Do you know how to “whistle while you work”?
If you aren’t much of a whistler, do you sing, hum, or even smile? Or do you mostly groan, growl, and moan as you set out for the office and pick up around the house? Either way, little eyes are watching you. If your example sends the message, “Work is a drag that must be endured en route to the weekends,” don’t be surprised when your children whine about going to school and cleaning up after themselves.
If you genuinely hate your own job, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your passions and pursue a new career path. If housekeeping chores are too much, there’s no shame in hiring help—or in reconsidering whether everything really needs to be done every week. Still, few people ever achieve lives where what they want to do is 100 percent identical with what it’s their responsibility to do. The best way to come close to that ideal is to make a habit of enjoying what you “have” to do: here’s how.
Whistling—or humming or singing—really does help people enjoy their work. Turn on favorite sing-along tunes to put a little joy into dusting or picking up toys. An active beat also speeds up the pace and gets the work done faster!
Rural dwellers have always known it, but “sophisticated” urban types tend to forget: even hard work is enjoyable when shared. Instead of cleaning up the yard or house by yourself—or assigning one of your kids to do it—schedule an afternoon for everyone to pitch in at once, and see how much easier it goes when you’re chatting and laughing together.
Any job is a drag when someone has no better reason to do it than paying bills, getting an A, or “Mom/the boss/the teacher told me to.” Even with mundane jobs, you can look toward a higher purpose by emphasizing the healthy atmosphere created for achieving more significant goals.
If a job is truly dull, and finding higher purpose in it doesn’t help, having something to look forward to will lighten the load. You don’t have to pay the reward in cash; kids would rather do something fun with you.
Whatever else you do, emphasize staying cheerful and using positive language. Purge your own vocabulary of such phrases as:
The more you say it, the more you (and your kids) will believe it, and the more miserable everyone’s work will become. If you can’t see anything enjoyable about vacuuming rugs, start by being grateful for the blessings that chore represents: a real house with real floors; electricity and appliances; money to buy the above. Life, and the work that keeps life running, is there to be savored by all!