Do You Wash The Dishes To Avoid Cleaning The Bathroom?

September 26, 2012

Do you? I know I do.  We’ve all been there.  Maybe it’s not housekeeping related, but there’s that big hairy task in front of you that you just don’t want to do.  Suddenly, that other, slightly less hairy task seems super important and can’t wait another minute.

Gotta clean the bathroom? Afraid there’s mold and all sorts of gross surprises waiting for you? Oh look! Those dishes need washing.  Suddenly you don’t feel so guilty for not dealing with the bathroom. Even though you know, deep down, that’s what you should be doing.

But look! you negotiate with yourself, The dishes! They’re done now, and that’s a good thing! 

Yes.  But it’s not what really needs to happen.

Sound familiar?  I see this a lot with my coaching clients.  They’ll tell me how they avoided working on what they committed to because something else Really Important came up that they just had to take care of.  After a moment or two I’ll ask “So is <washing the dishes> really the most important thing to you? Is that where you’re on fire to spend your energy?” After a few beats they usually reply with “No, <cleaning the bathroom> is.”

Then the work begins.  We can dive into why they are avoiding cleaning the bathroom.  Are they afraid they’re going to fail? Disappoint someone? Not be good enough?

Pretend cleaning the bathroom is your biggest dream.  The one you don’t even talk about that much because it’s too precious and fragile.  It’s real and it matters because it’s yours.

Productive avoidance is what I call this.

It feels good in the moment (the dishes! They’re done!) but afterwards you’re still left with a feeling of stress and unease.

A client and I were talking about productivity recently.  The term  swallowing the frog came up.  To swallow the frog is to do the big hairy thing first! Swallow the frog, do your scary thing first, coast of the endorphins of having it done the rest of the day.

So to you I ask, what’s your frog to swallow? What’s one big step you could take towards your big dream, right now.  It could be an email you’ve been putting of, a phone call, a budget creation, a strategic plan, you know what it is. It’s that thing that has you running to wash the dishes every time is comes up.

Do it.  Face down that fear and get it out of the way.  You’ll feel liberated after you do.

Thank you to everyone who signed up or shared about Find Your Daily Yes!  The program booked out in record time.  If you were thinking about joining, I’ll be doing another one early next year.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog, I’ll be announcing it here first!

Ellen Ercolini is a Career and Life Coach dedicated to helping you figure our your life passion and purpose, so you can have the profession (and profits!) you want.  Curious how she can impact your life? Schedule a free superhero session with her here.

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9 thoughts on “Do You Wash The Dishes To Avoid Cleaning The Bathroom?

  1. I love this! A very smart person once told me to do the thing you’re most dreading first in the day, to get it out of the way and start feeling good about it immediately. I will definitely remember the phrase “swallowing the frog!”

  2. I do this a lot. Mostly with my book that I’ve been trying to write for the past four years. I used to tell myself, “It’s okay if you don’t work on it right now, because you’re in school and that’s more important,” but I’ve felt so disheartened since about not trying to work on it at least a little bit while I was in college. Not to mention, every time I go to work on it, I end up starting at the beginning and rewriting the opening scene, completely changing the format, tense, and POV. I’m hoping once I get moved in and settled into my new place, I’ll have time to sit down and really think about what angle I want all of these things to come from. I bet you’d argue that I could go ahead and get started on it, anyway. 🙂

    • You know I would 😉 It seems to me you’re putting a lot of pressure AND superconditions on yourself for letting your creativity and voice flow into the world. Let it out now! What if you just wrote a little bit everyday? A paragraph. It doesn’t have to even be related to your book. Just something to get you comfortable with the mechanics of it, to ease the pressure, and let your voice be heard. I posted something just for you on my FB (it wouldn’t let me link to it in the comments). Check it out 🙂

  3. to be honest, my biggest fear and task of the day IS cleaning my bathtub. I absolutely don’t like dealing with it. I’ve gotten to a point where I’d rather shower in the dark before turning the light on to see how bad it needs to be cleaned. UGH.
    I think I need therapy.
    Today, I’m going to tackle the shower (I hope I don’t wimp out at the last minute…)

  4. I’m a professional cleaner and I also do that. It’s not a good thing and I’m trying to be more organized, because it’s a waste of time to avoid the big problem. It’s going to be there and waiting for you.

    Best regards! Merton Park Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  5. When I have to study, that’s the time when my house sparkles! And when I have to do the dishes- that’s the time for calling my mom or exercise! 😀

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