My mother-in-law recently gave me a pair of bright yellow rain boots. They are silly and funny and very good at keeping my feet dry. I cannot stop smiling when I wear them. And, now that I own them, I look forward to it raining. I actually cheered last night when the weatherman on the news said rain was in the forecast for today.
Most people don’t look forward to the rain because it slows down traffic and forces you to spend more time indoors than preferred. Before the boots, I felt this way, too. The rain was an inconvenience to me. However, one simple change — new yellow boots — and my entire perspective has been altered from negative to positive.
Along these lines, are there tasks in your work or home life you dislike completing and procrastinate doing? Could changing one thing associated with those tasks improve your perspective and help you to get the work done?
- Appearance: If you dislike the look of something, you may not enjoy using the object. If your laundry room in your house is in a dark, concrete, unfinished basement, you might avoid doing the laundry because you don’t want to spend time in the space. A little paint on the walls, some vinyl flooring, new shelving, and improved lighting might be all you need to change to help you to keep current with this chore. Brightly colored file folders might help you to be interested in your filing. A sharp looking notepad or a new pen might help you to write down to-do reminders.
- Timing: Changing when you do an activity can also improve your perspective about it. If you normally try to tackle an unpleasant task right before you leave work for the day, try moving it to right after lunch or first thing in the morning to see if it helps you to get it done. If you dislike the crowds at the grocery store on the weekends, make a routine of going shopping on Tuesday evenings.
- Game On: For tasks I have to do that don’t take much time or mental power (like cleaning my desk or taking out the trash), I set a timer and see how quickly I can do them. I record the times and make notes about how I changed the task to make it more efficient. It sounds ridiculous, but the game of racing the clock and finding a more efficient way to do something is fun for me. Create a game you would enjoy, and it might help you to complete the undesirable task.
- Linking Activities: Plain and simple, some tasks are just not enjoyable. However, there are things you can link to these unpleasant activities to improve the overall experience. If you dread going to the dentist, find a friend who goes to the same dentist and start making your appointments for regular cleanings back-to-back. You can catch up over breakfast before the appointments, chat in the waiting room, and console each other afterward. If you’re not fond of having to drive to a far-flung location for a meeting, find a restaurant or place you would enjoy visiting nearby, and then be sure to stop at the more interesting location when you’re done with your meeting. If you don’t enjoy returning phone calls, make sure the last call you return is to someone you really enjoy talking to.
What have you done to improve your perspective about a dreaded task and turn it into an activity you want to complete? What activities in your life could use a makeover? Share your strategies and struggles in the comments.