Pay now or pay later, but the dishes must get done

Unwashed dishes in a sink; an authentic situation.

Unwashed dishes in a sink; an authentic situation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was in my early 20s, I hated doing the dishes.

I hated doing the dishes so much that after each meal, I’d stack my dirty plates or pans or whathaveyou in the sink and walk away. Once the sink was full, I’d pile them next to the sink.

Then eventually, either I would run out of dishes or the counter would be full and I would have to relent to my least favorite house chore.

Because I’d let days worth of dishes stack up, and because they’d sat long enough for whatever was in them to turn to concrete, it was a difficult, stinky job.

Which reinforced my hatred of doing the dishes. So the cycle repeated.

A few years later, I had a roommate with little patience for my dish procrastination. She firmly requested that I keep up with my dishes.

Dishes in our sink after a recent dinner with friends. I washed them right after taking this photo.

Dishes in our sink after a recent dinner with friends. I washed them right after taking this photo.

Doing my dishes promptly meant that very often, they were pretty easy. Just an easy wipe down of still-soft food with soap and water, and most things were done.

I realized a big part of why I disliked the chore was that I was making it harder than it needed to be.

Same is true of dealing with my finances and my filing, both of which I would often procrastinate until it was an ordeal. Or, say, reining it in a little when I’ve gained a few pounds instead of putting on several dress sizes and having it become a whole capital-D Diet to fit into my clothes again.

The life lesson for me is that if something must be done, there’s probably an easier way and a harder way — so why not choose the easier way?

Maybe that means facing the thing sooner, which takes a little discipline. But if there’s such a thing as the opposite of delayed gratification, delayed misery, that’s all I’m signing up for if I goof off now and wait to do a week’s or a month’s worth of that job.

Sadly, the dish fairies never show up. So even though I still don’t like washing dishes, I’ve stopped waiting for them.

What tasks do you procrastinate? Is there a chore you like keeping on top of because it’s so much better than if you wait?

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Categories: food and drink, home and family, lifestyle

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