When you see a few dishes in the sink, you don’t stress over it because it’s not critical. You can get it later. When you come back in a couple days, the sink is overflowing. Now it’s a drain on your energy to do a basic task. Next time, kill the beast while it’s still a babe.
Photo by Mike McCune.
As personal finance site How Do I Money explains, it’s easy to overlook mundane tasks like doing the dishes or checking on your finances when the problems are small. Even though it takes very little effort to wash a couple of dishes, the fact that it’s a simple task means you can put it off. Except you’re not going to. Not until it gets bad, anyway. At that point, it’s not a simple task anymore. It’s a gruelling monster that’s ready to steal your motivation not just for doing the dishes, but for everything you need to do:
When there are only ten pieces to wash, it goes fast and it’s easy. When both sides of the sink and half the counter are full of dirty dishes, it sucks and it takes forever. The more dirty dishes there are, the less motivated I am to do them. It’s the worst inverse relationship of them all. “The relationship between two variables is an inverse relationship if when one increases the other decreases.”
Of course it’s obvious that doing a sink full of dishes is harder than washing a few, yet we let them pile up anyway. The more insidious consequence is how letting simple chores pile up can demotivate us to do anything. Even if you get up the motivation to finally clean the kitchen after you’ve been putting it off all week, you’ve used up all your motivation to get anything else done that day.
Instead, the next time you take a look at a minor task you could complete in a couple minutes, don’t look at it as a simple task. Treat it like it’s an investment into your future motivation. Mark off the simple task while it feels easy and you can save yourself the stress of a major project later. Then, you can use that motivation to tackle something bigger later on.
Doing the dishes by hand and the most important life lesson ever. [How Do I Money via Rockstar Finance]