Our days are comprised of ordinary tasks: cooking meals, doing laundry, washing dishes, etc. Last month my husband had several days off of work and we had a family member visit, so I had several atypical days during which I didn’t complete a lot of these ordinary tasks. Now that the excitement has died down, I’m really struggling to muster enthusiasm for them.
Before I go any further, let me say that I’m not trying to impose unrealistic expectations on us. None of us are going to get super excited or stoked about changing a diaper or putting a load of laundry into the dryer. However, a little bit of enthusiasm for routine tasks sets the stage for us to find enjoyment in them. It also helps us complete them with diligence and excellence, thereby facilitating our obedience to the teachings of Scripture.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” Ecclesiastes 9:10a
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23
Thankfully, lack of enthusiasm isn’t an insurmountable hurdle. I’ve been doing some simple things to jump-start mine.
Ways to jump-start enthusiasm
- Build a solid foundation for the day. The foundation for each day is laid the night before. Thus, it’s important to get to bed at a reasonable time. I realize that this is much easier said than done, especially when you have young children, but we need to do this to the extent that our life circumstances allow. Once awake we need to spend time in the Word and in prayer. (I know some people find time for this later in the day and this is fine if it’s what works for you. I recommend the morning because it’s before you face the challenges of the day and before you get so busy that you forget.) I also believe it’s important to get dressed. Personally, I find it’s difficult to feel energetic and enthusiastic when I’m in PJs or similar attire!
- Cultivate curiosity. Be intentional about asking questions and seeking answers regarding routine tasks. Can I use my housecleaning as a workout? Is there a way to cut onions without crying? What can I do with these old wire hangers in the back of my closet? Finding answers to these sorts of questions can turn even the most mundane of tasks into exciting experiments!
- Take mini-breaks when completing especially monotonous tasks. Breaks are refreshing and can provide an opportunity to refocus and rally the energy needed to complete a task. Of course, it’s possible to get distracted and forget to return to your task (I know from experience!), so be sure to place a time limit on the break. Getting a little exercise (a brisk walk, several minutes on a stationary bike, etc.) can be especially beneficial because of the potential endorphin release.
- Remind yourself why you should complete the task. Why should I iron my husband’s work shirts? So he looks and feels his best as he continues to provide financially for us. Why plan a menu? So my household has nutritious, tasty meals each day. We can be motivated by the positive benefits of completing the tasks.
- Eat nutritiously and exercise. If lack of energy is a contributing factor to your indifference, then getting exercise and improving your eating habits may help.
- Give yourself grace to “veg” on occasion. I think sometimes we can suffer a burnout of sorts from having numerous tasks that we’re excited about and into which we’re putting great effort. Rest is a biblical concept. Even God rested and Jesus needed sleep (see Genesis 2:2 and Matthew 8:24). Take a break and get some rest.
Do you ever lack enthusiasm for ordinary tasks? What things have helped you jump-start your enthusiasm?