Cleaning? How is that Gaming Related?

Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 14 September 2022

Cleaning has never been my strong point and after I was diagnosed with ADHD, my issues with it made a lot more sense. A lot of the things folks tell you to do, like creating routines, magically remembering to do things, etc, are just…a lot harder if not nigh impossible. And what works for one person (even someone with ADHD) might not work well for another. We have a cleaner who comes in every other week but stuff was easily getting out of hand between visits from our cleaning fairy. All of this has been a hurdle to getting back to gaming. I decided to do something about it.

So…it’s only be two weeks…but I found something that at least makes sense at the moment for me and it’s been helping. Importantly, it reminds me so much of games, I just had to share my thoughts about that portion of it.

The framework I’ve been using is called The Organised Mum Method. The creator is in the UK and it’s full of hovering and hobs. She provides a few routines for folks to use to keep their home tidier with limited effort.

The Organized Mum MethodThe Organized Mum Method

There are two “levels” of tasks that one does each day, Monday thru Friday. The level 1 tasks are things you do on each day and that list doesn’t change. The level 2 tasks change each day of the week with a slight twist. Monday thru Thursday are the same tasks for each day every week with Monday being Living Room, Tuesday being Bedrooms, etc. And then on Friday, it’s a Focus Day and it picks one area from an 8-week cycle.

For level 1 tasks, the idea is you do what you can in about 15 minutes. Since this level includes doing laundry, it definitely is not wall clock time but rather how much time it takes to do the active parts of the task. For level 2 tasks, you do 30 minutes of work, choosing the highest priority tasks first. So, can’t get to the dusting today? Do that first next week!

And the idea is that your week won’t become perfect within the first week but that the ongoing application of these little tasks will, over time, make your home cleaner.

I’ll be upfront, sometimes it over promises. Like the idea that your house will be clean in just 30 minutes a day (not including weekends). That time doesn’t include things that we are assumed to be doing, like dishes or laundry and the like. But that’s ok, it’s not important at the moment. I’m probably putting way too much thought into this but it reminded me of a board game or even D&D, on a few different levels.

The first similarity I see is the idea that you have certain actions to take each turn. Here the turns are days and you have two types of actions, the level 1 and level 2 ones. You are resource constrained in terms of those minutes, and so you pick the actions you can take, trying to get the best result with the resources you have left.

What I also am digging about it is that it’s a loose framework that’s primed for being extensible. Think D&D and our ability to use different methods for generating a character’s ability scores. Here each day has 2 types of tasks with the second group having a different meaning Monday thru Thursday than on Friday.

The other similarity I see, more for D&D than for some other types of games, is that it’s about incremental change rather than big flourish changes while also not getting such a large list that it becomes overwhelming. D&D has traditionally been about a bunch of smaller choices/actions leading to a larger outcome. This has the benefit of being less swingy (which isn’t for everyone). But the outcome is super clear and obvious and builds on itself over time.

If one uses the app, it will keep track of what you have and haven’t done, allow you to reschedule some tasks, customize each group of tasks, and congratulate you when you complete all of your tasks. It’s not quite gamified but still fairly nice.

If you think about games as finding ways to simplify and organize thoughts around a topic or genre and helps reproduce those experiences in a steady manner, it makes sense that a system that tries to simplify cleaning could feel comfortable to a gamer. If like me, you need to tame your house, you might want to give it a try.


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