How I Use My iPhone to Motivate Me to Clean (And It’s Not Just a Timer)

Cleaning, with a little bit of help from technology.
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As much as I love keeping a to-do list and relish the satisfaction that comes from checking each item off, I have a knack for finding every reason under the sun to put off a house chore. Since I enjoy the process of cleaning and the end result, I've come to realize that it's really the initial threshold of getting started that is such a hurdle for me—but a discovery of a simple phone feature changed that. It may sound ridiculous, but using the timelapse function is often all it takes to overcome procrastination—and distractions—and get cleaning. Here's why:

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Simply put, my phone is my single biggest distraction so when it's in camera mode, I can't use any other apps, and I definitely can't be checking Instagram every other minute. Plus, there's the fact that I'm being watched—even if that means I'm the one watching myself. Being filmed adds a much-needed layer of accountability since I don't want to see myself dilly dally when I watch the final video later on. 

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Timelapse acts like a timer but with one key difference: There are no visible units of time. This means you get the rush of adrenaline from being on a time-limit but don't actually know how many minutes or seconds have transpired. When something takes longer than I expect it to, I often begin to feel defeated and lose steam halfway through. Using timelapse creates the opposite effect of how time seems to slow when you're waiting for something and end up checking your watch every few seconds— it makes a task go by that much faster! 

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I'm all about mini-rewards throughout the day. While my rewards usually involve treating myself to something sweet to eat, a timelapse video can be even more indulgent because it satisfies my competitive edge. Although the result of cleaning—a clean, tidy space—is very fulfilling, I find it refreshing to see how quickly the process went. It's a fast-forward and behind-the-scenes peek (albeit at your own life)! More often than not, because of the timelapse effect, I feel like a ninja, even if that means I'm a ninja-sock-folder.