If you’re a parent of school-aged children, you’ve probably suspected at some point that your kid was faking sick to avoid going to school or doing weekend chores. I remember on more than one occasion saying something to one of my older teenagers like, “If I told you we were going to Six Flags, I’m sure you’d hop right out of bed!” I was probably right, but sometimes as adults, we’re the same way.
Are you physically tired, or is it a lack of motivation?
When faced with a messy house or just a day of routine deep cleaning, you might feel tired and complain of aches and pains. But what if you opened an envelope and found a surprise check you could spend on whatever you wanted? Or what if your best friend who lives out of state was coming to town and wanted to meet for coffee? Just how fast would you spring into action then?
I’m not saying you aren’t exhausted or that your back doesn’t hurt, but what I am saying is that a lack of motivation is often a big part of the problem. The truth is that feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to begin often exacerbate the physical reasons we don’t feel like doing housework.
Here’s how I turned my day around.
My energy levels have been low lately, and it could be due to a lack of exercise. But I don’t feel like I have time to go for a walk, much less join a gym. Perhaps my pain from inactivity is leading to a vicious cycle of low energy. On an intellectual level, I know that even light housework counts as exercise, but it just didn’t sound fun today — especially since the house was kind of a disaster.
Also, my back has been hurting, and I feel tired and stressed. Still, I’m home alone and not working today, so this morning I knew I needed to get a handle on the situation with the house.
I didn’t have much motivation yet, so I made a cup of coffee and took a bath. Then I got dressed and fixed my hair. Next, I checked on the laundry and started the dryer. In the first hour after dropping my kids off at school, I was now presentable, and one of the machines was already working for me.
Here’s how I got the worst part done in just 17 minutes.
Dreading the prospect of facing the “dishashter” that was my kitchen, I trudged onward, telling myself I could clean slowly because time was on my side. I set the timer on the stove to see how long it would take me to get the kitchen under control. Next, I turned on my wax warmer so I could replace the old wax with a couple of fresh and more potent cubes. I also put on some relaxing music and slowly emptied and reloaded the dishwasher.
Because I was slightly worried about my front room, I occasionally left the kitchen to put away a stray item that would be visible from my front door. In doing that, I had an epiphany. The thing I hate most about doing dishes, even with a dishwasher, is standing in one place. For me, standing still is more exhausting than walking around. Also, I tend to focus on things like foot pain and back pain when standing still.
So instead of forcing myself to stick with one task at a time, I gave myself permission to go back and forth between the two rooms. I realize that goes against conventional wisdom, but I’ve never claimed to be neurotypical. Still, the dishes were my main focus, and getting them out of the way first helped me build momentum and get the whole house clean.
In just 17 minutes, my dishwasher was running, and everything else was soaking. Also, my front room was straightened up, so I rewarded myself by sitting down to write this post in the hopes that it might help someone else. The caffeine is kicking in, and I’m feeling highly motivated to finish cleaning my house as soon as I finish writing this. Woo hoo!
Clean with Me Podcast is here to help.
I chose to go it alone today and just listen to music, but our Clean with Me Podcast is designed to talk you through cleaning the house on days when you need extra motivation or just some entertainment to keep your brain stimulated. The routine will likely challenge you to do more than you otherwise would have, but keep in mind that cleaning along with one of our episodes doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.
When using our show as a cleaning motivation tool, please keep in mind that the most important goal is to get up and get moving. It’s okay to go slow if this is a low-energy day for you. Just keep moving and chip away at the most important areas of your home, and maybe tomorrow, you’ll be ready to speed-clean your entire house at a faster pace.
At the end of the day, it’s all about mustering up the motivation to get started. If you’re in a slump right now, go easy on yourself at first. Tell yourself you’ll spend just 15 or 20 minutes in the kitchen and living room. Walk around more while cleaning if it feels better to do it that way.
Try to clean along with our show whenever you have at least 20 minutes to spare. We have an extensive library of timeless episodes to choose from, and you can find us on your favorite podcast app.