Free Your Space: Take five

There are some chores and tasks that I just don’t look forward to doing. At home, these are things like washing the bathrooms or dusting. Cleaning the inside of the car. Attending to items that need mending. I avoid these, as they say, “like the plague.”

I don’t have these same feelings about doing laundry or making my bed.

Can you relate to this? Are there some chores at home or at work that you’d be happy to avoid ever having to do? Washing dishes? Filing? Vacuuming?

I avoid the unpleasant tasks because I feel like I just don’t have enough time. In the little spare time that I do have there are so many other things that need to be done.  And so, the bathrooms and dusting wait an extra week.

In the meantime, I know they are there. Waiting. And I carry that knowledge with me as I continue past their due dates. Baggage that only serves to make me feel more stressed and burdened as I continue through my daily life.

The reality is that the chores I don’t like, although I feel as if they take forever to do, are really not very time consuming at all. It is my aversion to them that makes them seem larger than they really are. I know this because I’ve timed them. It takes me only one hour to clean two and a half bathrooms and about 45 minutes to dust the whole house. It’s funny isn’t it? Why would I choose to carry the stress over simply tackling these small tasks?

Today I put into practice a motivational strategy for myself to address my avoidance. I divided my time into blocks and inserted blocks of “play” time between the blocks of work time.

First, I limited my work to one-hour periods. I noted the time when I started and kept track of when I needed to end. Knowing the end time made it easier to keep moving and stay on task. Then, when the hour was done, I made sure not to address any other personal or business task. It was break time. I read a chapter of a book during one break. Took the dog to a local park for a walk during another. My breaks were untimed and relaxing.

It feels good to get things done, especially the things that I find challenging. It makes me feel accomplished. As if I have the right to enjoy the pleasures of my break time – I earned them.

Try treating yourself to some well-deserved indulgence. Set aside an hour and tackle a chore or a project that’s been eating at you and celebrate your progress with a small, indulgent reward. Lighten your load and take five.

* To contact Annette Reyman for organizing work, productivity support, gift certificates or speaking engagements in the Greater Philadelphia area call 610-213-9559 or email her at Reyman is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO®) and Board Member of its Greater Philadelphia Chapter. Visit her website at or follow All Right Organizing on Facebook.



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