Are you a quiet person who hates chores? Yes? Chances are good that you’re an intuitive introvert — an INTJ, INTP, INFJ, or INFP personality type. While people with these personality types can scrub dirty floors or bathtubs with the best, they’re wired to learn, think creatively, and think deeply.
(What’s your personality type? Take a free personality assessment.)
Ideas, theories, patterns, connections, and possibilities excite you. That’s why you’re an innovative, cutting-edge, passionate learner — not a routine, practical, detail-oriented practitioner.
Sadly, although you’d rather be thinking about the big picture and the future, life requires you to shop, cook, clean, and do the laundry.
So what can you do? Must chores always be so boring? Not necessarily. Here are seven ways to redeem soul-sucking chores.
How to Survive Boring Chores
1. Listen while you work.
Dishes, vacuuming, and yard work don’t have to be drudgery. On the contrary, they can be incredible opportunities for personal growth.
You probably already listen to podcasts, audiobooks, and seminars while you drive to work. Why not listen to them while doing chores too? It’s amazing how much faster your work goes when you feed your mind.
Got a webinar you want to listen to? Try using a screen recorder, like this one, to capture the presentation. Then, once you’ve got it, export the audio as an MP3 file and listen to it later.
2. Let your creative juices flow.
Inevitably, whenever I start learning, the creative cogs in my mind begin to spin. I never know when a creative idea will hit me.
I’m sure you can relate. Dreaming, inventing, and creating are what intuitive introverts are born to do. Fortunately, chores offer you plenty of uninterrupted time to think and innovate.
More specifically, they give your ideas time to incubate. As important as it is to thoroughly research a problem or idea and analyze it from a number of different angles, it’s equally vital to give your brain time to process information you gather. The hours you spend doing dishes, yard work, laundry, and the like give your mind this downtime when it can identify patterns, arrive at critical insights, and piece your research together in a meaningful way.
And it’s often after your idea and research have had time to percolate that an “Aha!” or answer will spring to mind. It comes when you expect it least – while driving, showering, or doing chores! So be sure to keep a pad and pencil — or your phone — handy while you work.
3. Spend time with someone close.
Even introverts need time with close friends and family, but the fast-paced world we live in doesn’t always give us enough of it. That’s why you should use your chore time to help fill the void.
You and your significant other or close friend can work side-by-side for a while, enjoying each other’s company. Have a deep conversation, or just spend time together. The choice is up to you.
Lately, my wife and I have been scrubbing dishes side-by-side. We talk about our day, think about the future, or just listen to a good book. Regardless of what we do, the dishes get done faster and with way less kicking and screaming.
4. Gamify your work.
Are you competitive? Try turning chores into a game.
Can you mow the lawn faster cutting diagonally instead of horizontally? What about vertically? My INTJ friend is perpetually trying to shave minutes off his lawn work.
If you’re an INTP or INFJ with introverted thinking (Ti) in your personality, then you’ll love coming up with a more efficient way to do your work. Design a system that requires you to spend as little energy as possible and still complete the chore — then try to improve it.
If you’re really gung-ho, you may even want to set a timer and track how long it takes you to do the dishes or scrub the tub on a spreadsheet. See if you can beat your time from the night before!
5. Make it worth your while.
In the rush of daily life, sometimes we fail to motivate ourselves properly. Don’t forget: There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for a job well done.
While this strategy isn’t unique to intuitive introverts, you can tailor it to meet your needs. What’s a reward that’ll get you working and motivate you to persevere until the task is done? A walk outside? Time to read a good book? A chance to noodle on your six-string?
Find something you’ll look forward to doing, then do it right after you finish your work. You’ll rewire your mind and teach it that chores aren’t as bad as they seem.
6. Move to the music.
Music is amazing. The right playlist of your favorite songs can transform the most monotonous chore into a chance to relax.
When I don’t feel like working, one of my go-to strategies is to turn on Coldplay, Josh Garrels, or ambient guitar music. The melancholy tunes give voice to what I’m feeling inside and help me unwind after a long day. Who or what could you turn on to make your chores go faster?
7. Revel in the silence.
If there were only one benefit in chores, it’d be this: alone time.
It’s no secret that you, and every introvert, needs to be alone in order to recharge. Chores will give you this personal space. They’ll get you away from distractions and interruptions and give your mind a chance to think.
Whether you want to reflect on the happenings of the day or ponder that new idea you picked up from the book you’re reading, make the most of your unofficial downtime.
And remember: Chores don’t have to be awful all the time.
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Read this: 10 Secrets of the INFJ Personality Type
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