It’s easy to pine for the nostalgic, carefree days of childhood. The days when everything was simpler and you could eat a whole bag of candy without developing a stomachache or adding a single, solitary pound. Alas, as idyllic as childhood was for some, adulthood does have its share of perks, such as the ability to drive, decide where to go on vacation, and order strawberry margaritas at Mexican restaurants.
But there is that whole “adulting” thing that cramps our style, complete with all those boring “adulty” things like paying bills, cutting grass, and vacuuming the floor. Ick. Good news! There are things that can be done to improve our situation and have a bit of fun doing the boring chores that accompany adulthood.
Before we dive into these tips, we have to step back and ask an all-important question: does this boring, soul-crushing task actually have to be done? Consider these possibilities:
1) Just stop doing them. This is the best and easiest option. Of course, it doesn’t work for everything, and it might sound preposterous, but we do many things out of habit or simply because we feel like we “should” or are “supposed to.” Take ironing bedsheets, for example. Stop and ask yourself, seriously, “What would happen if I just stopped doing this?”
If, like in the case of doing taxes, the answer is, “I’d eventually go to jail,” then carry on. But if the answer is honestly “nothing,” or “my dead grandmother will roll over in her grave,” then you may have stumbled across a Get Out of Jail Free card. Sometimes a to-don’t list is just as valuable as a to-do list.
2) Do it later. Procrastinators rejoice! Maybe it doesn’t have to be done right now. I’m not suggesting you put yourself behind the 8-ball by starting to pull together your taxes on April 14th. But sometimes the deadlines we put on ourselves are self-imposed. Sometimes another, more important thing comes up that we didn’t anticipate when we established the first deadline. If so, give yourself permission to put it off for a less busy, more convenient time.
3) Do it less often. Depending on the project, getting everything set up can eat up as much time as it takes to actually do the job. Maybe you can’t completely eliminate a task, but perhaps you could save time by doing it once a month instead of every week.
4) Trade with someone. If a task still needs to be done, maybe it doesn’t need to be done by you. My wife hates grocery shopping. With a passion. All the aisles and signs bring out the ADD in her. So she delegated it to me, which I don’t actually mind. Meanwhile, she does the laundry, which I despise. Perhaps you can trade your less-than-favorite chore with someone else and come out ahead.
5) Pay someone else to do it. Bookkeepers, website designers, mechanics, housecleaners, editors, and lawn care businesses all exist to do things that we technically could do ourselves. So let them. Before you shoot this one down because you don’t have enough money, think about moving the funds from something you already spend money on. For example, Kim and I hate mowing the lawn. So we took the money we’d been spending on cable, bought subscriptions to Hulu and Netflix, and put the balance toward hiring someone to cut our grass. Maybe there’s something you regularly spend money on that you wouldn’t miss much, especially when you consider the value of never having to do that dreaded task again.
6) Make your kid(s) do it. Ok, maybe not your taxes, but they are capable of way more than we give them credit for. Doing things you don’t want to is one of the many things they’re good for, plus it builds character. (At least that’s what my dad told me when he had us pull weeds out of our gravel driveway.)
The best way to have more time to do the things we want to do is by clearing away the things we don’t want to do. But alas, if you’ve come to the point where for whatever reason the buck stops with you when it comes to a less-than-exciting undertaking, you canat least try to make it as fun as possible. Depending on the task at hand here are some tips:
• Think of ways you can pamper or treat yourself while doing the chore, so that you almost look forward to it. Perhaps divide your time with several smaller treats, one for each task you complete.
• Designate a reward that you can enjoy after you have completed it, like a massage, a glass of wine, a hot bubble bath, or a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin.
• Listen to music that fires you up. It’s hard to be bummed when you’re dancing your heart out.
• Binge-watch a guilty pleasure.
• Watch funny videos on YouTube or listen to a stand-up comedian.
• Talk to an old friend or family member.
• Tune in to your favorite podcast or take in an audio book.
• If you are working with a partner or team, wear funny hats or accessories or institute a dress-up day (think Hawaiian shirts or the jersey of your favorite sports team.)
• Turn the chore into a game. Make it a competition and race yourself. See if you can break your own record.
• Switch your thinking from “I have to do this” to ” I get to do this.” It transforms your perspective, putting you into a space of gratitude and appreciation.
• Got another idea to add? Share it in the comments below!
Adulthood isn’t all it was cracked up to be when were seven. It definitely has it’s downsides. But don’t forget that with great responsibility comes great power.
Especially the power to change our expectations, our schedule, and our attitude.
Cathy de Seton says
around 6 months ago some major changes occurred in my life – good ones. the main one I moved from a large, damp and dismal rental house into a newer and brighter but smaller rental unit (I’m in NZ so my terminology on certain things will be different) – whilst it has taken me months to get used to here…I’ve enjoyed the process.
somewhere in this period I decided to leave a voluntary job (16yrs) and everyone thought I was nuts, you’ll miss it. Well I’ve not gone to the organisation or the space for now 2months and I absolutely DO NOT MISS it at all…it’s kind of liberating no having to think about orders/stock/fussy shoppers/mean spirited others.
then I decided that the organisation didn’t need me either (general events) so I’m taking the rest of this year as a sabbatical and will decide at subs time next year whether I need them :-)
again people worrying about my social needs…but for now I’m enjoying just being me :-)
Sounds like some great developments Cathy – congrats!
When my children were at home, they’d often want me to play with them, but I would have laundry to fold, etc. One day, one of them said, “We’ll do your chores if you’ll read Harry Potter to us while we do.” umm…okay! And since everybody liked that arrangement, that’s what we did–a lot of the time. :-)
Sounds like a pretty good arrangement!
Joseph Basehart says
We had an employee appreciation week recently and were encouraged to wear a team t-shirt. I don’t have a favorite team that I support so I went to the Thrift store, which soon is going out of business. I chose a t-shirt which looked like Texas A & M on the front. On the back it says Joe College Pro-Sports day. I just thought they could not spell. So I bought the shirt and proudly wore it to work. A baggage handler walked by my window in the bookshop and read my shirt. He asked me if I knew what it said? It spelled…eATMe or eat me. Fortunately no cannibals showed up for a free feed. Happy EasTer.