If you are anything at all like me, you struggle with being tidy. And it’s not through lack of work. You really want a clean sparkly house like Alison Ashley‘s but you just can’t seem to get it that way. The reason is, your thinking is warped.
Let me explain.
Your finished, and actually finished, are different
You see, when you have to do something everyday, it quickly becomes a chore. Let’s take doing the dishes, for example. If you don’t do them, your kitchen turns into a hell-hole pretty fast. And if your modus operandi is doing them just before you use them again, you’re turning your whole day into pain.
While there are people who write books about how to keep your place clean, and there are blogs and apps like Unfuck Your Habitat, and programs like the infamous FlyLady, they miss the point. And that point is, doing the work is not the struggle. It’s the fact that whatever the job is, you’re seeing the “finish line” way too early. Your house isn’t that gorgeous sparkly place that it is when your mum cleans it, because your version of ‘done’ is different.
Sure, you can wash the dishes. Or, you could finish the job and put them away, and leave the kitchen actually tidy and clean.
Sure, you could bring the washing in. Or, you could fold it and put it away at the time and leave your house actually tidy and the laundry usable again.
Sure, you could take your things out of your bag at the end of the day. Or, you could empty it and put it all away and leave things actually tidy and clean.
Why do you not do it? Your perceived time is out of whack with reality
In almost every case, the time it takes to finish the job is hardly anything. Maybe 5 minutes? But the perceived time is immense. At the half-way point you have to really make yourself do the next piece of the work. It feels like it is going to take forever. And that is why you only do it half-way. Your imagination gets the better of you.
It’s actually a bit stupid. If you timed yourself, you’d see just how different reality is.
When I realised that my thinking about housework was just warped, it suddenly made life a whole lot easier.
Instead of being grumpy about doing things over and over like I was stuck in some retarded feedback loop, I started just doing it until it was properly done. Then I only had to do it once a day, instead of fifty times a day. Because it was done the first time. And it started clearing my brain out of all of the things that seemed like they needed to be done. When things are put away, you don’t see them. Out of sight, out of mind.
The reorientation of your thinking is the challenge
This reorientation of thought is why you have to persist until it becomes habit. You have to climb up over that imagined immensity of time and keep going! You have to persist with the job right to the end point. Then you have to celebrate it to yourself somehow.
Not only do you have to do the thing, you have to change your attitude about the thing. It’s only when your attitude changes that the habit is going to stick. All the programs, apps, encouragement and books in the world aren’t going to help if your attitude stays the same.
Anyway, that’s enough of a domestic diversion!
What do you think? Leave a comment and tell me whether you think I might have hit the nail on the head.