Thursday, November 13, 2008
13 Ways to Complete Household Drudgery without Numbing Your Mind
A housewife can spend many hours a week in mundane drudgery. In many of those chores one's hands stay busy, but the mind is left to its own devices.
I have found that if I am not deliberate about what I do with my mind during those times, it's easy to get resentful or negative. And, when you think about it, that's really an awful waste. There are so many useful and pleasant things I could be doing with that "free time" for my mind.
Here are thirteen ideas for making housework more pleasant:
1. Listen to books on tape, the radio, or podcasts. My mom always had classic pieces of literature blasting through the house as she did the dishes. As kids, that meant we were introduced to lots of great works like Sherlock Holmes and Jane Eyre effortlessly.
2. Pray while you work. You could assign a different kind of prayer to each chore. For example, dusting might be the time you think about and pray for your church's missionaries.
3. Work on making internal to-do lists. This way you don't waste time in between tasks figuring out what you are going to do next. Keep a small notebook nearby to jot down the tasks if the list becomes long.
4. Race yourself. Be very clever about efficiency, and run a timer to keep track of your progress. See if you can improve your time each time you do the task. Read Cheaper by the Dozen for inspiration!
5. Quiz your children on their times tables, spelling, etc.
6. Plan your next blog entry.
7. Make fun lists. Think of Christmas present ideas for your friends and family. Come up with ideas for new holiday traditions in your household. Make lists of your favorite foods. Think about insightful ways you might answer the question "how are you?" the next time you are asked. Keep a notebook nearby to jot down things you don't want to lose.
8. Let your children quiz you on fun things. Collect books of trivia questions, riddles, etc. that they can use.
9. Memorize Scripture. Keep index cards with Bible verses you want to memorize taped around your kitchen to help you when you get stuck. Change the verses periodically.
10. Whistle while you work. Or hum, or sing, or sing along with music on a CD. Not only will it improve your mood, it lets the rest of your house feel your happiness as well.
11. Think about ways you might make the task an art instead of a chore. The classic example of this to me is my mom making pie crusts. She always makes them from scratch even though it takes a long time and she thinks that storebought taste almost as good. She does it because it is something she really studied how to do, and she takes a healthy kind of pride in doing it well. Many things can be made more pleasant through a little creativity and by adding extra touches that make the completion of the task something special.
12. Come up with fun bedtime stories you can tell your children that night.
13. Consider how you will teach your children to do the task you are doing. What kind of things do you take for granted that they would need to be told and shown?