“Never despise the mundane. Embrace it. Unwrap it like a gift. And be one of the rare few who looks deeper than just the surface.” – Lysa TerKeurst
I once was in a MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) group when I was pregnant with our first child. Sometimes we would have guest speakers that would present to our group of moms and moms-to-be and, one day, a particular speaker spoke to me in volumes.
This speaker had her own business of cleaning homes. She spoke much about the details of cleaning, her cleaning tips and tricks and how she finds cleaning therapeutic in many ways. However, the part of cleaning that she spoke about next I wasn’t expecting. She began speaking about how, as she cleans, she thinks about others, and often prays. She looks deeper than the surface of just merely cleaning. She prays for those that she knows that are in need of prayers, for her family, for friends, for anyone and for those that she just thinks of as she is working…”just because” prayers. For some reason, her outlook hit me like a ton of bricks. It has stuck with me for eight years now. I think about her words each time I am faced with mounds of laundry to fold, toilets to clean, messes to pick-up and beds to make. She talked about how she also sometimes will think of others and, instead of using it as a time to look at the situation as just cleaning, she looked at it as time to reflect and be grateful.
We all have tasks thrown into our daily routine that are required to keep powering through life each and every day. We don’t necessary find joy in many of these “chores” naturally; maybe we’ve even come to dread them and let them hang over our heads in a way that puts a cloud over part of our day.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
It is possible to find joy in even the most mundane of tasks. Yes, scrubbing toilets & piles of laundry – I’m lookin’ at you!
I wanted to share a few lessons I’ve learned that have allowed me to find the joy in mundane tasks:
1. ALTER YOUR MINDSET: Like the woman with her cleaning business, think of your mundane task as an extra opportunity to think of others, clear your mind and connect with yourself. Free therapy, if you will 🙂 Also, changing your thought process about a task from something you have to do to something you choose to do instead can really help to have a more positive mindset about accomplishing it.
2. COMBINE THE CHORE/TASK WITH SOMETHING ENJOYABLE: Try combining your mundane task with doing something else you enjoy at the same time. Some ideas that I often do are listen to music or a favorite podcast, burn a candle/diffuse some essential oils, or call a family member or a best friend to chat while I power away on my task at hand. Find some way to make that task slightly more enjoyable and I can guarantee you might actually start looking forward to completing it next time!
3. COMPLETE ONE TASK AT A TIME: Sometimes, mundane tasks can pile up, especially if you put them off–that’s okay! We all have those times/days/weeks. If the pile-up happens, just take a deep breath and focus on one task at a time to prevent becoming too overwhelmed. You can even make a list of your tasks and mark them off one-at-a-time to get a better sense of accomplishment!
4. ASK FOR HELP: Doing things we dislike is definitely more fun when we are in good company. An chore I personally dislike is folding clothes. I never mind washing them, but folding them and putting them away is a different story…am I right or am I right?! Funny enough, even though my 6-year-old and 3-year-old are usually aren’t the best at folding clothes, having them with me makes the task a lot more fun for me. They get excited about learning and helping whereas I’m just trying to get it over with as quickly as possible. So instead of folding clothes while they are sleeping, we usually make it a fun game, seeing who can fold the best and put their clothes away in the correct places. It’s made this particular part of laundry go from something I dread, to something I find joy in just because it is more fun to do with those I enjoy spending time with (and that want to help, too)! And of course there is a reward/treat in it for them, too 🙂
5. PUT THE LEAST FAVORITE CHORE/TASK AT THE TOP OF YOUR LIST: Sometimes, just getting the most dreaded task over with is so empowering!
6. REWARD YOURSELF: When those filthy dishes and dirty kitchen are staring you in the face after dinner, allow yourself to savor a dessert, drink a glass of wine or sit in peace on the couch for 5 minutes to relax after you complete your daunting task of nightly post-dinner cleaning. Having some type of reward to look forward to can definitely help you power through when you really aren’t in the mood! And, hey, who doesn’t love dessert and wine? Or both!
My hope is for these lessons to stick with you as they have with me. That you will look at the mundane as a chance to find joy in the dreaded tasks you have to tackle every day. Have the courage to do all of the hard things, and take them on with a different outlook and a joyful mind!