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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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Annie Mueller on the merits of the mundane

Annie Mueller:

Maintenance tasks—like washing the dishes, folding the clothes—not only keep the basics of life functioning, but they also honor life itself. We are not too good for any of this. We are blessed to be here. Let me remember this as I wipe the table. Let me remember this as I sweep the floor.

Me, in 2011:

Stop thinking of all of the things you’d rather not do in a negative way. Start thinking of fun ways to make these tasks easier and more enjoyable to do. Who knows, maybe after a few times you’ll start wanting to do them instead of avoiding them!

My advice then was sort of the opposite of Mueller’s. She writes of relishing the mundane. My advice was to quicken it. Take shortcuts. My advice today would be more aligned with Muller’s. Soak life in, one mundane task at a time.

Six ways to tackle boring tasks

Earlier this year I wrote a rather blabbering post about how you should reward yourself while you’re doing tasks that you don’t like doing. I gave the example of treating yourself to your favorite drink for filing your quarterly taxes.

Well, it turns out I’m not alone in thinking that this is a good idea. Timo Kiander has come up with 6 ways to tackle boring tasks and one of them is to praise yourself.

Remember, as soon as you get started with your tedious task, you have already done something that most people are not willing to do.

When Alan Henry of Lifehacker linked to Kiander’s post he added:

When you’ve finished all of the work you normally have to do and are left with only the toughest, most undesirable tasks left, consider rewarding yourself for mustering the effort to get started-it’ll go a long way towards making sure you’re content enough to finish the task at hand.

We’re all saying the same thing; set yourself up for success. Kiander thinks you should praise yourself, Henry says reward yourself, I say combine the two and add a bit more.

Give yourself a great environment to do the task, make the task as easy as possible, and reward yourself for completing it and the most mundane tasks of our lives may just turn into the most fun ones.