If, like me, your average day includes plenty of boring tasks, you may benefit from finding some ways to inject a little fun into them. Or, if this isn’t possible, at least a way to get through them without feeling a sense of dread and resentment.
Motherhood is made up of many components. One of them, unfortunately, is boring and mundane tasks. By far my least favourite daily task is clearing up after my children’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. I spend far too much of my time picking food up, wiping the floor, vacuuming, doing dishes, wiping the high chair, wiping food of the walls… I’m sure you know the drill.
I began to really resent the time I spent on this seemingly pointless task. Like a hamster on a wheel I knew I’d be right back in the same place, crouched on the floor picking up squished peas, next dinner time.
Then I decided I needed to find a way to use this dead time to my advantage. If there’s one thing I’m short of, its time. Aren’t we all? It made sense to try and use this huge chunk of time I spent clearing up children’s food every day in a more positive way. And making it fun would be an additional bonus.
I started to find ways to make more boring tasks more enjoyable. From laundry to boring work tasks there is a way to enjoy every boring chore and improve the hours you spend on them significantly:
Use Your Ears
One thing I really miss from my pre-motherhood days, is the ability to spend hours curled up with a good book. Since I became a mum, reading has become a rare treat.
However, while I’m scraping food off the floor, ironing or carrying out many boring household tasks I may not have the benefit of a spare pair of hands but my ears are still free. I can listen to podcasts on topics I find interesting or even listen to an audio book. It’s not quite the same as reading, but beggars choosers and all that.
Somedays I may listen to a TED talk while sorting laundry and others I may crank up some dodgy 90s tunes. Either way, there’s always some way I can use my sense of hearing to make a boring task more enjoyable.
Work In Short Bursts
If you have a short concentration span, as I do, breaking a task into manageable chunks with breaks in between is hugely beneficial.
I found this when I was studying and it applies equally to any time I’m chained to my desk or housework. Working for 30 minutes and then having a break to do something enjoyable, makes boring tasks much more bearable.
Taking a five or ten minute break every 30 minutes or so gives me the momentum to keep going. No one wants to be chained to a desk or an iron for too long – a sure fire way to decrease productivity and produce a resentful mind-set.
Keep reminding yourself how good you’ll feel when you’ve finished. I always try and harness some of the feelings of relief and satisfaction I know I’ll have when I’m done with a boring task and project it onto the here and now.
I also try and constantly remind myself why I’m carrying out the boring task. Sure, peeling bits of trodden on cheese off the kitchen floor is boring, yet think how clean the kitchen will be when I’m done (for an hour or so at least).
There is a reason behind every boring task. If there wasn’t a goal in sight, you wouldn’t be putting yourself through it. Focus on the goal. And remember once you’ve finished the boring job you can move forward onto something more fun.
Have A Reward
It doesn’t need to be anything major (though it can be if you wish) but having a reward lined up for when you’ve finished your boring task will help your keep going.
It can be something as small as a bar of your favourite chocolate or a glass of wine, but just having something to work towards will make the boring task much more palatable.
In the evenings, when I have boring admin work to do, I often reward myself with a favourite TV programme. The knowledge that the sooner I finish, the sooner I can watch it helps me power on through.
Have a Perspective Check
Right before I start a boring task, I find a little perspective check necessary. So I have to spend the next hour cleaning or entering data into a boring spreadsheet? At least I’m not living in a war torn country or walking for three days to fetch some water from a well.
A little perspective and gratitude for the comfortable, peaceful and abundant life I lead in comparison to so many others is a sure-fire way to help me enjoy a boring task. I try to remember how lucky I am to have the life I have. There are people around the world who would swap lives with me in an instant, squishy peas on the floor and all.
I hope this has given you some inspiration and will help make your everyday boring tasks a little more bearable, if not slightly fun.
Let us know if you have any other suggestions!