Ask any person what he would be like doing. He would generally answer that instead of doing routine chores, like ironing, cooking food, or paying bills, or filing papers or decluttering house, or cleaning or dusting house, he would prefer to relax, or watch a movie, or read something interesting.
It is a very natural and legitimate desire. However, whatever we may wish, the fact remains, that routine tasks need to be done, It is the routine and regularity, which gives content and meaning to our life. The skill lies in making the same interesting and enjoying doing. whatever we have to do, or are doing.
Leading and organized life will enable you take pleasure in the activities of your family, friends and enjoy your favorite activity or activities. One of the ways you can make your essential and work-related tasks enjoyable, is to mix them with some activity, which takes away their drudgery.
Tasks, which are routine, can be debilitating. We had a maid-servant, who would hum a tune, or sing a song, while ironing clothes or even preparing our meals or cleaning utensils. One day I asked her as to what was the reason of her singing all the time, while completing the tasks, which had hardly anything musical about them. A She replied, that while singing a cheerful song, she kept her spirits up, even while doing routine and boring jobs, which were nothing more than a grind. This way, she made even such tasks enjoyable.
The trick entails, in making the task, you are performing, not tedious or dull, but something you could actually not only endure, but something which you even enjoy doing. It takes me half an hour in the bath room for the bath which includes thought cleaning, scrubbing, and leaving the bath room sparking. I have kept a small music system. on which, I listen to my favorite tapes. It takes away the slog and makes the routine interesting. Similarly during my morning walk, I carry a walkman, two in one, around and listen to the news or other preferred programmes of mine on the radio or tape. In the same way, while decluttering my room periodically, I play some self improvements tapes, recorded in my own voice. Do anything, which peps you up and keeps your spirits soaring, when doing chores, which are apparently, uninteresting and dull.
While doing routine tasks, you can talk to your children or other family members. When I have to clear the junk papers or sort out other stuff, which has outlived its life, I use the time to talk to my wife. In fact, I extensively use the cordless phone so that while talking on phone I can do some other routine tasks, like settling my cupboards or clothes or arranging papers or books or tidying up my room discarding the items, which are no longer useful. There are endless ways in which you can take the tedium out of dreadful tasks. While writing this piece, I am traveling in the car provided by the TV Channel where I had gone of a TV programme. It is 11 p.m. But I would continue working till I reach my home or till the battery of the laptop works. This approach enables me, not only to work productively, but it also facilitates, to ignore the tedium, of just looking blankly in the dark, till I reach home.
There are some up keeping or maintenance tasks, which have to be done. These are the chores or responsibilities, which even after they are completed once, have to be done again and again, to get the same results. These tasks include watering your home plants or washing your clothes or preparing meals or cleaning, dusting and scrubbing the house. Once you are finished with such tasks, the cycle will start all over again. The other type of tasks, include, growth or improvement tasks, which will enable you, to reach a position, which is a notch or two higher, than where you are now. Such tasks include talking lessons to improve our competence, or skill or knowledge, for our advancement or growth in knowledge.
Progression tasks enable people to take on higher and more challenging responsibilities in their work or profession. The task can be anything, like exercising to reduce weight and being fit, or practice singing to make a career out of it or learn cooking with a view to start cookery classes, or training future air hostesses and other people engaged in hospitality trade it is equally important, to be decisive. Remember that there is nothing sacrosanct about any decision.
It can be changed in the changed circumstances. Most decisions (may be with a few exceptions) are reversible. If you do not take a decision, it can be counter productive and time-consuming for you and for others, as well as cost money. Sometimes, we keep on sticking to ding same jobs in one way, instead of asking for help or consulting experts. It will be the best policy, to decide on a realistic exit time from such work rather than sticking to it. It is a simple truth that you keep on doing the things in the same way, you will get the same results.
Almost everything is achievable, if your break it down, into small components. A Chinese proverb says: ‘The journey of a thousand miles, being with the first step’.Another way, to get more done, is to delegate, as much as possible. Deliberate and reflect carefully, about each task to decide whether you really need to do it or whether there is someone else who could do it more swiftly, more extensively or more economically. A housewife, having a full-time job and earning handsomely, would find, that delegating routine tasks of house cleaning, or cooking or washing, to a maid0servant, would leave her ample time to concentrate on her children, family and work, leading to a greater satisfaction in life.
Some people become slaves of their moods and their life swings, between one extreme and another. However, downbeat and depressing emotions can lead to obsessive patterns of negative behavior and serious wastefulness and ineptitude. For this purpose, it is essential to have adequate rest and sleep, may be a minimum of seven to eight hours sleep a night. This enables us to work better. From my own experience I can say, that I am at my best, when I have adequately rested. Adequate rest relieves stress and aids concentration. Care should be taken to ensure that we do not spend all our time, on Easy To Do lists, thereby getting bogged down, in maintenance tasks, at the cost of tasks that can advance us in life. Growth tasks should not be pushed to the bottom of the barrel. There should be a necessary balance, between the two, as both have an important role in our life, one for short term and the other for long term. Your effort should be, to have growth approach, so that you can move ahead, to still higher levels in life.
S. Joginder Singh
Former Director, CBI