People who calmly and happily do chores when they need to be done, you can stop reading now. Everyone else: ugh, I know, right?
Chores suck, but dwelling on that fact can make them seem way more daunting than they actually are. And daunting chores never get done — it’s just too hard to muster up the energy to do them! But Apartment Therapy has a great trick for getting yourself around that mental block: set a timer.
Next time you’re about to do your most hated chore, set a timer first. You’re not racing against the clock — this is purely observational. Once you see how little time it actually takes, you’ll realise that your most dreaded chore is actually not literal torture.
(This is akin to remembering that some things take basically zero time to do. For me the biggest revelation on that front has been hanging up my coat and scarf when I come into the apartment — I used to toss them on a chair when I was feeling lazy, but I realised that was saving me basically no time. What good is an indulgence if you’re not actually gaining anything from it!)
Yes, some chores can’t be done in five or ten minutes. But setting a timer can help there, too. This wisdom comes from Unfuck Your Habitat, the Tumblr-turned-book of very chill cleaning advice.
Author Rachel Hoffman argues against binge-cleaning, which is so exhausting that it can turn you off from cleaning next time around. Instead, Hoffman says to clean in 20-minute chunks, separated by 10-minute breaks. (It’s like a leisurely Pomodoro.) The frequent breaks make sure you don’t get burnt out, and while you may not clean your entire home in 20 minutes, you’ll see what progress can be made in that time.
When you see what can be done in a 20-minute chunk, cleaning stops being an all-or-nothing proposition. You can use the time you have to clean what you can clean, and your home will be cleaner than it was before you started.
You can also use a version of this to help yourself get over your reluctance to get started: I’ll set a timer for ten minutes and tell myself I only have to clean — it’s usually putting away laundry — for that long. Chores suck, but I can manage ten minutes! Most of the time, I finish the dreaded chore before the timer even goes off.