Today's advice was requested by a man from the UK who we'll refer to henceforth as Mister K. Mister K asks:
I find it hard to keep my flat clean. I try to clean it up once a week at least but the motivation to clean it up after six or seven days time is lacking. It just seems like too much to do, so I put it off constantly until it's been two whole weeks or more since I've cleaned house. I'm especially bad at getting the dishes done in any timely manner, putting it off until they're rank and I'm eating cereal out of a mug rather than a bowl because all the bowls are dirty.
How can I get myself motivated to not do the things I want to do and do the things I need to do?
My advice to you, Mister K is not to put off house work all week so you have to do it all at once. It is a common misconception that all people do their chores only once a week and I'm not sure where it came from. That prospect would be intimidating to anyone except the most dedicated neat freak. Instead, try doing a thing or two daily so that by the end of the week your place is nice and tidy. Doing one or two small tasks per day won't seem like as much work in the long run. As an added bonus your apartment will never reach a state of, "definitely looks dirty now -- I should clean it ASAP."
As for the dishes, I only know one person who enjoys doing dishes and I think it's because she lives someplace boring and cold. So the task and the hot water are both boons to her. I, personally, despise dishes and would eat off of the floor with my hands if it were socially acceptable. Since it isn't, I find that doing the dishes as soon as you dirty them makes the chore less daunting, as you aren't forced to chisel week old oatmeal off of bowls to complete the task. At most, if I'm really just not in the mood to do them, I put them off until the following day. Never any longer because after twelve hours or so, they just become harder and harder to clean.
Hope that helps,
RE: Daily Chores
That advice worked out for me. I do a couple chores while waiting for tea and it seems much simpler to keep up with. It's also less embarrassing when surprise company pops over. Doing dishes daily sort of makes it feel like a constant never-ending task, but it is easier when you don't need to hammer old crusty food from your pots and pans.