My Simple Trick to Getting Cleaning Done

laundry day yay excitement

I hate doing chores not because I hate, say, washing up or sorting laundry. I hate doing chores, because I live in a huge flat and doing them takes up half of my non-work time. It would’ve been less, but… seven cats.

When I do physical labour around the house, my mind is free to wander as it sees fit. Sometimes it’s good. We all need a break from constant flows of information. Such disengaged thinking helps find inspiration, solutions, etc. etc., blah blah yadda yadda.

But my mind is constantly racing. Leaving it to its own, unoccupied for prolonged periods of time (and doing the litter boxes together with floor washing in the corridor and the smaller kitchen takes over 2 hours, and it’s a long time) is bad for me. It’s not de-stressing, it’s stressful. I don’t look for solutions, I just think about problems. And if I get a sudden rush of inspiration, then I just abandon cleaning, and it never gets done.

And I get bored, bored, bored.

So I hate chores.

And I find it ironic that the way out of this situation includes another thing that I hate with equal force.

Audiobooks.

I hate audiobooks because I can never concentrate long enough to listen to them whilst commuting or exercising. I’m not very good at picking up information audibly (don’t tell my employers…) My mind picks up a sentence, and runs away with it, and bam — half the book is over, and I have no idea what happened. Most narrators, no matter how good, begin to sound like drones about twenty minutes in.

For some damned reason, though, combining the two works perfectly.

Doing menial work gives me enough focus to listen. Listening gives me enough focus to do menial work.

If you have a similar problem, I suggest you give listening to books while doing chores a go. Watching television doesn’t work (when ironing, or cooking, or sorting laundry, for example), because I end up abandoning work in lieu of staring at the screen. Listening to music doesn’t work, because I spend more time doing silly dance moves and singing than vacuuming or washing windows. Audiobooks, however, turned out to be great.

Here are the ones I’ve finished relatively recently:

Neverwhere; technically a radio drama, but same process applies. This is absolutely amazing, whether you’re a fan of the book or have never heard of it. Audio/ book.

What the most successful people do before breakfast; not clean cat poop, apparently, but oh well. Audio/ book.

The Martian; a book that is probably better to be read than listened to. All books are better to be read, but some especially so. Regardless, this one left me lacklustre in many ways. Audio/ book.

Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories; it’s narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. Need I go on, really, what is wrong with your life. Audio.

High-Rise; current ‘read’. Been on my list for ages. Audio/ book.

Any good books you’ve listened to lately? Or read, for that matter.