What’s a Focus Zone?

The Focus zones section of HomeRoutines is based on the popular idea of breaking your home into chunks or areas. Each focus zone contains one or more rooms, and each room has a list of detailed cleaning tasks.  HomeRoutines comes with some basic tasks and rooms as example content as a starting point for you to customize for your place.

(Update 2024: we have exciting things in the work, including more flexible zone scheduling. Join our mailing list on the front page to stay in touch!)

These are the tasks that you want to do every month or so. Ideally, if you do a few of these jobs each week, your house will stay wonderfully clean. Then you won’t have to run around like a headless chicken because somebody’s coming to visit (oh? is that just me?), or have to do a massive spring clean all at once.

You can choose to have 5, 6 or 7  Focus zones. You can create as many rooms as you like, allocate tasks to each room, and rearrange the rooms within the zones how you like, to match your system or the one you follow;  the default placement of of the rooms is an example only based on our place!

The most popular focus zone rotation is to focus on one zone per day of the week.  For example, you might do a detailed clean in your kitchen and dining room on Mondays, your living room on Tuesdays, Bathroom and laundry on Wednesdays, and so forth.

HomeRoutines focus zone can also change once a week, so you can focus on that area of your house a bit more than usual that week – you will be able to focus a little more with a bit more time.

This follows similar scheduling rules to the one used by the “flylady” system,  and moves through zones 1 – 5 for each week, or partial week, of a calendar month, and starts again from zone 1 at the start of the next month. It means you might only have a couple of days in zone 1 and 5 depending on which day of the week the month starts. This schedule is generated automatically each month. Our calendar’s Focus zones encompass the whole weekend, not just the weekdays (I don’t get the weekend off at my place!)

If you don’t want to follow that schedule, you can switch the scheduling off and just work at your own pace.

Also, I’ve found the Focus zones to be a great recording place for other home-based to-do items, such as hanging a picture, decluttering a bookshelf etc. You could pretend you’re an interior decorator and note down all the little improvements in each Focus zone, and then chip away at them over time. It’s a good reminder system in general, and one off-tasks like that can be deleted when they’re done.

And things like cleaning the curtains, or the oven, or checking smoke detector batteries and so on, can still go under the appropriate Focus zone. Sometimes you’ll just want to check if something wants doing or not when you’re in that Focus Zone, and you may even have the glorious junction of the oven needing cleaning and you feeling like cleaning an oven! I don’t know if there enough gold stars in the world for me…

Or you can make a task in your kitchen zone called “September: Clean the oven. No, really.” If you think that will help.