I enjoy doing boring, repetitive, mundane tasks

Posted on — | 3 min read

The title of this post seems kinda oxymoronic. Enjoyment and boredom seem to be opposites, so to speak. If we’re bored, that means we’re not stimulated and that means we’re not enjoying whatever it is we’re doing (or not doing).

Most people I know hate doing mundane repetitive tasks or chores like cleaning, folding clothes, etc. I particularly like them. Not because I enjoy doing them. But because that’s where a lot of my thoughts and ideas form connections. I’ve had a lot of epiphanies and aha moments during these times.

For the longest time, I didn’t connect the dots of what motivated me to actually do “boring and repetitive” chores. I just did them. And when there was a choice between who in the household wanted to do the boring repetitive task, I always stepped up. After a while, I started viewing that as a negative since I thought seeking to do such boring chores meant I rather prefer doing those tasks than doing something more creative and stimulating. And that somehow by doing so, I was underachieving.

However, I later realized that my mind starts wandering and inevitably starts thinking about things I read recently, a situation that happened to me recently or a recent conversation I had. A lot of times, my mind wanders into a problem at work I’d be struggling to solve. And amidst the cleaning or doing the dishes, or folding clothes, I’d suddenly find answers. This has happened so many times that I started enjoying such tasks. The main reason being, it gives my mind a break from the distraction in front of me.

I constantly jump from one task to the next. Sometimes I try to multi-task, and fail miserably. I’d be working on some piece of code at the end of my workday and as soon as I’m done, I’d go to the living room to watch some TV, or play a game, or read a book, or check Reddit. Once I’m done with that task, I’d switch to another one immediately. I don’t take breaks in between. I just keep hopping. This keeps my mind occupied and it’s always in consumption mode. My mind never gets a break, it never gets some rest to process what it consumed. It continuously consumes.

Doing chores forces our mind to disconnect from distractions and just do something “mindlessly”. Those tasks are so “boring” that the brain is not required to apply logic, creativity, critical thinking or any of that. It is now free and this is when it starts to process what it consumed earlier. Connections are made, epiphanies are had, magic happens. These are the kind of feelings I long for. That moment when you figure something out. When you spend a lot of time and struggle to understand a concept, and then it finally hits you and everything makes sense. That’s extremely satisfying.

If you think about it, it’s a win-win-win.

  • Win 1: you actually finish the chore. So the dishes are now clean, or the clothes are folded. Thanks to you.
  • Win 2: you had epiphanies, made connections, formed ideas, cultivated opinions. You grew.
  • Win 3: you actually enjoyed doing something that’s very mundane. We seek satisfaction in what we do and what we did here is take something that most people don’t find any satisfaction doing, and turned it into a superpower.

So, yeah. Just because a task is boring, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing. You can get a lot out of it and make your day-to-day experiences enjoyable.