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Building Better Habits & Routines

5 Ways To Sprinkle Chores With Fun

By March 17, 202411 Comments
multiple colored confetti sprinkled on a white background

Most of us have heard (probably more often than we want) about breaking projects down into small steps. We know that if we start small, do what we can, that we will be successful. The task or job will get done a little bit at a time. But do you know how to make the chores even easier to tackle? When we sprinkle chores with fun, they become less onerous.

Yes! It’s true.

Are you familiar with the movie Mary Poppins? There are several versions of the movie one most recently produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Both movies have a scene in which the children are being taught by Mary Poppins that chores simply must be done. There is no escaping them. But the chores do not have to be as dull as dishwater. You can turn them into a game. Mary Poppins sings the song “Spoonful of Sugar”. In case you don’t know the song, here is the first verse:

“In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

And every task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It’s very clear to see that

A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”

While I do not know how to make chores as fun as Mary Poppins does, I do know how to sprinkle them with fun.

Check your attitude at the door

One of the most important things to remember is that you can make any job, chore, or task worse by dreading it. Our mind is very powerful. When we talk ourselves into believing that this (job, task, or chore) is one that will take a long time and be difficult to do then it will. Why?

Simply because we will drag our feet. We will probably procrastinate and do everything other than the one thing we don’t want to do.

Then when we do the dreaded task, grumbling all the while, we will probably not do it as well as we could have.

Let’s switch things around and check our attitudes at the door.

“In every job that must be done..”

We can acknowledge this chore is not something we want to do. It’s also important to recognize that doing the chore is not negotiable.

Alison Lush, a friend and professional organizer, posted a fabulous video recently in which she said (I am paraphrasing) there are always things to do around the house that we must do to keep the home clean and tidy. We may not want to do them, but these chores are the responsibility of those who live in the home. The chores do not do themselves.

Time your chores

The next thing to do is know how long the chore takes to do. The best way to do that is to time the chores. Make a list of the chores and the next time you do the chores, set the timer on your phone, and note how long the chore took to complete.

“..find the fun..”

Dr. Melanie Sobocinski ,in her talk about the ADHD Trifecta during the ICD 2024 Virtual Conference Spotlight on ADHD, suggested that we sprinkle chores with fun to make them more interesting.

Mary Poppins says to find the fun. Dr. Sobocinski suggests consciously sprinkling chores with fun.

5 ways to sprinkle chores with fun

I was scrolling through Instagram yesterday and came upon Cass Aarssen’s reel. She was talking about doing chores. She said (again, I am paraphrasing) that she listens to audiobooks and podcasts while she does chores she doesn’t like to do. Her mind is busy listening, and her body just goes along and completes the task. How great is that! In case you’re interested, Cass also hosts a podcast. Maybe you want to tune in for fun. Here are the 5 ways to sprinkle chores with fun.

Listen to a podcast or audiobook

Talk to a friend

Do the chore with a friend (virtually)

Watch a movie or show

Play your favorite tunes (and sing along)

Give yourself a reward

I am a huge believer in rewards. They do not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Just do a little something for yourself to acknowledge that you have done the chores. Here are some suggestions.

Get your favorite coffee

Take a bubble bath

Read a book or magazine

Buy flowers for fun

Light a beautifully scented candle

In Conclusion

It’s important to recognize that regularly doing chores around our home puts us in the driver’s seat. It keeps our home more organized, cleaner, and tidier. When we add in distractions (like listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts) we can make the time we spend doing the chores less onerous and more enjoyable. You may even look forward to doing certain chores if you link them to the reward of listening to another chapter in a good book. Sprinkle chores with fun and see what happens.

If you’re looking for an added layer of accountability you have a couple of choices. You can work with me one-on-one either virtually or (if you are in the Atlanta area) in-person. You can also register for a virtual organizing group I run with Jonda Beattie called Clear Space for You.

Diane N. Quintana is an ICD® Master Trainer, a Certified Professional Organizer® in Chronic Disorganization,a Certified Professional Organizer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia

11 Comments

  • I love this idea, it will absolutely make the chores more fun, like watching tv when folding laundry, it will go by much faster. For me it’s not liking to do the chores as much as I find them time consuming, like cleaning the yard from all the winter debris; listening to music or a podcast while doing it makes it feel shorter.
    Thanks for all the reminders.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    These are all excellent reminders, and now I’ll have A Spoon Full of Sugar in my head for the rest of the day! 🙂

    I definitely find that this is the one area where multitasking works. I hate almost all housework except laundry, and I will put off doing even the easiest things, like emptying the dishwasher. (My sister and I note that we don’t mind unloading the dishwasher at one another’s homes, just our own!) When I have small tasks, the element of fun I add is the distraction of a podcast. I particularly like that I can say, “Siri, play NPR News Now” and I can get a five-minute update (refreshed each hour) to keep me company of the length of time it takes to empty the dishwasher or to even to tidy the kitchen. I’ve also been known to play “beat the clock” to see how much I can put away during the span of a commercial break on TV.

    Personally, rewards *after* the fact don’t work for me, because I’m more of an avoid-the-stick than a get-the-carrot kind of person, but I think there are so many people who will absolutely be driven by the promise of some small delight. Thanks for the reminder of the ways we can make the doing of it less like drudgery!

  • Seana+Turner says:

    A couple of years ago, I had about a week when no one else was around in my family. It was in October. I decided it was a good time to do a total pantry purge and clean. I stumbled upon some old movies that felt right for the “Halloween” season.. Vincent Price, Bette Davis, etc. I allowed myself to work over a period of days after work each day, not worrying about items being out on the counter since no one else was around. I also decided to indulge in a few products I often suggest for clients.

    I have such fond memories of that experience – it truly was fun! I loved the movies and ended up with a terrific result.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      That’s wonderful! I love that you took your time and ended up with a solution that you’re happy with AND had fun with the process.

  • Great reminder, Diane! We all have those chores we don’t like to do. I love that you mentioned timing the chores. I have had this discussion so many times with my kids. They thought the chore would take at least 30 minutes when it only took 10 minutes. =) Thanks for the reminder.

  • I’m a huge Mary Poppins fan! The original movie, which came out when I was about five, made a lasting impression on me. I sang the songs with my Mom, and “Spoonful of Sugar” was one of our favorites. I haven’t seen the new Mary Poppins movie yet.

    The idea of adding the fun factor to life at any level appeals to me. The difference in mindset between dread and fun is unmistakable. If you can infuse the anticipation of fun into something you don’t want to do, it changes the dynamic of the task from negative to positive.

    Thank you so much for sharing all of the great ideas and for the encouragement to up the ‘fun’ quotient.

  • Laurene says:

    Great ideas and good reminders Diane!

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