Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Trick Yourself Into Cooperating



There are all sorts of things that I don’t want to do or don’t like to do. For example, I like a clean house, but I do not like to clean house. You may want to be decluttered, but get overwhelmed at the process of decluttering.

Today, I want to talk about some tricks that can help you get yourself to cooperate. These are ones that I have used, and I am very curious to hear your strategies and tricks, as well.

1. When working at my desk, don’t sit down. Once I sit down, my rear end seems to develop a lead weight in it and nothing else gets done for at least an hour. When I stand, I do the one thing I came to my desk to do, and then I move onto the next thing.

2. The five (or 10) minute clean up. This is one for the whole family. I set a timer for a predetermined number of minutes, and everyone cleans as fast as they can for that amount of time. No going over; no extending the time. When the buzzer rings, everyone is done.

3. The five item clean up. Everyone finds five items in the house that are not where they belong and puts them away. This takes our family less than 5 minutes, and 20 objects are back where they belong. A variation of this involves finding 5 items to put away, 1 of which must be something that can be decluttered.

4. Use your declutter money for a specific purpose. Longtime readers will know that I put all the money that I’ve made from Ebay, Craiglist, and Amazon toward my mortgage, which has whittled away $2000 of that debt. Good motivation, and if I hadn’t done this, the money probably would have slipped away, largely unnoticed.

5. The mortgage connection. This is a new trickery device I’m trying. As I said before, I don’t like to clean house. (I do like to declutter, though, so I don’t need any extra motivation in that department.) I would love to hire a housekeeper, but that’s a luxury I don’t feel able to afford. I have decided to pay myself for cleaning the house. For every hour I spend on housecleaning chores, I will immediately go to the computer and transfer $20 from our checking account to our mortgage account. True, $20 isn’t a lot, but it’s $20 more than nothing, and it gets me just that much closer to my goal.

So, those are some of the tricks I have used to motivate myself and gain my own cooperation toward my goals. What are some tricks you have invented for yourself?

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter a music related item. Old records, cassettes or CD’s you no longer listen to. When I occasionally feel like listening to something that isn’t among my usual selection I just go to YouTube. There is no need to keep once-in-a-while music on hand these days.

Eco Tip For The Day

Challenge yourself not to use paper towel for a month. By the end of that time you may have come up with viable reusable alternatives that you are happy to utilise  on a permanent basis.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. If I want to take a day off to visit a friend, I create a list of items that I need to work on before I am “allowed” to go. It keeps me focus on what needs to be done; I also don’t require myself to do everything on the list. I get a sense of accomplishment and feel I’ve earned the day away. It’s just a mind trick to keep my motivation up and to feel that I’m not “wasting” time by going visiting. The silly thing is that spending time with people is precious to me and more important than laundry or decluttering.

  2. Cindy, I think these are great “tricks.” I think my biggest trick is to do something immediately. For instance, when I get the mail I take a few minutes and sort it. When I fix something in the kitchen I clean up as I go and clean up what’s left right after I am done. I have found that if I do it right away it gets done faster than if I put it off.

    • Hi Deb, I agree with you! Somehow when I procrastinate I tend to never find my way back to that thing I was “going to do.”

  3. I had a friend who would invite people over to motivate her to clean her home. Most of house cleaning and decluttering is motivation, in my opinion.

    • Hi Spendwidemom, I was just thinking about how inviting people over inspires a person to clean up. I had a group of ladies at my house yesterday for a Melbourne Cup luncheon. Although my house is always in good shape, knowing they were coming inspired me to pull out the refrigerator and clean on top, under and behind it. I also vacuumed the channels of the sliding door in the living room. Neither thing they were going to notice but I felt inspired so I did it anyway.

  4. About 7 years ago I saw at the petrol station a compilation cd called Housework Music and its got two disks of girl anthem toe tapping, just gotta move to the beat type music and I turn it up loud and I groove around the house with the vacuum cleaner or mop or duster.

  5. Hi Cindy, those are good tricks! I like to anchor things I don’t care to do to parts of my day that are either inevitable or are enjoyable. For example, I hate flossing my teeth. I’ve anchored that behavior to bedtime. Before I can get in bed, I must floss my teeth along with my other night time routines. I find that by having a set time that I do things they are way more likely to get done. If I didn’t have a set time for flossing I know I wouldn’t do it. For months I would make myself find 7 items to declutter about a half hour before my bedtime. When my house became much less cluttered and 7 was too many, I reduced it to 3 and then to 1. Right now most of our belongings are in boxes in anticipation of our pending move, so this activity is suspended for now. I always (or almost always) make my bed, walk the dog, and do the breakfast dishes before I leave for work in the morning. I enjoy walking our dog, but the other two things need a set time for me to do them or I never would! lol.

  6. Hi Cindy, good post as usual. If I’m feeling a little lazy but the kitchen is messy I relax for a while but if I have to get up for something, perhaps to use the bathroom, I make sure I put some things away every time I get up. Before I know it the task is complete and I hardly feel like I have made much effort.

    As Spendwisemom suggestion, having people over certainly inspires me to go that extra yard with the housecleaning. Especially since everyone expects my house to be perfect. Apparently I have a reputation to protect. 😉

    Mostly though, my motivation is mess. I don’t like having messes to clean up so that inspires me to tidy away as I go. A few seconds here, a minute or two there is so much more tolerable to cleaning up a big mess later on an constantly living in a mess and feeling like things need doing.

  7. I think, these are great tricks.

    I do best with a mixture of fixed routines and “on the go”-cleaning/organizing/etc.
    I have a fixed household day per week, so I just start with it like I go to work in the morning etc. No questioning whether I’m in the mood for it, just do it.
    For the small, daily tasks, I try to use “dead time” like washing a couple of dishes as long as the morning coffee takes.

    Also, on a completely different note, I try to enjoy and value cleaning in itself. I think, cleaning is actually one of the best tasks to practise mindfulness and very grounding. It means just taking responsibility for the mess I made earlier and putting things in order for others and not least for myself again.

  8. Ha! I love the mortgage payoff decluttering tricks… that’s a win-win an my book. I just paid off my mortgage a few days ago and I have to say it feels FABULOUS, so I strongly support any and all efforts in this department!

    My favorite trick for getting myself to do something I really don’t want to is to put on one of my favorite CD’s. I tell myself that I just have to work on whatever it is for the length of the CD and then I’m done. Pretty soon I’m singing along to the songs and having a perfectly marvelous time wondering why I thought it was such a big deal in the first place! I think that doing the thing is never so bad as the dread is – if only I could convince myself of that fact on a more regular basis!

  9. I’ve come to realize I’m a very reward motivated individual…so I play lots of mind games with myself. I mentally assure myself I can enjoy something guilt-free (even if it’s just sprawling on the couch) once I finish the task(s) I don’t want to do.

  10. I think my best new “trick” is that I schedule an “active” time in my day.

    My husband and I work at paying positions from 7am – 2pm every day, generally standing at my desk with a small break for a walk in the middle. Then we commute home together and share a snack! 😀

    This year we’ve noticed a tendency to sit down a bit longer over snack and have a hard time motivating to get moving again. As I get older it’s become crucial for me to watch my exercise habits so my husband and I have designated 3pm – 5pm every day as an “active” time. Several days a week we will exercise during that time frame, other times we clean, sometimes we do house repair. Whatever it is, because we do NOT sit down during “active” time that means that even if we believe we have run out of things to do we have to actively seek the next activity. Since HE isn’t sitting down the pressure is on to be productive… and vice versa.

    If I wanted to just stand for a while that would be acceptable but sitting itself is a no-no. Standing, eventually boredom will set in and I’ll be hunting for something to do. 😀

  11. I always find something to put away upstairs when I go upstairs and vice versa – it all adds up.

    • Hi Laura, I have an internal staircase too and I leave things at the bottom until I have a reason to go up. Then I take them with me and put them away. I get more than enough exercise on them when I go up to do something, get sidetracked, come back down and then realise I didn’t do what I planned to do and have to go back up. I would find this more annoying if it wasn’t keeping me slim and fit. 😉


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