You know the story all too well.
That sink full of dishes can never quite stay empty for very long. Neither can the hamper full of dirty clothes. Those fingerprints in the kitchen keep coming back. There’s always more dust to be wiped away, more dirt to be vacuumed up.
It’s repetitive. It’s mundane. It gets old fast.
But guess what? There’s a way to handle the mundane that will both help you and please God.
First, change your attitude: remember that all we do is for Christ Himself.
Paul talks about this in his letter to the Colossians:
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance
as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Every little thing we do is done for Christ. Every shirt we iron, every dish that we wash, every piece of sock fuzz we vacuum up – we are doing it for Christ Himself! Never mind whether anyone in our household notices the work we do. Never mind whether they thank us, or voice their appreciation for our efforts. Our aim is to gain Christ’s approval, and our work is to be done out of love for Him.
We shouldn’t be rolling our eyes about putting the toilet seat down, or whining about wiping crumbs off the counter, or sighing and feeling annoyed at putting something back where it belongs for the hundredth time that day.
Is that how you would do it for Jesus Christ? If He were physically living in your home, would you get frustrated at picking up His socks? At putting His clean laundry away? At emptying the trash so He could focus on something else?
What we do, we do for Christ. If we remember that, our daily tasks will become a lot less mundane.
Second, change your behavior: stick to a schedule.
It sounds like something your mother would tell you, I know. But it works.
When you have something scheduled for a specific time of day, or a specific day of the week, you don’t waste time and energy wondering whether it really needs to be done. You just do it. It becomes automatic. And it gets done much more quickly and easily.
Example #1 – Laundry piles up if it’s not done regularly. So I’ve gotten in the habit of putting a load in the washer most mornings right after breakfast. That means it’s done early enough that I have all day to fold it and put it away (sometimes the hardest part!). It also means I don’t forget about doing laundry until I have no time to wash them, or until we run out of clean clothes. And it means I don’t have a day full of 5-6 laundry loads, because I’ve been doing it little-by-little all along.
Example #2 – Cleaning the bathrooms is scheduled for Fridays. So if Wednesday comes around, and I notice a few spots around the sink, I may wipe it down – but I don’t stress about cleaning the whole bathroom right then, because I know it’s on the plan for Friday. It also means that weeks won’t go by without scrubbing the tub, until it takes a whole hour to really scrub off all the water residue. Instead, I take 5 minutes each Friday, and it never has a chance to build up.
Be creative in your scheduling. Think of as many tasks as possible that you can regulate to a certain time or day. It could be washing dishes, watering plants, ironing, wiping down appliances, dusting furniture (and electronics!), and anything else you might have a tendency to put off or forget about.
I do realize that I’m probably home more than most people, since I don’t have a kids or a regular job. But while some might be limited in your time, others are seriously limited in energy. Personally, I get fatigued incredibly easily. So it’s imperative that I pace myself, and spread these things out. I know the idea of having a schedule when you spend most days at home sounds kind of unappealing at first. But trust me, it helps! It means you don’t end up trying to clean the whole house in one day (and then crash for the next 2 days). It means you don’t have to mentally debate when you should do something, because it’s already planned ahead of time. Just don’t over-book your schedule!
So the next time things start to feel mundane, and repetitive, and very much I’ve done this all before – first, remember who you’re doing it for. And then, sit down and plan out a regular time to do it every day or every week.
Do you stick to a schedule for cleaning or housework? How has it helped you? What other amazing tips do you have for dealing with the mundane?