I despise doing the dishes. It feels like a waste of time and it’s boring AF.
As are most mundane tasks.
Sweeping the floor, cutting the grass, folding laundry. The list is endless.
But mindless tasks can become mindful moments of creative thinking.
It’s an opportunity to explore random ideas and work out solutions to problems. Or to reflect – on your daily wins, where to level up, whatever.
It’s a chance to let your thoughts wander. But ponder them with intention.
Transition between micro bursts of free thinking and analytical thinking. Go from tortoise mind to hare brain (something John Cleese talks about in this video).
Another way to look at it is going from focused to diffuse thinking modes.
In focused mode, your thinking is directed at something specific. All your energy poured into one task.
Stay in this mode too long, you burnout.
In diffuse mode, your thinking is more daydream-like. As if your mind is at rest, letting your thoughts drift while it re-energizes.
But there’s more going on: ideas are incubating.
Subconsciously, your brain is organizing your thoughts. It’s analyzing new information, making connections and forming patterns. Drawing parallels between the unrelated.
It’s when the process of the slow hunch occurs, as author Steven Johnson explains in this video.
And I think mundane tasks create the ideal environment to practice each of these concepts. Because your hands are busy but your mind is free.
So make a shift in perspective. Boring chores aren’t a waste of time if they serve a greater purpose.
Which helps, because I still hate doing the dishes. But that’s when these blog posts start out. Or when I come up with good ideas for work. Or when I’m able to reflect on something without bias.
It’s when the mundane becomes meaningful.