If you’ve faced a challenge or setback in life for any length of time, then you’ve probably come to despise laundry as much as I do.
When we’re raising intense kids, living as a single mom, or trying to recover from a layoff… that trip to the grocery store or 20 minute call to the mortgage company may as well be Shamu in your living room.
But you know how to eat a whale, right? One bite at a time. Or, for this post’s purposes, One Aggravating Task (OAT) at a time. Because those annoying daily tasks weigh on our brainpower, self esteem, sense of worth and value. They make us slaves to our lives instead of helping us live in God’s fullness. Who needs that??
Not me! Probably not you, either. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy more peace, energy… and a sense that you have some measure of control over your life again? Tackling (at least) the One Aggravating Task a day gives us just that. It ushers in more say over our lives so we feel less like slaves to them. Because:
“Diligent hands will rule [yay!], but laziness ends in slave labor [boo!].” – Prov 12:24
Ways to get through those aggravating tasks:
- Do it first. Make a new rule: Don’t let yourself get going on anything until you’ve tackled the OAT. For me, it’s tidying the kitchen at the end of the day. I’d rather do ANYTHING but that. My Hulu playlist is calling my name. The dog wants to play. My husband wants to play. But it’s becoming a habit to just DO it first, before anything else. I use the following techniques to keep me going with this routine.
- Do it for 2 minutes. You really can do ANYTHING for 2 minutes. Women who’ve endured contractions in childbirth or anyone who’s navigated their mortgage company’s automated phone system can attest to this. So set the timer and get started. Once you’re invested, I guarantee you’ll get more done on that OAT than you thought you could. And even if you don’t continue after 2 minutes, at least you did 2 minutes more of the task than you would have otherwise!
- Mix in something you don’t despise as much. Listen to your favorite audiobook while you’re folding laundry (or even grow your spirit a little, as Mothering From Scratch recommends). Enjoy a hard toffee while you’re loading the dishwasher. Listen to energizing music while you pay your bills. Call your friend and chat while you’re walking the dog.
- Include a friend (aka someone who will bug you until you do it and celebrate with you when it’s done!). Even better than calling them on that dog walk, bring them along! Call them to pray for energy and desire to get through that OAT. Ask them to work their friend magic and encourage you through it with a text or two. If the OAT’s a real doosie, set up a coffee date after it’s done to celebrate.
- Do it differently. Even the best things in life get dreary when we do them the same way over and over again. So switch it up a little. For one week, make 9-9:30 a.m. each day your “get it done” time and see how much you can squeeze in that half-hour. Do what my sister does with laundry and pick a certain kind of item to fold first – like “all the blue items” or “all the towels.” Do the task in a different room (or hide in your car like I do).
- Employ the carrot. Not just when including a friend in the process, but for yourself, too. Plan something fun for yourself when you’ve tackled that OAT. It can be a little walk in the sunshine, a favorite treat, a warm bath, or just permission to sit still and do absolutely nothing for 10 minutes. The only rule? It can’t be another OAT. (Unless you’re like me and getting things done makes you happy. And even in that case, all us get-it-done gals could stand a little exercise in the “stop getting things done and take a break” concept :).
However you do it, tackle that OAT – that one aggravating task – today. Don’t put it off anymore. Don’t let it bind you and enslave your energy and enthusiasm in life. You’re worth more than that!