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Hate Chores? Make Them Less Painful with These Tips

Hate Chores? Make Them Less Painful with These Tips

Few of us actually enjoy doing chores. Even happiness guru Gretchen Rubin admits that one of her “pigeons of discontent” is having to do errands.

But, chores and errands are an inevitable part of responsible adult life. Even if you still refuse to consider yourself a “responsible adult,” you have to admit that stepping over mounds of dirty laundry and running out of clean plates to eat from can eventually get tiring.

So, how do you make this inescapable part of your life a little less awful?

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Sure, you can bone up on the latest productivity tools or learn how to put together a really killer to-do list. But let’s face it: actually doing the chores is still gonna suck. Which is why I like to play these little games to try to distract myself from how much I hate what I’m doing:

The Amazing Race: Chore Edition

    Are you the competitive type? Get out a timer and see how quickly you can wash those dishes, fold that laundry or dust the entire house. Then try to beat your record next time. (Just be careful not to get so wrapped up in speed that half the dishes wind up on the floor in pieces. That does not count toward your record.)

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    Better yet, get bonus points for delegating the work and try to get other members of your family into the competitive spirit. Can your husband wash the car faster than you can wash the dog? Can your son clean up his room (properly, not stashing everything in the closet) faster than your daughter can clean up hers? Up the ante with prizes like “winner gets to choose where we go out to eat.”

    Pump Up the Jams

    Nothing can make an unpleasant task more fun than some quality tunes. If you’re in an “I-hate-this-why-me” sort of mood, scream along with something horribly emo and allow yourself to feel the therapeutic effects of venting teen-style. If you can’t help but feel pumped every time you hear some quality jock jams, make yourself a playlist containing stadium song greats like “Eye of the Tiger” and “Get Ready for This” and pretend that instead of sweeping the floors, you’re playing the final minutes of the NCAA tournament.

    Dance around like a fool for some bonus calorie-burning points. Put on a jersey, even, if it helps get you there. The neighbors are probably going to think you’re weird anyway, so why not run with it?

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    I’ll Give You a Cookie if You Pick Up the Dry Cleaning

    Never underestimate the effectiveness of bribes, even self-assigned ones. Promise yourself that if you can get this particularly yucky project or errand over with, you can have [fill in a particularly tempting thing here]. Maybe it’s an hour of watching your favorite guilty-pleasure reality show. Maybe it’s a favorite drink or snack that normally doesn’t fall within your diet. Maybe it’s a well-deserved nap. The rarer the treat, the more effective its bribing power.

    (Don’t) Take It Out on a Customer Service Rep

    Granted, this one actually combines two things people loathe (chores and dealing with customer service on the phone), but bear with me. As long as you’re going to be stuck on hold for 20 minutes listening to crappy elevator music, you might as well get some stuff done around the house, right? Put the call on speakerphone and use your mounting frustration to infuse your chores with extra energy—especially once the rep actually comes on the line and starts giving you a hard time.

    You’ll probably have a more effective call since you’ll be channeling your anger into your chores instead of directing it at poor Joe in Idaho (who’s really just doing his job). And you’d be amazed how vigorously you can Swiffer a floor when you’re arguing over cell phone charges. Plus, at the end of it all, you’re rewarded by having knocked two dreaded things off your list in one fell swoop. Not too shabby.

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    What tricks do you have to get unpleasant tasks over with?

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    Published on July 17, 2018

    How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

    How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

    I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

    You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

    But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

    What is compartmentalization

    To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

    In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

    However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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    Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

    Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

    The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

    Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

    Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

    How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

    The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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    Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

    My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

    Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

    Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

    One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

    If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

    The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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    Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

    This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

    If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

    Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

    Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

    Reframe the problem as a question

    Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

    One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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    For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

    Choose one thing to focus on

    To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

    Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

    Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

    Comparmentalization saves you stress

    Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

    This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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