Turn the Task You Hate into One You Love

If you're like me, then you have a list of household chores you routinely put off. If you're me on a deadline, it's all of them. 😬 Whether you're avoiding laundry, changing the bedsheets, cleaning the fridge (groan!), or sorting through your son's toys, here are four tips on how to turn the task you hate into one you love... or at least one you can tolerate.

(1) Time it.

Chances are the task you've been procrastinating isn't as time-consuming as you've built it up to be in your mind. If you've made Dante's Peak out of a dust bunny, get real with yourself about how long it takes.

Yes, laundry clocks in at an hour+ for just one load (at least that's how long it takes on my older machines), but how much of that time is "active?" It's not like you have to take your clothes down to the stream and beat them on a rock. Once you turn on the washer, set a timer on your phone to remind you to come back to it and throw them into the dryer. Now go do something else.

Clean up your address book or dump some of the photos in your phone and reclaim much-needed storage. Write a blog. Write a book! It's your free time, so use it wisely.


(2) Schedule it.

For chores that require active participation, schedule it. By accepting how long it really takes--driving to the grocery is twenty minutes one way--I started looking at the chore of shopping in a different way. I scheduled it on my calendar for a Monday morning (no one goes to the grocery on Monday morning), and picked up a fancy coffee when I was done as a treat for the drive home. It made shopping more enjoyable, and face it, complaining while doing it wasn't helping to speed up the process.


(3) Just start.

Cleaning the juicer is a particularly heinous task. I'm grateful it's one my husband does 99.9% of the time! On the odd occasion I tackle the task myself, I have a few tricks to make myself get started. I either chop the veggies & fruits the night before or the next morning (before coffee!), I go to the fridge and pull out my ingredients. Getting started before giving it too much thought is the best way to get through any chore you don't want to do. As for the dreaded Cleaning of the Juicer? I work on gratitude and deep breathing while scrubbing while I appreciate the view of the trees in the back yard.


(4) It's all how you look at it.

It's rare to enjoy a "chore," but... why not try? On days when I'm head-down, fingers-on-keyboard, my body doesn't like me. Small tasks like putting my clothes away, emptying the dishwasher, or dusting take on a new meaning when I look at them a chance to give my brain a rest and improve my mood, which in turn improves my work. See your to-do list as meditation, exercise, or an excuse to listen to a podcast or audiobook. You might find yourself actually liking some of them.

Complaining can become a habit--a useless one that tanks your mood and scares away your friends. I remember once a good friend told me that every time her water bill showed up at the house, her husband would rant and rave about paying it. "It comes on the same day every month," she'd told me with a small laugh. "He shouldn't be surprised." Life is what you make it, and for those necessary evils (raking leaves, filling the car with gas, and mopping the kitchen floor), sometimes the biggest difference is made by starting with how grateful you are to have a yard to rake, a car to fill with gas and a kitchen floor to mop. 

You don't have to love doing it, but your outlook can make the process more enjoyable.

~Jessica Lemmon


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