Last week I had a quick visit from my nephew, Paul. He is a very bright young man and a nice kid to talk to. He is also very hardworking and efficient – in his own way. I found out Paul achieved one of his long-time ambitions by working from home, with no boss to hover over his head or a regular timetable. “Sometimes I would get up and know – nope, today is not my day to be productive, and call it off. Other times I would grind the hardest during the weekend or on some official holiday. The freedom to pick my spots and determine my schedule is worth more than almost any salary!”
“Good for the kid!”, I thought to myself with somewhat of parental pride. I always knew he would do good for himself. How cool would that be – to call your own number whenever you like it. You know what I mean: sometimes it seems like the world is conspiring against you – the car doesn’t want to start in the morning, your teenage kids are extra grumpy, or you just didn’t sleep well. And yet, you have to go to work because some appointments would not wait, or because you have customers to attend to. So how do you do it?
I have been in the cleaning industry for too long to know that you cannot be at 100% every single day. I have also found some tricks to help me get by the toughest days, and I believe that can be of tremendous help to more inexperienced cleaners. A quick reminder before I launch – I am not talking about health issues. If you are under the weather, stay at home or go to the doctor, but do not try to be the brave soldier – first, you are only risking to get worse, and second – you are not doing a particularly good job when you are sick.
Now that we have cleared that out of the way let’s get down to business. The first tip I have is to manipulate your daily schedule (if possible) so that you finish the toughest tasks first, while you still have more energy. Do not procrastinate, hoping things to get better as the day progresses – it usually gets worse. Most people are more efficient in the morning, so pick the most time and energy-consuming appointments before lunch and leave the office tasks for the end of the day, for example.
If you work within a team and have the opportunity to delegate some appointments to your colleagues, do not hesitate to do it. After all, that is the whole point in having someone who can cover your back. You know your customers better than anyone else, and understand that some people are more prickly, more demanding, and require more attention. It would be a terrible idea to go to such an appointment bringing your emotional or negative baggage with you. As a final step, I would even advise you to try and reschedule – ten positive visits can quickly be undone by a single negative one, do not forget that.
I wouldn’t take on new customers either if I had a bad day, for several reasons. You know the old cliche “you only have one chance to make a good first impression” – you can hardly do it if you moan and groan inside about your bad luck. In the cleaning industry, this is particularly true, because you have to be on top of your game especially during the first visit when you get to know the property and the person better, have to pay attention to the tiniest of details and should not allow anything to disturb your concentration. Besides, I can always sense if the person I talk to is in a positive state of mind – I would imagine the opposite to be accurate as well.
Up until now, I concentrated mainly on the things you should avoid. Let’s mention a few things you should seek if you are having a bad day – again, if you are in the position to manipulate your schedule. I have found out that the outdoor cleaning tasks like window polishing, gutter cleaning or some pressure washing job help clear my head. We have become such indoor animals these days that we sometimes forget how good it feels to get outside, even in the urban environment.
Another option would be to take on some sort of a cleaning task that relies more on equipment than your skill. Take for example large-scale office or industrial floor cleaning – you just ride the cleaning machine and let it do all the hard work while you consider the vagaries of modern existence.
And last but not least – some big sanitary task that requires a crew of colleagues. Nothing erases the negative thoughts of the day like a tough hygienic battle with your band of brothers. A large three-bedroom end of tenancy cleaning with a three-hour deadline sounds precisely like what the doctor ordered for your bad mood.
What about you? How do you deal with the bad days that never want to go away?