Can I lie to myself enough to get my home office tidied in three days? If you are a very good liar, it just might help you with boring cleaning jobs in the house. I discovered this trick recently and I am putting it to the test by setting myself a home office tidy challenge. The image above is the current state of what should be my home office; it is basically one huge dressing room/laundry room. I commit to making it look more like an office in three days.
I hate tidying and cleaning the house, it seems so pointless (meaningless) because within a day or two the whole thing is ruined and I need to clean and tidy again! I find it disheartening and frustrating. So I avoid it and end up living in chaos. I realised I needed to find a way to get over myself and get my house and my life more organised.
Conventional wisdom in psychology and coaching says something like “just do it” – change your behaviour, or change how you think, don’t sit around waiting to feel like it because you will never feel like cleaning. This idea has some merit and is captured wonderfully by Mel Robbins in her public lecture on activation theory and getting what you want
Mel tells us that there is a five second rule. If we think about doing something for more than five seconds we will hesitate and stall and not go into action. She recommends jumping out of bed in the morning, to avoid this five second rule drain on our energy. She reminds us that we have to parent ourselves now and that we have to do things we don’t feel like doing – like getting out of bed and not hitting the snooze button.
So the gist of Mel’s theory is that you need to change your behaviour, then your thinking will follow and soon enough you will feel better too. I love this lecture and it has lots of good ideas but there’s just one problem…I am an embodied person, not a cut off head. How I feel matters – a lot actually. And it is not a simple task to expect me to bypass my feelings by talking to myself, thinking differently or making myself move and do stuff. I need to feel motivated, excited, interested and curious, I need to feel meaning in the tasks that I do – even if it is the boring house work. I have to have a meaningful story around why I’m doing what I’m doing so that I can feel that inside and embody it and then use that embodied feeling to activate myself into action.
And that’s where lying comes in….House work is NOT important in the big picture but it can be important if it links into a bigger story of your life and your goals and what’s important to you. I’m interested in creativity and activating my creativity. So when it comes to cleaning out my office I have decided to make it a creative project and I am sharing it here as part of that creative endeavour. I have set myself the task of “creating” a work space…without spending any money on refurbishment. I find that exciting and interesting and so I feel excited and engaged and energised to move and tidy my office. Now the challenge still lies ahead. Will the lie work? Will convincing myself that tidying my office is a creative challenge really work? Will I lose hope and give up after a few hours or will I manage to actually tidy enough and rearrange enough of the space to create and transform it into a new space???? Check back here in a few days and let’s see!