Today’s focus is a bit more challenging for many people. I’m talking about learning to love your daily labors. There are some folks who truly to enjoy cleaning. There are tons of people who love cooking. But for many, these things just feel like chores.
This lesson is all about gratitude, organization, and sense of accomplishment.
Remember that list of things you are grateful for? Go back to that list and see which ones are directly related to your daily labors. Grateful for a roof over your head? That sounds like a house to clean, to me. Grateful for your supportive spouse? That sounds like a person to cook for. Grateful for the shirt on your back? Suspiciously sounding like laundry to wash.
Now start a new page in your journal and make a list of the chores you dread doing. Maybe even list some of your daily tasks that are not “chores” in the traditional sense but that you still feel must be completed every day, like exercising or walking the dog, for example. Now next to each one of those write the reason you are grateful that you have that chore to complete each day. Some may be very tough and will require you to really dig deep.
Spend ample time on this – don’t rush through it. Think about each one of the chores on your list and what your life would truly be like if that chore was unnecessary. It is fun to think that if you had a maid you wouldn’t have to clean toilets. But the chore would still be necessary. In reality, if you didn’t have toilets in clean that would mean you are living without indoor toilets.
Now think of ways to make your chores easier. The best ways to make chores easier is to plan and be organized. Plan your meals, plan your cleaning routine, plan when you will do laundry, plan when you will sit down and balance your budget. Make a plan, write it down, stick to it. That is actually a big part of being organized. Work on organizing your tools, ingredients, and products. Knowing where everything is when you need it will make the task a little less overwhelming. Sticking to a plan can help you stay on top of things and not become so overwhelmed – whether that means keeping the living room clear of clutter or knowing what you are making for dinner every night this week.
Next, find ways to make it a little more interesting. Personally, the quiet and mundane nature of daily chores can be therapeutic, if I allow it to be. I’m an introvert and thrive when my mind has time to just be. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to keep my mind from whirling with all the things I need to get done, but if I really try hard to quiet my mind while I am working, I find I come out the other end somehow feeling rested and refreshed. But this isn’t for everyone. I have heard many people recommend listening to music while cooking and cleaning. That is my favorite thing to do while cooking. You might like to listen to a book on tape or a talk radio show or a podcast. You might even find yourself taking the extra few minutes to really finish the job well just so you can finish what you are listening to! Looking for new recipes can make cooking fun. You could even experiment with making your own cleaning products!
Make a plan in your journal. Write down the ways you will make your chores easier and more interesting and include a step-by-step action plan. An action plan is different than a to-do list. An action plan lists the actual steps you will take to complete a task. For example, a to-do list might include “groceries” but an action plan would include “inventory pantry, review weekly sales ad, make week’s menu, write grocery list, go grocery shopping”. This is going to increase your chances of actually doing it. Writing “listen to music” is not nearly as effective as writing:
- Download music
- Create playlist
- Put playlist on iPod (are those still relevant??)
You get the picture?
Finally, let yourself feel that great sense of accomplishment that you so deserve when you’ve finished a task. Take a few moments to soak in a nice clean kitchen or a full basket of clean laundry or a homecooked meal. Take compliments with grace. When your loved ones tell you that dinner is delicious, simply say “Thank you!” and for goodness sake, don’t follow it up with “The chicken is a bit bland.”