Maybe everything old is new again, or perhaps I am becoming an old man, but I think chores get a bad rap. A few years ago, I started building myself a list of weekly chores, and I believe it has been a huge success! I hope you think about doing the same for yourself by the end of this post.
Old Idea of Chores
For some reason, when past me (from as recently as a few years ago) thought of chores, images of 1950’s sitcoms or Little House on the Prairie would flood my mind; an antiquated idea from days gone by.
To my childhood mind, chores were a list of demands from an authority figure, sometimes used for punishment, as the services rendered to earn an allowance, or as the price to pay before I was allowed to play video games or ride my bike. Whatever they were, chores were to be avoided at all costs or done as quickly as possible to the lowest acceptable standard.
New Idea of Chores
About two years ago, I had one too many weekday mornings ruined. My dog’s food container was empty when I went to feed him breakfast, and the sugar container for my coffee was empty. Both of which were needed to start the day, but I didn’t have the time to fix them both; I was already running late. Long story short, I ended up spilling dog food all over the garage and, because of dumping sugar from the bag into my cup, made coffee worthy of Willy Wonka.
For the next month, I started making a list of things I ran into that were not ready to use when needed. Eventually, I identified a list of things that I needed to start taking care of regularly. I had invented chores!
I started thinking of chores as ways to be kind to my future self. Chores allow me to avoid those little irritations that show up every day. These mental paper cuts come at the worst time and can really put a damper on the current moment, and a couple at once can ruin your day.
I have also found that batching chores can end up creating time in the long run. In response, I have dedicated Sundays to cleaning up from the previous week and helping my future self be successful for the next.
I chose Sunday as my day for chores because it is the last day of the week (read this post as to why I think that and why you should too), and my family is typically home all day.
On chores days, my son and I go through a list in OmniFocus that has many actions that prepare us for the week ahead. Before you start thinking that I am turning into a dad from one of those 50’s sitcoms, my son and I do all of the chores together. We talk about teamwork and responsibility the whole time; he loves to push the buttons on the washer and dryer, and we get to play some catch by throwing toilet paper rolls up the steps!
My Sunday Chores
I would encourage you to keep a list for a month and see what preventable paper cuts you notice in your day-to-day. Why not use the Draft complication on your Apple Watch?
If you need some inspiration, here are the chores I have identified as needing to be done every week:
- Empty Trashcans
- Reload Toilet Paper
- Refill Sugar Container
- Get Gas for the Cars
- Scan Paperwork
- Clean Reusable Water Bottles
- Clean the Kitchen Sink
- Launder the Bed Sheets
- Vacuum in the Living Room
- Recharge External Battery Packs
- Refill the Dog’s Food Container
I have these tasks in OmniFocus, and some productivity people would argue against that. The idea being that if something is in your task manager, it should be a required task. Habits or chores are best handled elsewhere. I understand their concern, but having everything in one place works best for me, so OmniFocus it is.
That being said, beware of letting chores take over your tasks. Completing a bunch of chores certainly feels productive and is valuable work, but it can lead to a false sense of productivity. There might be 10 or 15 chores on your list, right next to writing a blog post. These tasks are not equal; getting ten chores done does not permit you to skip writing a blog post.
I hope this post inspired you to think about chores as a chic form of self-care and not a punishment from your grandmother. If this post inspired you to create a list of chores, please leave a comment below of a chore I should add to my list!