Dishes. Hoovering. Dusting. Putting a wash on. Taking out the bin. Changing the cat litter.
These are things we all must do (well maybe not the cat litter part, unless of course, you have cats) but they’re not exactly things that any of us want to do. Certainly not with any real enthusiasm anyway.
What is a chore anyway?
I mean, these things are called chores for a reason, right? Even the word chore sounds like a chore. The dictionary definition of a chore is: “A routine task, especially a household one” or “A tedious but necessary task” – how dull is that! It’s like we’re automatically programmed to hate these things, which is probably why so many of us procrastinate on even doing them in the first place.
That was most certainly the case for me. I remember this one hungover Sunday in particular when I struggled to find any clean plates or cutlery to eat with. This resulted in me phoning for a Domino’s pizza purely to save any effort involved in doing the dishes. Lazy as shit? Most definitely. But a lot of that was probably down to how rough I was feeling from the night before, so I’ll let myself off there.
The thing is, there have been plenty of times when I didn’t have the worthy excuse of a hangover to save me from doing the dishes or any other chore for that matter, so what did I do then?
What is it that finally made these boring, routine tasks bearable for me?
I started thinking to myself – if chores really are inevitable… (which they are unless you’re rich and famous) and boring as hell… (which I’m sure they are even if you’re rich and famous) then how can I at least make them a little less boring and therefore more bearable?
Why should I suffer from these mundane tasks that I know need to be done? How can I make these shitty tasks a little less shitty?
What’s the secret?
The great thing is that the solution to all of this is really simple, and it’s really not a secret at all. It’s likely something that you’ve already been doing, but maybe not something you’re really taking advantage of.
I realised that the problem with me was this constant feeling like I wasn’t really achieving anything worthwhile when doing chores. Yes, things were tidier, but the chores themselves always felt like a waste of time. It’s just mindless busy work I always thought to myself. It’s not really going to improve my life over the long term.
I don’t need to think about what I’m doing when I’m hanging up washing, cleaning the units or hoovering the floors. It was always as if I wasn’t really using my brains full potential. That’s when I started thinking to myself, is there something I can do alongside these chores that is both productive and enjoyable at the same time?
I thought of numerous things, but nothing that’s really doable when you’re hands are literally full of housework tasks.
Therefore, the only thing I could really think of was to listen to some music. The louder the better. Loud enough to drown out the clattering when washing the plates or the hoover when hoovering the floors. Loud enough to drown out the monotony of it all.
And guess what? It works!
Washing the dishes has went from being a chore I can’t be bothered with to something rather therapeutic. Hanging up the washing from something I’d procrastinate on to something I breeze through with ease. Cleaning the bathroom from something I’d always try to put off, to something I just do.
Listen to music – that’s it!?
No, not just music.
Lately, I’ve been hooked on podcasts and audiobooks. Podcasts such as The Tim Ferriss Show or The Art of Manliness Podcast are definite highlights and I recommend you check them out – they’re partly responsible for kick-starting this whole ‘life improvement’ thing I’m currently on. Just give any of their episodes a listen and you’ll instantly see what I mean. It does get addictive.
I find that music helps me finish chores at a quick pace, whereas podcasts and audiobooks slow me down. The slowing down isn’t always a bad thing though, it forces me to be super thorough. It’s like entering a state of pure flow, something which I would’ve never thought is possible when doing such boring domestic chores.
I’m definitely more productive when listening to self-improvement podcasts or audiobooks. That boost in productivity is usually more than enough to help me finish one chore and move on to the other. Even if I only absorb 1 worthwhile thing, it’s a mental win for me. Not only is my living space now in a tidy order, but it feels like my mind is too.
If you’re the sort of person who likes to work from a list, I recommend printing off a chores list. This could be something that you can work along with as you’re ticking off each completed chore. With each and every chore you tick off, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. That sense of accomplishment will help propel you forwards into completing the rest. It’s easier to stay in motion when you’re already moving.
If you’re looking for some handy chore lists to work from, check out these ones from the blog IShouldBeMoppingTheFloor.
So the next time you have a heap of boring chores needing doing, try what I suggested. Stick on some headphones, blast your favourite music or try switching things up with a podcast or audiobook. I guarantee the chores will become more bearable this way.