There are some ads that just speak to you. For me, it's the Finish ad that has a montage of images of dirty dishes that monotonously says dishes...dishes...DISHES. It speaks to my dread and long standing hatred of this daily chore. The challenge for me is that I equally can't stand dirty dishes accumulating next to the sink, so it's a chore that fits in the non-negotiable list.
When I met my partner, this issue seemed to resolve itself. I cooked, he cleaned up. He even kind of enjoyed it. This was something I found bizarre, but I was more than happy to leverage. Then kids happened.
Kids bring with them evening rituals, one of which is bath time after dinner. The supervision of this seemed to fit neatly in the Dad category, leaving me with the dishes. Urgh.
For a good few years I loathed this time. It was like it triggered the memory of my Dad insisting that the cleaning up occur immediately after dinner and that no, I could not let it wait until the ad breaks so I didn't miss Neighbours. Clearly I have some unresolved issues.
Then one day I woke up in the present and discovered podcasts and audiobooks. To say it changed my life may be overstated, but it certainly had a positive impact. I started to look forward to cleaning up after dinner. Dare I say it, I even started to stretch it out to try and make it last longer.
Reflecting on this, I can see what James Clear was talking about in his book Atomic Habits was true (which incidentally, I listened to while doing the dishes). One of the ways to make an unpleasant habit stick is to link it to something that you want to do. Something that contributes to you becoming the identity you want to create for yourself. It worked. I now have a cleaner kitchen and a broader mind.