View profile

How to Do What You Hate

How to Do What You Hate
I’m not proud to admit this.
I have a really hard time forcing myself to do things I hate.
My wife knows this all too well.
My parents knew this when I was a kid.
And I know it–I’m just now admitting it in public.
Cleaning the dishes.
Washing the sheets.
You name it.
I can work up productivity tricks for things I want to do, but if I don’t like doing something, it’s very hard for me to get it done.
BUT…I’ve discovered a way to trick my brain.
And now I’m having more success getting things done that I detest.

Doing the Dishes
There’s something about washing the dishes that eats away at me.
I almost go into an existential state of dread when I’m doing them.
This is such a waste of time!
My life is slipping away…
My hands are cracked and will bleed, and it will make my life miserable.
Is this what humans are meant to do???
I know. It seems dramatic.
And my brain is a bit dramatic.
But I’ve learned something about my anxious brain.
It’s hard for me to get started doing something I dislike because my anxiety tells me that the task will take forever. Or very close to forever.
And because I feel a task will take forever, that means I’m not going to have time to pursue what I want to do with my life.
I won’t accomplish my goals. I won’t visit faraway lands.
The interesting thing is that while I’m worrying about what I won’t get to do I’m not actually accomplishing anything of value.
I’d be much better off…just doing the dishes.
But the brain has a way of failing to get started when it’s latched onto an idea.
It will make you feel like not getting started is the only way to protect your time and your independence.
It will leave you in limbo so that it can control you.
But not getting started on a task I hate causes several problems.
It makes my partner resent me.
The tasks taunt me the more they don’t get done.
And I don’t feel good about the fact that there’s something I should be doing so I can get on to what I want to be doing.
Fortunately, there’s a simple trick.
How to Confront What You Hate
That simple trick has to do with, for lack of a better word, tricking your brain.
Because your brain knows what it likes, and you can use that to your advantage.
The next time you’re confronted with a task that you hate, pair it with something you love.
For me, it’s listening to music or podcasts.
This activity, without fail, brings me joy.
And if I can’t look forward to doing the dishes, I most certainly can look forward to listening to an educational podcast.
Learning is something I value over almost everything else.
I believe that if I’m not learning, I’m dying.
I’ll sometimes put reading over eating for the day.
And so I’ve learned to use this to my advantage.
Now, instead of thinking, Oh no, I have to do the dishes, I think, Yes, I get to listen to one of my favorite podcasts.
This is a pretty privileged position to be in, I get that.
Not everyone has access to this kind of luxury in their lives, and I’m very grateful I can even pair activities in this way.
But there are other things you can do as well when you’re struggling to do something you hate:
  1. You could pair dancing with making the bed.
  2. You could pair singing with taking a shower.
  3. You could pair listening to music with folding laundry.
  4. You could pair having a favorite tv show in the background with cooking.
You’re smart.
You know what you love and what you hate.
Put the two together the next time you’re stuck.
It’s surprisingly effective once you know what motivates you.
There are so many things in our lives we don’t want to do. But not doing them is no way to live. Confront what you must do–and then figure out what tools you have at your disposal to trick your brain!
Until we meet again (on Wednesday..), I am,
Jordan
P.S. The Kindle version of In Search of Happiness: Healing Through Mental Health Poetry is on sale for just $3.99 for the rest of Mental Health Awareness Month!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

The Mental Health Update Mental Health Newsletter provides you with authentic mental health articles that make mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and OCD meaningful AND accessible.

This is different from typical mental health newsletters and articles about mental health challenges.

It's not just an Anxiety Email Newsletter or a Depression Email Newsletter - It's two weekly articles packed with timeless mental health wisdom and inspiration to start your day in a thoughtful, uplifting way.

I was tired of other "mental health care" newsletters blasting out generic lists of links and depression articles.

And I was especially tired of them not focusing on the everyday reality of mental health issues.

So I decided to come up with something I wanted to read.

This health newsletter is like a caring friend that just wants you to feel better.

Mental health awareness articles don't need to be all doom and gloom and filled with jargon.

With The Mental Health Update, you'll get practical mental health information, tips, and new ways to view the world. Especially now, with people reeling from the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, we need trusted voices telling it like it is.

We discuss topics like anxiety, depression, OCD, the mental health to mental illness spectrum, social and communication skills, and much, much more.

This is what a few subscribers had to say about The Mental Health Update:

"If you haven't yet subscribed to Jordan's mental health newsletter, you absolutely should. It's chock full of good stuff to read and will help make your day better. Not unlike a daily vitamin for your mental health and soul..." - JR

"Encouragement from someone who has “been there” when it comes to mental health struggles. Comes in the form of stories and simple, actionable tips for reframing and working with - and through - your issues. One of the few newsletters that has survived my ruthless inbox decluttering sprees. Highly recommended!" - Kelila

"Jordan's mental health update is a welcomed email in my inbox. It often provides me with a chance to break from the mundane tasks of working in an office and take a moment for myself to hear his thoughtful and well put together thoughts on many aspects of mental health. As someone who works in the psychology field it's often a nice reminder and way of grounding myself to all the great work that's going on and the journey we all must take in supporting mental health. Thank you Jordan!" - Rob

I take my no-spam policy very seriously. I consider it a mental health obligation to not abuse your trust or raise your anxiety.

Newsletter articles sent on Tuesday and Thursday.

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Missoula, MT