Procrastination Cure: Part Four — Tackling Nasty Chores

February 28, 2011

in 30-Minute Homemaker,30-Minute Organizer

We’ve been talking about procrastination, specifically, procrastination causes and some possible procrastination cures, like Taking One Tiny Step. Today, I want to present some cures for dealing with unpleasant tasks.

You know, like cleaning the toilet.

Or doing taxes.

Or flossing.

Or going to the OB/GYN, getting a mammogram, or cleaning the litter box.

There are a whole list of icky chores or tasks out there that we’d just rather NOT, if you know what I mean. (This is when I envy Oprah, but I figure even she has to get her teeth cleaned — right?)

So when there’s something that continually falls to the bottom of your to-do list, how can you make yourself just tackle it? Here’s what I do: I tackle it like I’m a six-year-old being forced to eat canned spinach. The same strategies work, really!

1. One Tiny Bite. We talked about this in regard to dealing with overwhelm the other day, but it works for nasty tasks, too. You just take one small nibble of the unpleasantness, just enough to make a dent but not enough to flood your mouth and make you gag.

Often, that one small bite isn’t too awful, so you take another. And another, and another. And before you know it, you have finished the dreaded pile of slime on your plate.

2. Wash It Down. My favorite dealing-with-icky-food strategy was to wash it down. I’d take a big bite, plug my nose, grab the milk, and gulp. One fell swoop and I was halfway to freedom. I still do the same thing with icky tasks. I grab and gulp, tackling the taxes in one huge 5-hour marathon, or scheduling a whole day of OB/dentist/flu shots. I get it done and move on.

3. Sweet Reward. “You can’t have dessert unless you finish your spinach!” We actually didn’t hear that too much at our house growing up because we rarely ever had dessert. But still, I use it now! I promise myself an award for a (yucky) job accomplished. A manicure might be the reward for getting my mammogram done, or a new pair of cute dishwashing gloves after I’ve finished scrubbing the toilet. I try to keep it fun.

4. Feed It to the Dog. Don’t want to eat your spinach? No worries! Slip it to Fluffy or Rover under the table! In grown-up speak, that means handing off unpleasantness to someone else. Hire someone to clean the bathrooms (we actually have someone come to JUST do the bathrooms and the kitchen — the harder stuff I really don’t enjoy). Trade with a friend; you’ll reorganize her kitchen if she will take your kids to swim practice Saturday mornings.

5. Distract Yourself. If we were having fun at dinner, it didn’t matter what we were eating. Fish sticks and creamed corn — bring it on, as long as we were allowed to watch Disney’s Sunday night movie of the week (does anyone else remember when Disney movies were on just once a week??). Now, I’ll distract myself from other painful tasks. I kicked in a CSI marathon while doing my taxes, or I’ll bring an iPod with me to the dentist. Combine something fun with something lousy and you just might come out ahead.

Alright, my friends… this ends our series on tackling procrastination. I hope you’ve discovered a few gems over the past few days. Do tell me what techniques you use to get your rear in gear!

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  • Cathie

    I remember! I remember! The Wonderful World of Disney, every Sunday evening. Wow.

  • Heather

    A good friend of mine told me she never has a dirty bathroom. I asked her how that was possible, and she told me that when she gives her girls a bath (I have a 3 year old son), she spends the time cleaning when they are having their splash time. Now I keep my Clorox wipes, Soft Scrub and Windex in the bathroom and do the same. I always have a clean bathroom sink, mirror, and toilet. The floor gets done when we do the floors in our home. It works out great for me!

  • Karen (from Scraps of Mind)

    Thanks for all the tips to help me grab my get up and go. I’ve always maintained that procratination is a major productivity tool in my toolbox. If there’s some job that I just can’t bring myself to do it’s amazing how many other jobs I’ll finish rather than get stuck into the one i hate. i can actually get a lot done that way. Unfortunately that still leaves the big ugly one i started with.

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