People offered a lot of different advice and some of it was very useful. That weekend, I adopted intrepia's timer method, but adapted it to my needs-- first goal was actually cleaning up the apartment.
This all coincided with the purchase of a new phone. I set the timer on my phone for 15 minute increments, and worked on cleaning a part of the house for 15 minutes at a time. When 15 minutes was up, I would break for five minutes, and then set the time for another 15 minutes.
It made me more aware of how much time I spent cleaning. It also prevented me from dawdling or getting sidetracked, which was very useful. One thing I tend to do when cleaning: I will get to a book or stack of photos or something else fun to look through, and do that instead of cleaning. "Knowing" I "only" had 15 minutes, even self-imposed, made me focus more on finishing the task I had assigned myself, and meant I got a lot more done.
After that, I assigned a day per room: Mondays, being the day I'm usually home the latest, got "bathroom." Tuesdays, the day I tend to be home the most, got "Kitchen." Wednesdays are the living room, Thursdays are the front hall, and Sundays are the bedroom-- although I'm thinking of combining living room and front hall into the same day. I did this in my phone, so that every day, when I look at my calendar/overview for the day, it shows me that I need to clean that room.
For the first week, the rule was that I had to get the assigned room cleaned on its assigned day. I had actually taken a decent chunk of the work out that weekend, where I cleaned pretty diligently for a couple hours each day, so most days, I really only had to clean for the 15 minutes the timer was set for. Tuesday was the kitchen, and I had "saved" it for that Tuesday, instead of doing part of it over the weekend. So Tuesday was a lot of work.
The other room that really needed a lot of work was my bedroom. That waited until the next Sunday. The bedroom is still not really "done" done, but I have been making incremental progress, and I have been doing a good job of putting my clothes on hangers instead of on the floor.
I also took two pieces of advice from rosefox-- one, to make sure things have a place to go. I went out and bought an additional coat hook and a small rack meant for keys and mail. I hung these by the door to my apartment, and decided that they would only be for my coat, purse, scarves and earmuffs that I wear every day. I have done a pretty good job of only hanging those things on those hooks; I'm pretty pleased with myself for that. I bought some other things that would help me organize better, like some more hangers (I almost always seem to have only exactly as many hangers as I have clothes).
The other piece of advice I took was to look around the room every time I am leaving one room for another, and take with me anything that belongs in the other room. I've done pretty well with this, too.
I also began keeping a shopping list in my phone. The shopping list has everything I could possibly want/need on it, not just groceries. For example, right now, it has hard-soled slippers (to encourage myself to take the garbage out even if I'm in my pajamas), club soda, and a foldable rack for drying hand-washable clothes. Among other things. This way, when I am cleaning and think of something that could make cleaning easier/make my apartment more organized or efficient, I can write it down immediately. For example, I have a plastic container where I keep big heavy scarves that I don't wear as often, but it is overflowing. So I need another container to put more scarves in.
I also made a to do list in my phone. It has the more traditional errands and such, but I also put in things like cleaning chores that I can do, if I don't have enough cleaning to fill my fifteen minutes. For example, in my living room, the room is pretty clean now, but the desk is a mess. So one of the chores for living room cleaning day is to clean off my desk. Even my kitchen has been staying pretty clean, so one of the kitchen chores is to reorganize the food cabinets.
One thing that I have noticed that works about this is that when I do get something out, or dirty a dish, or anything like that, I feel much more inclined to clean it right away, because I know that otherwise, I will have more cleaning to do on the day for that room. So I have really not had more than one or two dishes in the sink, and I've kept my clothes on hangers, and put things away after using them. I have even been putting the remote control back down in front of the television set at night.
Along with all of this, I have also added a lot of other reminders to my phone. My favorite one is the one that tells me when to get ready for bed. Theoretically, my "bedtime" is 1 AM, but I usually start getting ready for bed at 1. The alarm goes off at 12:45, so that by 1, my teeth are brushed and my face is washed and moisturized. Then I am actually in bed by 1-1:15, instead of ending up in bed sometime between 1:30 and 2.
I'm pretty impressed!