I like to wash dishes. It’s one of my few responsibilities that doesn’t require any mental effort. You might not like washing dishes. You might try soaking them in a bad-faith act of procrastination. Here’s an idea: Pick one of your favourite podcasts, and only listen to it when you wash the dishes.
You left this fork in the sink for a month. Photo: Catt Liu
At the very least, you should totally listen to podcasts while you wash up. If you listen through a Bluetooth speaker or just your phone, you can catch enough of a casual conversational podcast. If you listen through headphones (and here wireless headphones help avoid tangles), you can fully enjoy one of those highly-engineered shows where every second counts. This is podcast as mental anaesthetic.
By saving a podcast for the dishes, you do yourself one better. This is podcast as incentive. You don’t get to listen to the show until you’re doing dishes. (Adjust as needed, depending on the frequency of the podcast and the frequency of the dishes. Maybe you only get to start an episode with the dishes.) So pick a show you’re really eager to listen to, not one that feels just as much like a chore.
There’s a risk here: Even if the podcast starts to improve your opinion of the dishes, the dishes might damage your opinion of the podcast – kind of like using your favourite song as your alarm clock. If this starts happening, try a different podcast for a bit. This whole trick only works if you value the podcast more than you value not washing your dishes.
You can apply this to various errands to different extents; vacuuming is a bit harder; wiping down the bathroom is pretty easy. The more you’re moving around or bending over, the less you’ll want wired headphones or a phone in your shirt pocket. (I dropped my phone a dozen times before accepting this.)