I have always imagined that if I ever had a lot of money, I would outsource all of my house chores.
Everything — from cooking, to cleaning, to gardening. No matter which aspect of my house chores it was, I would find somebody to take care of it for me.
My reasoning for this was simple:
I figured that if I hired somebody else to do it for me, I would have plenty of more time to focus on my work. After all — I could make much more money during this time that it would cost me to pay somebody.
I also strongly dislike pretty much every aspect of it.
To be honest, for me it is mostly because of my obsession with work. I become nervous, whenever I am forced to do stuff that feels like a waste of time to me.
I can’t help it.
It’s a negative part of mine, that I need to accept for what it is. Perhaps it will get better over the years. But for the time being, it is a part of who I am.
Unfortunately, there is a truth about house chores that I keep forgetting. You see, when we are doing our house chores (or any other kind of simple, repetitive activity), our brain is entering a particular state.
This state is what brain imaging expert Dr. Srini Pillay has coined as the state of “unfocus”.
When we are in the state of unfocus, we are not bringing our attention to anything in particular. Our mind is wandering from one thing to the other, with no particular purpose.
On first view, this seems pretty pointless.
But the truth is, it’s not pointless at all.
In this state, our brain is highly active. It is making connections between different things we have learned. It is bringing our attention to new factors, which we haven’t considered yet.
Most importantly, it gives our subconscious mind the space to process information. It is in this state, that we usually get one of these famous ‘Eureka!’ moments.
Because it is in this state, that we are capable of noticing all those fleeting thoughts, which our subconscious mind is producing all the time.
Of course, we don’t need to do our house chores to enter the state of unfocus. Other light activities, such as walking, taking a shower, or doing yoga, will do the trick, too.
But the truth is, that most of us are filling up our calendars until they explode.
In today’s society, the focus of most people is on activity. We are doers. We are constantly in motion. We lead ‘busy’ lives. We are trying to maximise the use of our time, in order to get as much done as possible.
We simply don’t give our brain enough space to rest.
We simply don’t give our brain enough space to do what it loves — daydreaming and wandering off to a different planet.
As a result, our brain does these things when we are supposed to be working. We sit there in front of our laptops, thinking that we are working so hard. In reality, we are thinking about what we are going to eat for dinner today.
Our house chores give our brain the time and space to rest, wander, and be unfocused.
Because they are things that we have to do on a daily basis, they force us to calm down and rest our minds for a moment.
Therefore, they bring rhythm into our lives.
For example, I used to live in a house, where it was necessary to water the garden’s plants every morning at 6am (it was in a very dry area). While I got super annoyed at the job, I also appreciated the rhythm this gave me.
I woke up every single morning at 5:45am like clockwork. While I was watering the plants, I had time to think, and prepare myself for the work day. Because of this habit, that was one of the most productive periods of my life.
I know how tempting it is to outsource your house chores. They are boring, repetitive and feel like a complete waste of time.
Truth is, they are not a waste of time at all.
Especially in a world, in which we are overloaded by different stimuli all the time, your brain needs the chance to rest for a while and simply wander off to wherever it wants to go.
Think of it as a kind of meditation.
Unless you want your brain to constantly wander off during your actual working times, establishing a regular rhythm of low-intensive periods, is incredibly important.
So, let me go and wash the dishes.
Perhaps one day, I will learn to actually enjoy the process. After all, we should live in the moment, regardless of what it is we are doing. Right?