I have a tendency to look around my slovenly hovel (cleaning is my least favourite activity and it shows) and say ‘I’m going to Sort This Out’. Fast forward a few days (or hours) and you’ll find me slumped over a tear-stained ‘to do’ list’, a cat nibbling gently on one of my toes and the scent of defeat thick in the air.
Or, I’ll decide that I’m going to get a handle on my budget Once And For All. No more unnecessary spending, no more treats, no more waste, no more Anything. Of course, that lasts as long as the next time I fancy a bar of chocolate (or a book or meal out) or I have to buy something essential (and expensive) like tyres for the car.
Instead of approaching it with an all or nothing mindset, I’ve learned to (mostly) remember to take baby steps. I tell myself that this month I will look at my direct debits for boring things like insurance. I will check that the cover still suits my family and will ring round (Google) for cheaper quotes. That’s it. Big tick. Well done. Have some crisps.
Instead of drawing up a weekly cleaning rota with long lists of tasks for every day, try adding one item into your daily (or weekly) schedule. Just one thing. Stick at it until it’s become a new habit and then (once you’ve patted yourself on the back), add something else.
For example, if you’re sick of waking up to a messy kitchen, add ‘washing up the dinner things’ or ‘wipe down the surfaces before bedtime’. Make it something small and achievable and don’t be tempted to add anything else new until that task is so utterly routine and habitual that you no longer even notice you’re doing it.
If you’re overwhelmed by clutter, make a pledge to pick up and put away/throw away five items.
If you’re behind with your paperwork then pick up one item from the top of the nearest pile and deal with it. If you promise yourself you’re only going to look at one item, it becomes instantly doable.
How about you? Do you play mind games to make large (or unappealing) tasks more manageable?