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Make tasks easier for you to do

What do folding clothes and listening to music have in common?

For me, they're on the extreme ends of a spectrum. I enjoy listening to music and I find folding clothes to be a tedious chore. So, I started doing them together. And as you can guess, folding clothes became more tolerable.

This is similar to but not exactly what Katy Milkman terms as 'Temptation Bundling' in her book, How to Change.

Another way I get myself to do monotonous tasks is by allowing myself a 'treat' only after I do an unexciting task. To give you an example: I like watching You Tube videos. This was my default post lunch activity when at home. Then I read that walking for even 2 minutes after lunch is beneficial for health. So, I started watching You Tube only after walking for a few minutes.

I also found a way to make the walk more enjoyable. I started reading a book as I walked. This has helped me walk for longer and read more. Of course, much of this is possible only when I'm at home. It does make a difference nonetheless.

If you're curious about Temptation Bundling - it refers to pairing what you want (like) to do with something that you should do (an activity that provides delayed rewards).

What's the catch?

It's that you let yourself do that specific activity which you like only while you’re doing the other activity that you consider dreary.

Katy Milkman shares examples of how as someone who loves reading, she let herself read only while working out at the gym; she got pedicures only when she had a reading assignment, and watched the Netflix shows that she liked only while folding laundry.

She cautions that it’s not easy to pair a cognitively demanding task with another cognitively demanding task. Writing a report while listening to a podcast that features 2 of your favorite personalities. Ditto for physically demanding activities as well. If you enjoy eating, you can't pair it with exercising ;)

There you go, those are 3 ways to get yourself to do tasks that you think of as drab.

What has helped you tackle such tasks?


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