I used to work at a digital agency that specialized in web design and email and social media marketing, and the one thing we pitched most often to our customers was the power of personalization.
Want your customers to buy? Personalize your marketing tactics! Show them relevant products and information based on their browsing history. Use abandoned cart emails to remind them of what they were shopping for. Offer coupons in categories they frequently shop.
Maybe you think tactics like this are creepy, and yes, they can border on it. But the research overwhelmingly proves that it works. I’m a prime example – I buy from targeted ads regularly on Instagram. I’ve found some of my favorite brands!
Maybe you didn’t work in marketing, so you’ve not spent a lot of time thinking about personalization.
Yet I think it’s the key to making our ADHD lives easier – personalizing our tasks to make them custom-fit to our abilities and strengths.
The “Stuck” Factor
When I worked at the agency, I would regularly do up front research before diving in on a new marketing campaign. I wanted to understand what the company had been doing already, what worked, what didn’t, what they were interested in pursuing, and what their customers were really doing on their website.
I’d ask “why are you doing this?”. And the number one reason I got back was “it’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Which I totally understand, and I like to call it the “stuck” factor. It’s this idea that we settle on a way of doing things, and time passes, and it’s easy to keep on with it because it’s easier than change. We become robotic in the motions, but there’s comfort in what we know, even if it doesn’t work anymore.
We all get stuck – in our careers, relationships, hairstyles, hobbies. It happens!
But the stuck factor can really get in the way of a more important need – which is to ensure that we’re doing things in a way that works for our brains.
My “A-ha!” Moment
I learned how to do laundry from my mom when I was probably around 11 or 12. She taught me how to separate into different piles by type, how to run the washer and dryer, and how to fold. Laundry was done on Sunday, and as soon as the dryer cycle was completed per load, we folded and put away the clothes before they wrinkled.
For many years, I did laundry the way I was taught. And I was miserable. I hated it! (But hey, Mom, thanks for teaching me a valuable life skill!)
Until I discovered the secret in my late 20s.
I don’t have to do it exactly the way I was taught. Change is good. The way we learned something isn’t the only way to do it.
These realizations opened a world of possibility. I discovered that I could switch up my task style, and do any task or chore according to my ability, my strengths and my energy level. Necessary work could be molded to fit my style.
I discovered the power of task personalization and it changed forever how I approach any kind of job.
How to Make Chores Easier
Think about something you hate doing. Laundry, dishes, watering plants. What makes you miserable? And why does it make you miserable? Get really specific – don’t just think that it’s boring or hard. What makes it boring, what makes it hard?
Chances are, the things you hate most are the things you haven’t tailored to your life.
It can be critically important to perform chores (and any type of work) in a way that suits you because you are less likely to form a negative association to it.
Think about it in terms of email marketing – if you exclusively shop for women’s clothing from a brand, and they send you emails that feature men’s clothing, wouldn’t you question their methods and possibly find your interest waning in their emails?
The same can be said about chores – if you do them in a manner that’s unpleasant, you’ll learn to hate it and possibly avoid it. But, if you can change aspects of it to lessen the irritation factor, you can learn to view it at least on a more neutral level. You may not love it, but you can hate it less.
And there’s something to be said for a process you found or created on your own. It gives you a sense of ownership. It’s your way of doing something. The “you” method. That can go a long way.
Finding Inspiration for Personalization
Change is hard. That’s a reality we can all accept. But chore personalization requires change – and you may have to change up the way you’ve done a thing for decades.
The good news is that you don’t have to brainstorm all the ideas on your own. There are so many places now to find great tips!
I give you permission today to search “how to do X chore” and not feel silly about it. Because you don’t know what you’ll find!
Maybe you search “how to do laundry” and discover a faster way to fold shirts. Maybe you search “how to do dishes” and find a dish scrubber that’s more effective than your current sponge.
Get creative too – you can search things like “I hate watering plants” and you never know what results will turn up.
When you’re on a quest to improve your life, never feel weird about your Google inquiries.
There are so many great tips out there, and you can’t know who’s hoarding them until you ask around.
Use your social media for the power of good – put it out there that you’re looking to change the way you do something, and ask people what their favorite hacks are.
Ask your co-workers, friends, distant relatives, Twitter followers, Facebook groups and subreddits.
You will also find that the people who work at hardware stores are typically friendly and endlessly knowledgeable about how to perform work around the house. If you’re not shy, ask for help while you shop. Need to paint? Head to the paint counter, tell them what you’re looking for, and toss in a request for their favorite painting tip.
Sometimes it’s easier to digest information in list form than in paragraph form.
If you don’t have a lot of time or energy to devote to research, turn to websites like Buzzfeed that offer short and snappy listicles that often have great advice for how to “hack” your life.
Pro-tip: You can search for these in a search engine – something like “Buzzfeed list laundry hacks” and it will find some kind of relevant results. Most of these sites have their own search features as well, but the functionality is occasionally iffy, so I typically recommend Google.
It’s important to make regular time to brainstorm ways to make your chores and tasks more efficient and tolerable, otherwise you might stay stuck in your ways.
Frustration isn’t always a reliable starting point for change – especially if you have ADHD, your difficulty to enact change may win out over your irritability every time.
Consider keeping a running list of chores you hate and why you hate them. Once a month, sit down and decide to tackle some of it
Don’t change everything – that’s a sure way to get overwhelmed. Maybe pick two chores, and find two new methods of doing them, then try it for a couple weeks. If you don’t feel better, drop it and move on to the next.
Remember that the goal is to make things easier for you. Don’t be afraid to try something, even if you’re not sure it will work. But keep in mind that you know yourself best, so don’t make changes you think will fail from the get go!
What are some of your favorite chore hacks? Let’s chat about it!