Time to Read (using avg wpm): 9 mins
Sped Up (1.5x)
*Press Play for a Read Along*
Time to do the laundry again…
Time to do the dishes again…
Time to mow the lawn again…
Clean the house…
Exercise, weed the garden, shop…
Laundry, dishes, lawn, clean, exercise, weed, shop, laundry…
Tedium, tedium, tedium.
No escape but to wear dirty clothes, eat from food stained plates, have a jungle yard and be unhealthy. It’s a sacrifice for your own greater good and there’s no way out but ill-health and homelessness… right?
- The Tactics
- Final Words
So what we are talking about here, in kitchen terms, is prep work. If you have an order for a burger and you don’t have your tomatoes and onions pre-sliced and your raw beef patties already pre-portioned out and so on, then you have to do your prep as you go. There may be a certain sense of art to that, making each burger from scratch, but it won’t be much appreciated by the guy who gets his burger 40 minutes later. Without preparation, you lose efficiency.
Same in life. If you had to wash your clothes each day before you put them on, as opposed to doing it all at once, you would lose the efficiency of it. Though it may bring more meaning to hand wash your clothes each day, you potentially sacrifice good time from somewhere else.
So there it is. Prep work. Necessary but bland. Assembly line and mass production, trading art and meaning for efficiency.
You do the prep work for the sake of maintenance. You sacrifice the time as an investment, opening up more time for the art and meaning that can come from other places.
But I’ve got a way where it doesn’t have to be that sacrifice. But instead, you can superimpose meaning on top of the efficiency. While we do our prep, we can still be immersed in meaning and art and growth.
And anyway, with a life so short it should be a criminal offense to spend any time without art, meaning, growth or purpose.
Yeah whatever, it’s easy to gobldy-gook it all up but what can I use from all of this? What are you talking about? Where are the tactics?
Well, what I’ve been doing to impose meaning on my regular maintenance is using exclusivity tactics. That’s what I call them, at least. And the essence is, during a specific tedious activity, I spice it up by pairing it with it’s own, exclusive, artful or meaningful activity, that I can do at the same time.
We’re going to go into this but let me just give you a small example:
While I do my laundry I listen to comedy. The laundry gets done and maintains my ability to go outside without being rejected, at least not because of my clothes (only until I start talking), while gaining the insight and enjoyment that comedy provides. And I’m not just trying to force meaning into comedy, I really believe there are a lot of benefits to listening to comedy and you’ll see what I mean later.
So I’ve taken something bland that I do for maintenance and painted it with something that I can still enjoy and find growth in.
But, you can’t do just anything on top of your tedium, it has to be something that you can focus on while your body and muscle memory do the work. So most of your actual exclusivity tactics are going to be using your ears and maybe even your eyes, if you can handle it (which I can’t).
But why? What’s the point of making it exclusive?
Well that’s the whole point actually. By making it exclusive you create an association.
Say, when you are mowing the lawn you exclusively listen to classical music. Now, assuming that you like classical music, since it is exclusive to mowing the lawn, you now associate mowing the lawn with something that you enjoy and can get a lot out of.
The exclusivity creates an association of this activity of boring drudgery, with some variety that can come in the forms of art to experience or knowledge to gain or perspective to test, and now you positively prime yourself for the experience, whenever the activity is on your list.
So now, folding your clothes becomes, social awareness and perspective testing time! (Comedy)
And doing the dishes becomes, catching up on your favorite people’s biographies time!
And going to the store is, favorite health podcast time!
And now you think, “mow the lawn? Oh boy!”
For it to associate, it has to be exclusive.
So, as an example to further explain exclusivity:
You assign documentaries to laundry. For this to be exclusive, you can’t watch documentaries when doing anything else and you can’t do anything else while doing laundry.
(This is assuming that you like documentaries)
Now that the activities are exclusive, when you think laundry, you prime for documentaries and one, get more out of the documentaries, because of the priming, and two, suddenly the time that you used to sacrifice to laundry is now time well spent.
Aha! Exclusivity Tactics!
Naming, a List by Doug
End of Intermission.
Okay, so here are some examples of possible tedious maintenance activities:
- Mowing the Lawn
- Organizing the House/Apartment
- Deep Cleaning the House/Apartment
- Weeding the Garden
- Going Shopping
And here are some examples of exclusivity tactics, to assign to specific maintenance:
- Listening to Comedy
- Listening to Books
- Watching TV
- Listening to Music
And now here’s why those are good tactics along with some examples of how to use them.
- Listening to Comedy – Like I said above, there is value in comedy. I think that the right comedy gives you a good look at the world sans-societal expectations and, for lack of a better word, brainwashing (conditioning was the word I was looking for). It wouldn’t be comedy if it wasn’t funny and it wouldn’t be funny unless it was new ideas. Comedy takes your experiences and shows you them from a different angle, usually without political correctness. I think that is healthy both in a stress relief sense but also from an experience and views standpoint.
- Listening to Books – Yeah, this is the best. This can be fiction, nonfiction, biography, more niched, etc… Open your mind and listen to the best stories or learn from the best writers, or both. With books you can’t just exclusive-ise all books to one activity. That’s too limiting. So instead you can break them up and exclusive-ise types of books or even genres of books. Say for example, you exclusively listen to fiction while you weed the garden.
- Podcasts – Another favorite, there are podcasts on any and everything, and the podcast market is only growing. These are much easier to exclusive-ise because you can break them up by the show and only listen to certain shows while you do a particular activity. Like you exclusively listen to your money podcasts while you clean the house.
- Watching TV – Be careful with this one. This one also has many branches and genres to break into. I recommend to be honest with yourself about if a show or genre that you pick will actually add to your life. If you do add in TV as an exclusivity tactic I would exclusive-ise branches like, documentaries or types of documentaries, shows where you can learn things like, cooking shows and such, and shows that expand your cultural understanding like certain travel shows. Stuff like that. I say to be careful with TV because there are many shows that do not aide you in any way and are full of empty fun that wastes your time and takes away from your life.
- Listening to Music – Do this during the maintenance times that are a little too inclusive for you to be able to just muscle memory them. For example, with exercise. It is a daily practice. Something that does have a lot of beauty, but is very hard to appreciate in the moment. Your body is saying, “Hey jerk! This hurts! Cut it out!” So even if you are consciously making the effort to embrace the exercise as positive, you have a nag prodding at your senses and reminding you that you could be more comfortable if you stopped. It’s harder to pay attention to something like a podcast or a comedy show. So instead you could use something like music, which is it’s own communication, but is much easier to follow and is still enjoyable. — And it’s quite an ask to exclusive-ise music, like with the other ones, so just exclusive-ise different branches of music like classical, jazz or hip hop.
Come up with some of your own exclusivity tactics too. The only qualifiers are, one, you must challenge, grow, learn or gain experience from them and two, you should enjoy doing them!
And now assign these exclusivity tactics to your maintenance!
To make this perfect, you will need stopping points to evaluate and change things around to both improve your experience and to also keep it interesting.
The point of the evaluation is to maintain a state of enjoyment. If you stop enjoying one of your exclusivity tactics you must change it out.
Everybody has a different way of collecting and analyzing feedback, some like big month long charts with “how do I feel about this tactic” data points and some just say, “Eh… I think I’m going to change my tactic today.” So do whatever way works best for you.
Also, I like to make it so that the harder the work, the more fun the exclusivity tactic I assign — to sort of balance it out to retain enjoyment. Like, with weeding, I would listen to fiction because I dislike weeding and I really enjoy fiction. While at work and I’m cooking I do all of my self-help listening, podcasts first and then books. Because I don’t mind cooking, it’s not as miserable as weeding, I still have the capacity to engage mentally with my “less-fun” podcasts and books.
Find a balance, keep experimenting and try until you find the set up that’s right for you!
This can work without the exclusivity and this can work without using meaningful and artful tactics. But this is made as exclusive and has included tactics to make you better because this is made for value. By making the tactics exclusive you get the most value and by having the tactics make you better you get even more value.
You can offset the tedium by wasting time but at least licking up dopamine — or you can blow the tedium out of the water with a value bomb and prepare and maintain, experience and grow, and enjoy yourself, all at the same time!
I hope this helps you to get more out of your life!
Share this if you liked it!