Here’s a simple trick to turn chores into something actually enjoyable, and that will also cultivate the virtues of both discipline and mindfulness.
You can use this when doing chores like:
- Washing dishes
- Cleaning or sweeping
- Cooking or making salad
- Shaving or brushing your teeth
- Making a green juice
Generally we see these chores as a hassle and something we “just need to get done” in order to move on to something else. Because of this, we go through them with a sense of haste and often annoyance.
If you pay attention, you may also notice that your mind is very active during these kinds of chores. I know this is definitely the case for me.
I get a lot of annoyed or irritated thoughts that surface, and I think it’s the same for a lot of people. This is simply the mind reflecting back to us how we are approaching the activity.
While doing chores you might think things like:
“This is so boring”
“I need to finish this quickly so I can get onto something else”
“Let’s go Let’s go Let’s go!”
“This sucks, I wish I had a maid to do it for me”
…and so on.
The “trick” here is quite simple: when you perform a chore, just try to remain as present and mindful as possible throughout.
Rather than hurry through and try to get on to the next thing, carry out the task at a measured pace and keep your attention focused on exactly what you’re doing in the moment.
Any time you drift off in thought—especially negative thoughts related to what you’re doing—simply let them go by and return your attention to the activity.
This is a lot easier said than done, and you will likely get distracted by new thoughts every few seconds. This is completely normal. Try to remain attentive and just keep returning your attention to the chore, again and again.
It will get easier as you go, and remember – mindfulness in the present moment is a gift you can give yourself at any time.
I like to look at it is as a challenge: because the mind is most active when we’re doing mundane chores, these are naturally some of the hardest times to remain mindful.
It’s like doing physical exercise with a weighted vest on. When you perform a movement with 50 lbs of extra weight, it will be a lot more difficult. But then after, when you take the vest off, it’s suddenly easy to do the same movement freely in everyday life.
In the same way, this is like a training exercise for the mind. The handicap here, rather than a weighted vest, is the fact that you are trying to stay mindful during the activities where the mind is most active.
But if you can keep your mind (relatively) quiet while you’re doing boring chores, you will not only make the chores more enjoyable – you will be well on your way to cultivating peace of mind and present focus in everyday life.
What do you think? Do you get the same annoyed thoughts when doing chores as I do? Do you practice mindfulness in any particular area of your life? Post a comment below and let us know your thoughts.