Risa Williams is the author of several books, including the upcoming The Ultimate Time Management Toolkit.
Are everyday mundane tasks getting you down lately? Do you frequently find yourself procrastinating small seemingly “insignificant” things you need to do each week?
For some, it’s tackling laundry. For others, it’s doing the dishes. Still for others, it’s organizing things, making appointments, or calling people back. Often the mundane task isn’t physically hard but it feels emotionally hard for us to move forward with it. And then, it’s easy to get stuck in a procrastination loop because you start to think things like: “This task’s so simple, I’ll get around to it eventually.”
Although the task may appear to be “simple” on the surface, it’s not feeling simple to us to start. Without this motivation, time management feels impossible.
The more we avoid the same mundane task we already don’t want to do, the more our motivation to do the task will vanish. Do you ever find yourself doing other more difficult and arduous tasks instead of tackling the “simple” task of sweeping the floor? Or rushing out the door to do dozens of busy errands just to avoid looking at your kitchen counter?
Knowing we have to routinely manage the mundane for the sake of our own mental wellbeing, how can we find the motivation to do it on a weekly basis? Here are five tips to help you get through the grind:
Be Honest with Yourself.
The first step is to be truly honest with yourself about how hard a task is becoming for you to do. Admit to yourself that something like cleaning up your closet is emotionally hard for you to tackle. Normalize it. Don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t deny it. You could say something as simple as, “Even though putting my clothes away may seem simple on the surface, I am emotionally struggling to do it this week.” This frees up some of the mental tension you’ve been experiencing from arguing with yourself about starting the task.
Check in With Yourself.
Investigate for a few minutes why this task has become emotionally difficult to do. Are you feeling tired from other responsibilities? Are you feeling resentful that you’re the one doing it? It can be helpful to free-write in a journal and just let the feelings come out without judgement. When you release the feelings, you can find your way to easier solutions.
Break the Task Down.
If we’ve let a mundane task go for too long, chances are it now feels very overwhelming to do. Break the task down into smaller steps that feel easier. If you have piles of laundry, break it down into smaller sizes and schedule an easy time for you to do them, when you’re not feeling exhausted from too many other things.
Use Music as a Motivator.
My go-to trick for tackling everyday tasks I’ve been avoiding is to use music as a motivator. Pick an upbeat song that makes you feel happy and put it on your headphones when you have to do the task you don’t want to do. Use the same song each time, and you’ll train your brain to associate it with the task.
Schedule a “Catch-Up” block of time each week.
If you’re very busy with other things, jobs and responsibilities, have a set block of time each week of a few hours on your calendar for “Task Catch-Up.” Make sure it’s a time when you have energy to spare, often mornings work best for people because of their energy levels. At the same time each week, catch up on the mundane tasks for an hour or two, and then let yourself really relax afterward.
Once you’ve tackled your mundane task, give yourself lots of praise for getting motivated to complete it. The more we praise ourselves after a task, the less mental resistance we will face next time around.
Risa Williams (www.risawilliams.com) is a licensed psychotherapist and the author of three self-help books. Her newest book, “The Ultimate Time Management Toolkit” is in stores worldwide. You can read more of her organizational tips on IG @risawilliamstherapy or at www.theultimatetoolkitbooks.com.