How to Enjoy Doing Any Task
We all have our weaknesses. Whether it’s doing the dishes, ironing our clothes, cooking dinner or even visiting the mother in-law, there are certain things we rather wouldn’t do. When I started renting an apartment and lived on my own for the first time, I had to start doing a lot of tasks that I really couldn’t stand. Just to wash the dishes – besides letting them pile up so I could do them all at once – I would put on some music and time myself to see how quickly I could do them. Now? I wouldn’t say I love doing them, but I certainly don’t dislike it, simply because of two tactics I’ve applied.
Why Do You Love What You Do?Think of some of your favourite things to do. Whether it’s playing football (soccer, to some of you), reading books, going to the cinema, fishing or even rally car driving. Why do some people like some things that you could never imagine enjoying yourself? Why can some women love cooking while others couldn’t think of a worse way to spend a few hours? To be fair, this could theoretically be a number of things. It could be our DNA, the things we did as a child, the culture we live in and the opportunities we have available to us. In actual fact, the main reason you love what you do is the same reason the average 60 year old American has managed to spend 15 years in front of the TV: you become so immersed in what you are doing. While keen mountain bikers might enjoy the exercise, competition and challenges that come with their hobby, the main reason they love it, whether they know it or not, is the fact that it’s something that takes away all of their other thoughts and stresses. Similarly, when we watch the TV it’s like our mind switches off from all our problems, pains and fears and we can ‘leave them till later’. It’s certainly not that bikers love making their legs turn some peddles, which in turn move the wheels on their bike. Unconsciously, it’s more of an escape from everyday life. This is the exact reason why extreme activities and sports have become so popular: surfing, shark diving, rafting, mountain climbing or anything else you can think of; they propel us into this moment.
Utilising this ConceptIf you’re still not quite sure whether that concept is true or not, observe your mental activity the next time you do one of your favourite tasks. It will probably be a lot easier to switch off your thoughts doing a desired hobby than at any other time; unless of course, you’re meditating. As soon as I became aware of this concept, I started utilising it towards doing the things I don’t enjoy. The simple solution is to become completely present, but that is usually harder said than done, especially if you’ve never practiced being in the moment before. I have, however, found some practical ways to help which will in turn help move you into a more conscious and joyful state. Notice your Resistance – As soon as I knew I had dishes to wash, I would instantly think of anything I could do to put off the task. I would then tell myself I have other important things to do or “I’ll do them tomorrow”. Well, as I obviously found out, when tomorrow comes they are still going to be there. Notice your internal resistance to do something, this alone is the single main reason we don’t enjoy doing certain tasks. In reality there is nothing “wrong” with doing the dishes, you are just moving a soapy sponge over some items then putting them on a draining board Noticing your internal resistance should help creating some disconnect between identifying with the emotion, and you could be very surprised by your new found enthusiasm towards certain tasks. Ask yourself “Who is resisting to do this task?” Because really, you would love to get things done, there’s just another voice that is putting you off. Be Completely ‘There’ – If you’re changing a car tyre, sorting out your financial accounts or even having a conversation with someone you rather wouldn’t, be completely in the moment. Don’t think of the things that you could be doing instead or how much time you’re wasting doing that rather than something else. Going back to my dishes example, it’s so easy to wish I was hanging out with my friends, watching a DVD or doing something else more interesting. However, when you are completely in the moment, and completely focused on what you are doing, it no longer becomes a problem. It just is something you are doing. Doing any task will no longer be a problem if you don’t wish you were somewhere else. It’s kind of a paradox, but the more you don’t resist and want to be somewhere else, the less you’ll actually want to be somewhere else, because you realise the task you are doing really isn’t that “bad”. In most posts I would add more points, but honestly, here it’s not necessary. As long as you can stick to those two things:
- Notice your resistance and don’t identify with it
- Be completely in the moment, don’t wish you were doing other things