Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Making the Most out of Dishes, Laundry and Other Tasks

My friend John recently was ruminating on his blog about shoveling snow and other tasks. He said there tend to be four mindsets we find ourselves with while doing such tasks. Here's his list:
  1. Resentful: why is not someone else (i.e. child, partner, roommate) doing this it is their turn.
  2. Tired: I just want to get through this and go to bed.
  3. Happy: Oh joy I get to wash more dishes (I have never experienced this one)
  4. Meditative: using the physical movement as a way to center your body to free your mind to wander where it may. (His is my definition; not necessarily the proper definition.)

My goal when I do the mundane work around the house is to use that time wisely--ultimately to have focused meditation/prayer. I all too often get distracted by unproductive thoughts or I just forget to spend the time being focused--I got at it simply to get the job done. Or I turn on the TV/CD player/radio so it's not so quiet.

I do think that the daily routines of life are meant to be gifts to us, but we often treat them as a pain in the rear. I think they're meant to be gifts that give us the time to gather our thoughts or have a spiritual minute in our day. I think they're meant to be gifts that provide us with opportunities to reflect, plan or just have some time where we don't have to think. Maybe we're not able to be alone during those tasks, but they give us opportunities to teach our children how to do them and how to be diligent workers. Or they're just some time to talk--whether with a child or a spouse.

So, I admit I fail at making the most of these moments the majority of the time. I know I need to go into them with discipline to use the time as I desire and not let things distract me or let myself be unproductive. Developing my self-discipline is part of that.

How about you? Are there things you do to make the most of those routine tasks?

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