We didn't have much time to do an entire house worth of housecleaning chores, so...
We invented yet another way to get it done. By my count, this is the 1,784th time I have reincarnated the mantra: "Let's do chores this way! How fun!" (hiding grimace)
Dividing the house up by room, we spent only five minutes on each room. We glanced over the sheet that shows each task for each room (wash window, vacuum, dust, etc) and we attacked each room like a swarm of hungry hyenas.
As soon as the alarm buzzed that five minutes was up, we sat down on the newly cleaned carpet in the very center of the newly cleaned room and played a game of Blink. It's a card game based on visual pattern / color / number matching. It's a lot like Speed where the first person to play all their cards wins; no turns, just speed.
A game of Blink takes about three minutes. Shuffling before the game takes one minute. Joking around after the game takes another minute. Five minutes total to recoup and get that happy-happy-fun-fun vibe going strong.
At the end, I was utterly baffled. There was only one room that had left-over tasks after five minutes (the kitchen, always the kitchen). How on earth did we clean it that fast? Why had we taken so long in the past to clean each room?
This experience was a testament to the fact that there is massive variability into the "appropriate" length of time needed for any given task.
Reminds me of a quote I really like, from a friend, "In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become oddly faithful to trivial tasks."
The five minute time frame gave us a clearly defined goal (even with a buzzer at the end, goody!) and the promise of a game gave the kids the laser beam focus.
The pinnacle was when Eee said, "I've never had so much fun doing chores."