It’s all in the mindset — one way to do things you don’t want to

I hate cleaning.

I’m using the word hate about something that’s good for me. Cognitive dissonance at its best — I like clean, I just don’t like getting there. But random strangers cleaning my bathroom I like even less.

Enter problem-solving approach number one: seek advice.

The Harvard Business Review had a lot of suggestions. The one I took was “pairing unpleasurable activities with pleasurable ones to boost your overall mood.” That sounded workable, and it fit another challenge I had — never having the time to listen to podcasts.

So I found a podcast and then listened while I cleaned.

That worked. For a while. But bit by bit the toil caught up to me.

I still didn’t like cleaning, and listening to the podcast didn’t boost my motivation enough.

I powered through, thinking I might just be tired, that maybe I had the wrong podcast. But every week the drudgery became harder, more depressing. Nothing worked.

Until I realised I had the mindset back to front.

I was trying to boost my mood while cleaning — which meant starting from a low point. But if I started with something I wanted to do, I came from a high point. And if I just happened to be doing something with my hands…

Now I listen to a podcast, and I just happen to be cleaning at the same time.

Semantics? Maybe. But the way you think about whatever you’ve doing makes a difference.

Now I look forward to the weekend’s podcast, and if the house just happens to get clean at the same time — that’s a bonus.



Welcome to Modus Effectivus. This is the Effective Way.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store