You know the laundry is piling up, last night dinner dishes are ready to be washed, and those dirty toilets need some scrubbing. This needs to be done! The guilt is killing you, but you need help. How do you stay motivated to do chores?
You can start by getting rid of all the things that you don’t need. Then create a chore management list and break down the tasks to have a sense of control. Set timers to limit how long chores take and listen to your favorite music or podcast for motivation. Finally, reward yourself and others for a job well done.
Whether you live in an old house or you just got a new house like us, there is something that doesn’t change: household chores will always be there for you to do.
Let’s go over what you can do to help you stay motivated to do chores.
1. Clear the Clutter
If you are at a point that you need therapy because of the many chores you have, this should be the first step you should probably take.
When you get rid of the unnecessary items, you don’t have to clean up for the things you don’t have. When you own less, inevitably, you will have less messy things to take care of.
I am not talking about being a minimalist here. But we can all benefit by creating a list of things that we need and things that we don’t need.
You may be asking: Why is this important? We still need to do the chores.
Well, at a minimum, it has a critical mental benefit. Things will look tidier after you do the chores, which may motivate you to clean again.
Let’s go over a couple of examples.
You have washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen again. And somehow, it doesn’t look that clean. It could be that you have too many things in the kitchen.
Let’s go over some examples of typical kitchens:
You and your significant other have 3 blenders on the kitchen counter: One for his morning smoothies and one for your afternoon juice.
The other one is the one your mother gave you for Christmas. You don’t use it, but you keep it on the counter for when she comes.
Solution: Use one blender so that your kitchen counter looks “cleaner.” And donate or sell the other two.
You have two vacuum cleaners, one is in the closet, and the other one is by the side of the fridge because you don’t have room for the two of them in the closet.
Solution: Use one vacuum cleaner so that it looks cleaner around your fridge. Donate or recycle the other one.
You get my point. You may have too much, and your house may not be dirty; there just may be too much clutter.
2. Create a Chore Management List
Like everything else in life, before you tackle any project, you need to know what tasks are there and how many. Having a management list will help you not become overwhelmed with all the chores.
Once you have a list, you can decide the best order to tackle the tasks. Perhaps it is better to clean the kitchen when no one else is around. If your dog barks when you vacuum (like our corgi, Luna), you may decide to vacuum when someone else takes the dog for a walk. In our case, for now, that is easier than training Luna not to bark.
A management list will mentally prepare you for the upcoming chores and hopefully reduce stress and make you more motivated.
How Can You Create this List
You can certainly create it manually yourself with pen and paper, or you can use existing free templates.
- If you like Excel, there is a free Chore schedule available from Microsoft Office.
- I also found several Chore Chart Templates in Google Docs.
If you want to be a little more sophisticated, there are several apps that help you manage chores.
- One of those apps is Our Home, which is available in the App Store and Google Play.
Notice that we are talking about managing chores and not just doing them yourself.
More on that next.
3. Get Everyone Involved
Regardless of who you are, your resume probably doesn’t include “cleaner master” in it. So, unless you are living by yourself, get everyone in the house involved with the chores.
The old saying, “divide and conquer,” applies here. You can get everything done twice as fast if you get everyone involved. And don’t say that it is faster if you do it. That’s what they want you to think.
However, everything comes down to square one: how can you get them to start doing chores when you’re not motivated yourself?
Maybe you’ll get lucky, and someone else in your family likes the chores you don’t like. That may build up some motivation. But you may need more.
4. Break Down the Tasks
Speaking of motivation, you won’t get much cooperation if you ask someone to do a huge chore on day one.
Once you have the initial list of chores complete, you should break down the large chunks of tedious work into smaller, manageable tasks.
For example, if the chore is garage clean-up, you can start by dividing all garage items into four buckets: keep, sell, donate, and trash.
Then you can assign each one of those buckets to a family member. One would take the items to be donated to the charity location of your choice.
Someone else can manage the items to be sold. This can be involved, so you may want to motivate the chosen person with a percentage of the profit.
Finally, someone will take trash items to appropriate city dumpsters.
5. Set Timers
Time management is always important, but I think it is specially important when you are doing chores. Nothing kills motivation more than spending the whole day doing chores.
A typical issue with chores is getting sidetracked. Especially, when you find something that you have been looking for, like a shirt that you lost a week ago!
I get it, I always do that, I mean, how was it not under the bed when I looked before? A timer helps with that. It will remind you that you shouldn’t take 1 hour with a chore that should take 30 minutes.
Another thing you can do here is to set up reminders. Either one in the morning after waking up or right before you sleep. This way, you will be able to dedicate one part of the day to only cleaning.
6. Create a Housework Playlist
Think of it in this way: your chores don’t have to feel like a chore at all. It can be something fun you do for yourself every day. Create a cleaning playlist with your favorite upbeat songs and dance away while you’re getting that stubborn dirt from the carpet.
However, if that doesn’t sound like you, you can always opt for a podcast to give you a knowledge boost while you’re doing some tedious household chore. This is the best way to feel that you are not wasting your time.
7. Reward Yourself and Others
Celebrate that you followed a plan and completed it successfully. Do the same with your family members. A little appreciation goes a long way.
Here is where apps like the one I mentioned above (Our Home) come in handy, especially if you have kids, because it includes a way to incentivize improvement.
For example, this app links tasks to a weekly allowance, screen time, or a family holiday. In other words, it aligns incentives with ongoing effort.
I haven’t used the app because we don’t have kids at home anymore, but I love the idea. Please let me know in the comments what you think if you use any of these apps.
Now that you have read this far, I am sure you’re all set to start some good household chores. I know, they are never pleasant no matter how well you manage them. But it is much easier when you take control of them. After all, they are not going anywhere, so either you take charge, or they will continue to be very unpleasant.