It’s great to have this reminder. Sometimes we just need someone else to remind us what to do ;)

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 9:17 am

Funny you mention meditation, because as I was meditating this morning, I kept realizing the same thing — I was not really doing what I was doing. I was sitting, but much of the time not really doing the technique. Distraction is always a part of the picture, but this not-really-doing- was happening on top of that. The motto really helped me.

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Jane Angell November 26, 2019 at 5:14 am

David, absolutely loved this – thanks so much. I used to use cleaning as a slow process during which I could listen to an audio book or music to ‘take my mind off it’. I also exercise while watching something to ‘take my mind off it’ – and yet I describe myself as a mindfulness practitioner! Your post challenged me to think about these distraction! (Also, my house is not clean and not tidy, and your post is a simple practical prompt!) Thanks as always.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 9:20 am

I’m glad you liked it Jane. I’ve fallen into the habit of listening to a podcast while I do dishes, which seems harmless enough. But since I started doing that I feel like I can’t do it without, which is ridiculous. I didn’t realize how ridiculous it was until I met someone who said she couldn’t do dishes without setting up a movie on her ipad beside the sink. It gave me a lot of perspective.

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Ravi November 27, 2019 at 7:16 am

timely comment for me, I think.

I am mostly on business trips to some east asian countries, so it is obvious that I am alone.

Since no one is around, i keep watching youtube to a point where one cannot image.. I keep playing youtube all activities, like relaxing, bathing, brushing, travelling, etc… I am not able to sit idle without listening anything.

I know I am going overboard.. but trying to control it by using your article as a starting point…

Thanks…

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Kent Fackenthall November 26, 2019 at 6:02 am

This is great. I might have to check out that book – however, I came to this sort of ‘realization’ some time ago, and like Lee, the first commenter, from a Buddhist angle. Whenever I hear someone talk about focusing or concentrating completely on what they’re doing at the moment, I always think of Shunryu Suzuki’s words from ‘Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind’:

“When you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely. If you do not burn yourself completely, a trace of yourself will be left in what you do.”

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 9:26 am

There is a close spiritual connection here. Doing what you’re doing, fully, leaves no room for the inner conflicts that makes life so fraught.

You would really like “When Awareness Becomes Natural” by Sayadaw U Tejaniya. He talks about cultivating ongoing awareness at all moments of the day, challenging as that sounds.

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Kent Fackenthall November 26, 2019 at 9:44 am

Thanks! I’ll check it out.

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Mike Derbyshire November 26, 2019 at 6:24 am

I had a wise mentor (still do I guess) who put this same concept in a different turn of the phrase. His advice to me was “When you are in the room, be in the room.” It really stuck with me.

He was using it in the construct of meetings, and talking with people (in a policing environment) but it applies to pretty much everything and goes back to one of your earlier posts about mindfulness.

Thanks for the great reminder about his wonderful advice. I will be using it today as I do some “stuff” that is not particularly enjoyable – but needs to be done!

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Ashley Kung November 26, 2019 at 6:48 am

I like that way of looking at it too, “When you are in the room, be in the room.” Thanks for sharing!

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 9:32 am

Yes! It seems so simple, and it is, but it’s not how we normally carry ourselves. We’re doing something physically while simultaneously trying to navigate our self-concept through the abstract maps in our heads. We have to practice simply doing what we’re doing and being where we’re being, because we’re not used to it.

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Brian Cornelson November 26, 2019 at 7:14 am

Great advice! Mindful cleaning. I clean my own home instead of hiring someone to do it because I take the opportunity to be consciously grateful for all I have instead of taking it for granted. I also take the opportunity to revel in the cleanliness and order when I’m done; “I did that.” Bonus: living in a clean and tidy environment is good for the soul.

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Trixie November 26, 2019 at 8:12 am

What a great perspective! Whenever I am feeling resentful or underappreciated while cleaning or doing laundry or whatever domestic chore, I tell myself to be grateful I am physically able to do it myself, but I like your approach, too! I will try it.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:09 am

I love that. Cleanliness is intrinsically rewarding, especially when you get to live in it after. The reward remains as long as it remains clean.

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Brian November 27, 2019 at 9:31 pm

True that. It’s also a motivator to keep things clean. I always do a quick tidy before I go to bed so that I awaken to order (OCD, anyone?) It’s much easier to clean a tidy room than a messy one; that’s actually two separate jobs.Also, after I use the bathroom morning and evening I take about a minute to wipe down the sink and counter, so I never have to “clean” them. Bonus: no yuck factor when I use the bathroom the next time.

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Anna November 26, 2019 at 7:51 am

I love being in the zone whether it’s cleaning or whatever I’m doing and I love catching myself out resisting making the task twice as hard and take much longer.Nowadays I can just catch myself and have a chuckle. As a teacher I found students were never really allowed to be completely immersed in a task; the system required them to be constantly moved onto the next thing before they were ready or getting distracted by bells or another external irritant. I too found I got so distressed being constantly jerked out of my concentration by outside demands that I couldn’t allow myself to be fully in the task. Schools are not very good places for concentration, sadly.

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Steven November 26, 2019 at 8:12 am

Thanks for sharing this. Great reminder and example of being present and how fulfilling and functional it is.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:11 am

You’re right… I don’t think we usually associate presence with the word “functional,” but it is very functional. It’s not just simpler and cleaner in the mind, but it’s more efficient.

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Tonya Stumphauzer November 26, 2019 at 9:04 am

This is why I love playing taking classes in beach volleyball and playing. I’m moving my body, but I’m also thinking of the technical things involved to improve. I’m not thinking about anything else. It’s the flow state. It’s brilliant!

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:13 am

I think that’s one reason humans are attracted to intense activities — they force you to be absorbed in the activity, so it creates a freedom from the push and pull of the conflicted idle mind.

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juliano paula November 26, 2019 at 9:21 am

This is awesome! My father works in this manner and taught me to do the same. He has been doing physical labor for 35 years and has never complained about the work he does. He does not get bored and does not talk about retirement. I use this mind set in my workouts and its had the same positive effects. Come in with a goal and smash that goal with a focus on every movement. Thanks for sharing your insights with the world David. I appreciate you.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:14 am

Thanks Juliano. I aspire to be like your father!

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susannah November 26, 2019 at 9:29 am

I share a house with many younger people.
One fishes, so there is constantly bait in process.
Entropy is the total force in this house.
Eventually when I just can’t bear it, I do this……..
and for the whole day everything is chaos as everything is taken apart and cleaned.
Parts that are left for ages.
Spiders are a big part of it.

These power cleaning sessions always start with a certain amount of resentment.
Then the hand will pick something, move something and next thing this body is just doing what needs to be done.
The mind gets bored and fades away.
Truly a great practice.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:18 am

Power seems to be a vital component. To work this way is to do the task with power, and it’s too much for that resentment to survive long. It gets in the way of the power.

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Brenda November 26, 2019 at 9:30 am

This post resonates with me. Over the years, even though I like having a clean house, I have gotten so that I really dislike cleaning. Mostly because as I clean, I ruminate. I think about my dysfunctional childhood, conversations with other people, overthinking everything. My mind wanders so bad that it is hard to enjoy the actual act of cleaning. Often when I am finished cleaning, I am not in a very good mood.

Along the same vein, for the past few years I have been going to a gym where all you have to do is show up. You follow along with the class, and are told what to do by a coach, and the mind cannot wander in that class. I have to pay close attention or else I miss a cue or risk the possibility of getting hurt. I have to be present in the workout, and I always come out feeling so good (the endorphins are probably a component of that).

It has never occurred to me to incorporate the mindful workout approach to my cleaning approach. I’m going to try it and see what happens. Maybe with time and practice, I will enjoy cleaning once again.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:25 am

I have something similar going on… negative rumination and overthinking, which flares up at times. My mindfulness practice has helped tremendously. I see this as a different practice — occupying the mind with something challenging so that there’s no room for anything else.

What I didn’t think of until I read your post was the connection between certain activities (like cleaning) and the aversion to the rumination. If rumination comes up when I do something I’m likely to avoid it. Speed cleaning must have eliminated that, which is part of why it felt so great.

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Réjean Lévesque November 26, 2019 at 10:01 am

My mother would say,” Don’t squeeze, turn.” when I was grunting and grumbling, trying to open a recalcitrant jar. And then she would demonstrate the trick. So, spend your energy doing tasks in an appropriate way.
-I value your thoughts about getting better at being human. 29 of your thoughts are now in my database of The Frictionary and 19 of them have appeared in my blog “The Frictionary”.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:28 am

Hey Réjean, the Frictionary looks great. I’m honored to be included.

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Rocky November 26, 2019 at 10:19 am

“There is no good singing, there is only present and absent”
-Jeff Buckley
David, this quote from you was a complete game changer for me in this area. Many people would never imagine that it’s possible to be singing in front of several thousand people and at the same time be thinking about what you’re going to have to eat after the show. Thanks for another great post!!

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:29 am

Ah, my favorite. Thanks Rocky.

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Dora November 26, 2019 at 10:30 am

I remember reading this book David. I still remember his advice for washing a floor. i believe the authors name was Asslett or something like that. Great Post, by the way.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:30 am

It’s a classic, and apparently many fans really want an updated version to be released. I think his name is Jeff Campbell?

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Allyson November 26, 2019 at 10:35 am

Spot on, yet again, David. Thank you. I have a tendency to pride myself on being a multitasker. Always multiple tabs open and as ideas pop up I can slide over and apply where it fits. But recently I have not only become aware that this can be hazardous to my health and more importantly to my accuracy…I do not actually get “more done” … it’s a false feeling of success for sure. ‘Do what you are doing’ is such a nice simple phrase and today I will apply as often as I can! So many places in our daily lives that this could be ever so useful. Thank you! I always look forward to Tuesday’s email.

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David Cain November 26, 2019 at 11:31 am

“Multiple tabs open” is an appropriate symbol of our times. We need more than ever to remind ourselves to do what we’re doing, because there are just so many opportunities to split our intentions.

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Lisa November 26, 2019 at 1:04 pm

This reminds me of my dad, a hard working guy for sure. He used to say that there was no such thing as hard work. There was just work, and you do it. I don’t remember ever hearing him complain about having to do something.

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Debbi November 26, 2019 at 1:44 pm

The book is still available as an ebook from the people who bought the site from the original owners (it is thecleanteam.com). I still get my replacement schmop covers from them.
I agree; the how to tips in the book were helpful but the idea of being fully present was the game changer. There is a tradition in many Catholic orders of doing every task, no matter how menial it appears, for the glory of God. I think this is getting to the same core idea. Things are only mundane and beneath us if we choose to decide they are meaningless and do not give them our full attention. This also applies to small actions like putting away the phone and sharing a kind word with the cashier in the grocery store. When we are focused on being fully present, there are so many opportunities to bring joy to ourselves and our fellow travelers.

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David Cain November 27, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Thanks Debbi. Glad to know there’s an ebook version.

When I looked up the phrase “age quod agis” most of the results were from Catholic pages. Doing things with your whole self and whole heart does seem to have spiritual implications.

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Bethany November 26, 2019 at 5:30 pm

Love your work. Was ready to sign up as a Patreon supporter, but then noted the cookie policy. Do you have a cookie-free option?

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David Cain November 27, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Hi Bethany. If I’m not mistaken almost all sites use cookies now, but you can always turn off cookies on a browser level. They give more details on the policy page: https://www.patreon.com/policy/cookies

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Marna November 27, 2019 at 7:40 am

I also read “Speed Cleaning” back in 1998, bought the equipment he recommended, and adopted his methods. I still use his techniques today. Holsters on the apron for spray cleaners? Brilliant!

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David Cain November 27, 2019 at 2:26 pm

You are an inspiration to me! I want to get to the point where it’s all internalized.

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Tom November 29, 2019 at 8:14 pm

Speed Cleaning is a great resource. We’ve had the book for years. Yes, be here now, do what you are doing… I am harmonious when I am in my flow… Whether building a barn on the ranch, visualizing a pasture fence and putting it together, fixing a vehicle or chopping wood, when I’m in the flow, I am deeply centered and contented. My sleep later is profound and life enhancing, as are the many other “ripples” spreading outward from the stone toss of doing our work meditatively. DO what you are doing, and be fully present. The nourishing feedback to your inner self will surprise you.
A Colorado rancher…

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Mollasadra November 30, 2019 at 1:07 pm

hi
Thanks a lot

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Amir November 30, 2019 at 1:09 pm

Hi
best article

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Kathi D December 3, 2019 at 2:00 am

My first tennis teacher was fairly Zen. His most persistent entreaty was “the ball is where it is.” He would reinforce that as he reminded us that in order to hit the ball, we had to actually look at it, not at where we planned for it to go, or our partners, or a tree. See the ball, hit the ball.

Everything seems kind of simple when you focus on the one thing needing focus at each moment.

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Jan December 3, 2019 at 5:45 am

the universe is always trying to nudge us and often (i find) ironic and funny in the process…speed cleaning hah!
our western culture does not encourage us to see the mind as a tool and the consequence is that it becomes something akin to a riotous teenage monkey
and I fear modern tech is pandering to the little beast !
Thank you David for the reminder that we need to learn the mind not allow it to run the show !
I am an artist and I have found that when engaged in the creative process my mind behaves like the beautiful child it is at heart !

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