Could this be a way to feel more satisfied and less stressed?
At Proof+Geist, we’re working to make time for AllTheThings™. To name a few, we try to make time to workshop, ideate, talk with each other, and go heads down. But what about laundry?
We were recently inspired by Rae Katz’s essay: If you were rich, would you fold laundry?
In the essay, Katz talks about a life as a three-legged stool. Lightly modified, a work version might be equal parts “real” work, maintenance, and creative pursuits. “Real” in quotes because all the things we do here are part of the real work. But “real” work, in this model, might be something you consider to be your main job – software development, sales, marketing, etc.
She says, “…I seem to have organized my life under a false and continually disproven assumption that laundry folding can be done in less time than it actually takes.”
We have this propensity to fit things between other things. Sometimes we don’t make ENOUGH time or outright forget. We fold the sheets, but don’t have enough time to match the socks. MORE LAUNDRY. MORE PRESSURE. More mental load. (Ew.)
“The facts remain: The work we are prone to consider menial is foundational to a life, and I am suggesting a narrative where these tasks offer a break from other, more fast-paced modes of living, requiring a different type of energy and offering different rewards. To me, giving laundry the time it actually takes, not trying to squeeze it in the corners, seems like a worthy goal.” (emphasis added)
Some examples of the kinds of work that might be considered “laundry”:
Finishing up a conversation that arose in a meeting, but wasn’t on-topic, so we decided to “take it offline”
Proofreading a document together
Clearing out your inbox
Updating your calendar ahead of an upcoming vacation
Catching up on time tracking
Looking at data or doing research together
Cleaning up some table names or uploading zoom recordings
…NOT spring cleaning. It’s not “let me go declutter all of ClickUp”.
…sometimes better done with others.
…a chance to knock out those tasks that start with “hey at some point we should…”.
…an opportunity to set aside time and get nagging tasks out of the way.
Whether the laundry needs to be started, folded, or put away, what would happen if you make time in your own schedule and on your team’s schedules to get the maintenance stuff done? Could this be a way to feel more satisfied and less stressed? What if you thought of this as a valuable time to embrace a change in pace and the different types of success that might come from it?
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