Cleaning can be difficult, especially if you’re not a type-A person who loves organizing for the fun of it. With back-to-school season here and pre-holiday preparations, the very thought of cleaning can be extremely overwhelming. Breaking more significant projects into smaller steps helps me get things on my long and ever-flowing to-do list, which ultimately helps me get things done, even if I get distracted. Another trick, besides my beloved to-do list method, to elicit deep focus while cleaning is “Junebugging.” It’s a method used by psychologists to help people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stay focused on tasks. Still, it can be beneficial for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.
So, what is Junebugging, exactly? The term is a metaphor for sticking to a task consistently, similar to how literal June bugs exhibit a behavior known as “site fidelity,” returning to the same area or location over time. Although scientists aren’t sure of the reason why June bugs demonstrate that behavior, the point is, they are dedicated to returning to a task and environment.
While it has a catchy name, the term is not a formal term in psychology; but more a colloquial one used to describe returning to an “anchor task” until it’s done. For cleaning, however, you can apply this technique by finding a smaller chunk of the project to tackle and focusing on the most challenging pain point of the task first, even if you get distracted, but the key is to return to the task at hand.
TikTok is also amplifying the trend, with the hashtag “Junebugging cleaning,” garnering 15.4 million views, showing people adopting and practicing the technique in their everyday lives. Many of its users appreciate the trend because the method takes the focus off cleaning and puts the onus on getting one task done, no matter how long it takes. This trend also removes the pressure to keep your home constantly clean and organized. It redirects that same perfection energy to what matters, making your home and living spaces comfortable.
Here are several tips to get your house in order using the “Junebugging” technique:
Pick your anchor task: Select the most challenging cleaning task, and decide on one specific place to work on so you won’t get overwhelmed; think of the bathroom or kitchen.
Set a timer: Establishing when you’ll be getting your work done can be helpful. That way, you can focus on deep work without taking a break immediately. You can play your favorite song or album and concentrate on cleaning during that period and making progress.
Ask for help: Working alongside someone to finish tedious chores can be a helpful way to stay motivated and engaged. Your cleaning partner can also help divide the work, allowing more time for you to rest and finish cleaning the other areas of the home.
Give yourself grace: Accept that you’ll wander off or be distracted or tired, but focus on returning to finish the work and additional projects.