Have you ever had to do something you really didn’t want to do? Something really disagreeable? Something that has to happen but something you’d really rather avoid?
That’s the situation I found myself in a few years ago.
We were about to put our house on the market so everything needed to be sparkling clean. We knew that house viewers look everywhere, including in cupboards and wardrobes so they could see what the storage is like, and like the rest of our house, our wardrobe was overflowing.
There was a rather large and random pile of stuff that had accumulated in the bottom of it over the years of living there, and I knew it needed to be dealt with.
Indeed, I had been trying to tackle it for a while. I had opened the wardrobe with the intention of cleaning it out several times. Each time, I had looked at it in complete despair, decided I had no idea where to start, and ended up walking away with the wardrobe untouched.
Then I was asked a question, a simple question designed to help me increase my enjoyment while doing just about any task.
“What are three ways you can increase your enjoyment while cleaning out the wardrobe?”
I was stumped at first. I was supposed to enjoy cleaning out the wardrobe?
But I put my doubt aside and played the game, coming up with three answers as requested.
1. Turn some music on - nice and loud so I could sing as I cleaned.
2. Ask my partner to pull it all out for me and dump it on the bed so I could bypass the overwhelm and be put in a position where I had to deal with it.
3. Do it on a warm day so that the whole house was a nice temperature and I could move in and out of the house freely while doing it.
An interesting thing happened after that. I felt a whole lot motivated about the idea of cleaning out the wardrobe, and the next day it happened.
The funny thing was that my partner was out so I had to reach in there and start pulling things out myself, and that the CDs were in the car with him so I couldn’t turn the music that I wanted on. It was a nice day though, so one out of three isn’t bad.
The important thing though was that in doing this exercise, my motivation had increased, so despite the fact that I only had one out of three, it didn’t matter. I felt good about the idea of doing it and so that’s exactly what I did.
I’ve asked other people to do this since then too, enjoying the benefits of thinking of things in a positive way, and enjoying even the most mundane of tasks a whole lot more.
“What are three ways you can increase your enjoyment with weeding the garden?”
“What are three ways you can increase your enjoyment with exercise?”
It’s been interesting to hear people’s answers.
Music has come up as an answer several times. Small but enjoyable rewards have been at the end of some tasks, and doing things at a particular time of day has also come up more than once.
What’s surprised me though, is the wide range of answers that I’ve been given and how different people can come up with completely different answers.
What’s been clear with everyone though, is that despite sometimes being a little stuck on answers at first, it’s been well worth pushing through and coming up with three distinct answers, and that doing so has increased the motivation and enjoyment for all.