Somewhere along the line, one of our family mantras has become “20-60-20”.
20% Set up
20% Clean up
Coming home from an outing I will remind everyone as they exit the car, “20-60-20! Don’t forget the last 20!”. This has become my balancing focus for activities. If it takes more than 20% of the time to get things together, it just might not be worth the preparation. Or if the clean up is more than 20% of the process, I question if there might be a better way to organize or prepare for the event.
Our family likes to kayak. I had grown up occasionally kayaking on a small lake during family gatherings, and suddenly, on my 40th birthday I declared that I wanted to kayak. I didn’t want a red sports car, but a red kayak. We started with one, and soon the whole family was hooked. In the early stages, with small kids, our boat trips were 40% prep, 20% kayaking, 40% clean up. I almost threw in the life jackets and quit. However, with more thought on the prep and clean up, we are almost to 20% prep, 70% kayaking, and 10% clean up. We have bins for all the gear, keep them loaded with water bottles ready for filling, snacks to grab, river book, life jackets, gloves, and paddles. All we need to do is load and go. Clean up is easy, as everything goes back to the boxes for the next trip. This was not an overnight change, but each trip the process became smoother, the kids grew up, and a couple of summers later, we are on the river or lake on a regular basis.
20-60-20 Has also become my slogan for homeschooling. If the prep work for a science experiment, a sewing lesson, or a history project is going to take more time than the lesson, I rethink the purpose. Can I get a second lesson with all of the supplies that I have gathered or ordered? Can the project be left out and continued the next day so that we don’t spend more time setting up and taking down on repeat days? Is there a way to simplify the process between lessons and create a chain of overlapping clean ups with lessons. (20 minutes set up – 30 min. lesson – 10 min. clean up – 30 min. lesson – 10 min. lesson – 20 min. clean up.).
My goal is to get the most out of each “extended” lesson, enjoy the time with my children, build great relationships, and not spend my time adding more to my housework and chore list.
I’m always looking for other suggestions on simplifying the process for maximizing the fun . . .