• Keiko Yoneyama-Sims

Make it into a bite size

For the last few months, I have been dealing with my pre-teen son’s very messy room and try to figure out what I can do to get him clean his room.

I have tried usual tactics of remind him of time to clean up your room, lecturing him how clean room is good for him, and threatening him of me taking all the mess to trash.

well, nothing worked.

and so other day, out of despiration I told him ”please, just for the next 3 minutes, pick up only paper off the floor”.

and you know what happened?


He did clean paper and some socks too! he did more than what I asked for. a big win for me.

and looking back I think what worked is to specify smallest clear task.

Instead of “clean room” which is multi layered multi-step project into “pick papers off the floor“, which is single action item.

Also to limit time.

When you are to do something you don’t like to do, the task is just little bit easier when you know the end is near.

You can see the light at the end of the tunnel.


I think clearly letting him know “only 3 minutes” instead of “until all done”, made the initial hump smaller.


so making tasks simpler and short can make easier to get you started.

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Last Updated on July 9th, 2020