As usual, it’s been a big day. As you’re sitting down to browse Netflix, a voice interrupts.
“Clean your room! Why haven’t you watched yesterday’s lectures yet? Check the mailbox”
“What’s the hurry?” you respond, “I’ll have the energy to do it later”
“Unpack your lunchbox!”
“But I could do it tomorrow morning as I get ready for class,” you counter.
“Have you put your clothes in the washing basket? The milk’s almost run out too.”
“Ssshhh – I’m trying to focus on Netflix! I don’t see any point doing my chores since they’ll all just pile up again anyway. Besides, I’m gonna die one day so why burden my years with mundane tasks – especially since the universe might be a simulation run by aliens and by the way what is the meaning of human existence?”
Okay. You’ve proven your point and convinced the opposing voice – your own better judgement – to let you leave your errands untended.
But somehow you don’t feel relaxed.
In fact, the room remains messy, the work not done, and you’ve been distracted by the dialogue in your mind. It becomes apparent you’re actually feeling uneasy not from your impending death and the world being a simulation but rather because of the strain of thinking about yet-to-be-done tasks – it’s as if you’re doing them, only you’re not; a band-aid approach.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. The solution: become a robot. A drone. A mechanised incognisant automaton. This way you can simply download software into your brain to get you to do your chores on autopilot – everything from making your bed in the morning to packing your bag for the next day or tidying your room.
If that’s too much for you, there’s always plan B – having a routine! This way you can still take the motivational mental debates out of the process in much the same (albeit a more human) way. By habitually ticking a few key things each day you can get a sense of achievement and clarity, and the tying-up of loose ends might help quell some of those late-night thoughts about all the things to do tomorrow. What’s more, moving through a routine can be fun (the only thing that tops singing in the shower is singing while washing dishes!) and an opportunity to practise mindfulness.
This isn’t to say be a perfectionist and follow a routine down to the word 365.25 days per year – a day off here and there can definitely be worthwhile in the long-run to help make it a smart goal. After all, generallybeing on top of a routine means that things are already in order and it’s okay to take a day off when needed.
The next day you’re arriving when home a familiar voice pops into your head:
“It might be a good day to go for a run,”
“Okay, let’s rip this off like a band-aid!”
15 minutes later you sit down, content with your efforts and fully relaxed.