In keeping with the theme of procrastination for this month, I wanted to discuss a conversation I recently had with my husband about laundry. Yes, laundry. I know, super exciting, but hang with me for a moment, it gets interesting.
We were packing up and getting ready to head home from a weekend getaway with the kids when my husband asked where the dirty laundry should go. I pointed to a trash bag stuffed full of towels, swim suits, socks, and other items that we had worn throughout the weekend, sighed heavily and said woefully “I can’t wait to get home and spend the rest of my weekend doing LAUNDRY”. He said “You act like you don’t like doing laundry” to which I replied “Nobody likes doing laundry!! Do YOU like doing laundry???” He quietly said “Well, sort of…I mean, I like having clean clothes, so yeah, I like doing laundry.”
Back the truck up!
My procrastinator’s brain had never considered that thought before. In my mind, doing laundry = unpleasant task because I would rather be doing something else. It never occurred to me that doing laundry = pleasant task because of the outcome of clean clothes. I think as a procrastinator, I tend to focus on instant gratification and how what I’m doing is making me feel RIGHT NOW. Digging clothes out of the hamper and loading them into the washer is not a pleasant task – and that’s what I focus on when I’m doing laundry. If, however, I can shift my thinking into “it’s going to feel so good to get this laundry done!” the task at hand might not be so unpleasant.
In relation to weight loss, this can be explained in why it’s sometimes so hard for me to step away from the cookies or get up early to work out. I’m so focused on the taste of the cookie or how comfy my bed feels that it’s difficult to wrap my head around the concept doing something “unpleasant” now is going to yield outcomes that make me feel really good in an hour. For a long time, I never understood how runners could keep doing something that they themselves often deem as awful or hard, but now I think I’m beginning to see that they run for the good feeling they get afterward. Unpleasant task = good outcome, therefore they keep doing the hard thing. *lightbulb*
My husband is not a procrastinator. He takes care of things as soon as they come up, or often before they come up. He is very proactive and also what I call a Long Term Thinker. He is very good at supposing things that might come up long term and planning ahead and being proactive. I, on the other hand tend to spend most of my time flying by the seat of my pants. In our years together, I have improved and I’m getting better, but I still have a ways to go before I’m up to his level of adulthood. 🙂
In the days since our conversation, I’ve thought a lot about what my husband said and how I can apply it to other chores I tend to put off because they seem unpleasant:
- At my job, I do a lot of filing and my File Pile can get very tall in a short amount of time. I really dislike filing, but I love seeing that empty space on my desk. So I’ve been trying to file more often, which when I do it more regularly, takes less time overall. Winning!
- I dislike having to wash my car, but I love having a clean car, so on Saturday I went through the automatic car wash. Yes I paid a little extra for the convenience, but it got done and I didn’t have to think about it anymore.
- I don’t like to grocery shop on Sundays, but I even like it even less on Mondays after work, so last Sunday I did the shopping for the week. After work on Monday, I went straight home and had to time to read a book for a few minutes before getting dinner started. That was a treat!
I’m still looking for chores/experiences that I can view with a fresh perspective. It’s a different way of thinking and one I hope to adopt into a habit.
So what about you? How do you feel about laundry? Are you a Long Term Thinker and if so, have you always been that way or did you learn it? Or are you like me and constantly drowning in unfinished chores and To-Do lists?