Life is about balance. Sometimes you get to do whatever you want and other times you have to figure out how to accomplish things you don’t want to do. There are some things that just aren’t fun, but they have to get done. For some people it’s exercise. Others hate cleaning.
Chores and responsibilities are obviously a part of adulthood. Just because something is unpleasant doesn’t mean it has to be a pain to do. There are some things you can do to make it less of a drag. So what can you do to make it easier to accomplish things?
Set and Stick to Routines
We preach routines throughout our blog posts, such as How We Maintain a Productive and Enjoyable Life Balance. They really do make our life easier and more simplistic though. Things that aren’t fun like work and cleaning are just worked into our routines. Well, our routines kind of evolve around my work because that generally isn’t too flexible. Our cleaning routine is every other week, which can be found in the post How to Keep a Clean Apartment (in 45 Minutes). We have our weekly grocery shopping and meal prepping routine as well. Everyday we have a breakfast routine, which we posted in the past, The 10 Minute Gluten-free Breakfast Routine. We also have our fitness routines.
Right now because of coronavirus and stay at home orders they’re a little different, but still routines. Once you’re set in a routine, you just follow whatever it is without thinking about it too much.
Add in Small Things to Make it Enjoyable
At work, one of the attorneys brings me boba fairly often. It’s usually in the middle of the day right after lunch. It’s a little more enjoyable when I have something yummy to drink while I’m working. When I’m working at home, I usually drink coffee through the morning. Sometimes when we work out I have tea or an energy drink. So I guess drinking makes things easier and more enjoyable? I don’t do well with alcohol though, so it’s never that type of drink.
Snacks are also good. Recently I’ve been munching on pretzels while drinking my protein shake lately because I don’t like drinking protein. Since I’m trying to increase my caloric intake, food and drinks works well for me as a treat while I’m trying to be productive. If you’re not trying to gain weight, then those are most likely not the most ideal options for you.
Other things could be spending time with someone you love. Evan and I are often in the same room while we work on our separate activities. I do go away for phone calls and confidential work stuff <- just in case anyone from my work stumbles across the blog and gets concerned about confidentiality. Listening to good music is another thing that makes mundane tasks a little better.
Just because you have to accomplish something, doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once in one chunk of time. If you don’t take breaks you’ll just get slower and more checked out of what you’re supposed to be doing. I take breaks while I’m writing blog posts. Evan doesn’t really take breaks with his stock stuff because the stock market just continues on without him. But in most cases, breaks help give your brain a rest, just as long as you don’t get too distracted. One way to schedule breaks is to use a pomodoro timer. This is best for tasks like homework.
Breaks work the best when you already have an established routine. For example, if you’re in a workout routine, you can take an extra rest day if you’re just not feeling it. Then you just get back into your routine the next day because it feels weird not following your routine. If you don’t have a routine, then you may just keep taking more rest days without going back.
Give Yourself Rewards
Use positive reinforcement to teach yourself to associate the task with good things. This is a part of operant conditioning, which is one way to teach according to behavioral psychology. You can make it small like saying “if I clean the apartment, I get to watch TV for a few hours later”. It may seem juvenile, but sometimes it works to just give yourself something to look forward to after accomplishing the thing you didn’t want to do.
Some tasks already come with a built in reward. For example I was told I would get a raise in a job after a certain period of time. That time passed and I hadn’t heard anything about the raise. I don’t like asking people for things, but Evan was like if you don’t ask, you’re not going to get the raise. So I asked and I did get it.
But for a lot of things that aren’t fun, creating your own reward in order to accomplish the task works better. You can also scale rewards up depending on the task. If you’re not doing too well in school, but you know you have to push through and graduate, you could plan a trip after that you can only take if you graduate.
It isn’t always easy to accomplish things you don’t want to do, but you can make it less of a negative experience. Using rewards, taking breaks, making the process more fun, and having set routines can set you up for success.