In February, we’re talking all things Household Management, and focusing in this week on The Invisible Chores—you know, the stuff that was never on a chore chart when you were growing up, but still has to get done now.
With every move I’ve made and ever step I—just kidding. No Police. But really every time I’ve had to move I’ve encountered different invisible chores. Even taking out the trash is different in an apartment versus a home. Various ways of saving money are often invisible chores—think clipping coupons or taking time to call your insurance company and ask what discounts you qualify for. Hell, even decorating a home is a skill and a type of chore that can be one and done or a seasonal shift. It took me years to recognize that, along with doing the dishes or sorting my laundry, all of the other things that it takes to keep a home are chores too.
In my experience, simply knowing that the chores needed to get done wasn’t enough. I had to make it personal and find external motivation to get things done. So when it comes to strategizing your home’s chores, I recommend blocking off half an hour for making your plan. Here are the steps to take:
Step 1: Make two columns on your list: One-and-done items and recurring tasks. Sort chores into these two categories as you go.
Step 2: Make a list of everything that’s incomplete in your home. No judgement allowed, just put it on your list. These are the chairs you were recovering or the pile of books at the foot of your bed that you meant to alphabetize but then, you know, Instagram happened.
Step 3: Make a list of everything that annoys you in your home. This is honestly where my list furiously blooms. Visible cables on the floor. That water bottle rolling around in the back of your car every time you turn a corner. The newspaper that you cancelled that keeps showing up anyway. Write it all down.
Step 4: Make a list of things that have financial and personal deadlines (aka consequences). When these are annual things they always creep up on me (hi vehicle tag renewal) or the people to whom you want to send birthday cards this year. Write it all down, and include the due date if you know it. If you don’t know it, make a note that finding the due date is a to-do item on this list.
Step 5: Deep breathe and look at your list because this is all stuff you’ve been expecting yourself to do without acknowledging that it takes time, energy, and thankless work.
Step 6: Add in the chores you think of doing as chores.
Step 7: Plan for action. Recurring items can go on your calendar and give you reminders when it’s time to get it done. Pick 5 one-time chores to get done this week and dive into that list. For critical tasks, enlist the support of a friend if that’s your thing—I have a friend who I’ve given permission to slap me if I don’t complete tasks in a set timeframe. I don’t really advocate physical violence, but I will say that it’s highly motivational for me to get things done because she gets super excited when she gets to slap me. However you plan for action, you now see what you need to do, and you have a strategy for getting it done.
What are some of your invisible chores? Let me know on Instagram @nowthatimnotyourteacher. Also, we’re celebrating one month of NTINYT this week! If you’ve connected with an episode, I would love for you to share it with a friend. We’ll see you back here tomorrow!
Now That I'm Not Your Teacher is a podcast that offers insight about the real world stuff that teachers often want to say, but either don't have time to or really shouldn't.
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