One of the tools Martha Beck taught me many years ago that I’ve used the most is “The 3 ‘B’s.” The 3 B’s are three ways to handle tasks or jobs that don’t really float your boat—things you’d rather not do, if you felt like you had a choice.
The 3 B’s:
1. Bag It. Just decide not to do it. You’ve been meaning to clean out that closet for months and it hasn’t happened. Why not let yourself off the hook? Take it off your to-do list for the next 6 months, or for any period of time that seems reasonable to you.
If the chore is something like “host a dinner party” when you have no interest in cooking and the whole idea makes your stomach hurt, make the decision not to do it. You can find other ways to let your friends know you love them. “Bagging” a task means giving up on the person you wish you were and coming to terms with the person you are.
2. Barter It. Trade skills. If you are set on getting that closet cleaned out, but hate the idea of tackling it yourself, ask a super-organized friend over to do the job for you. I bet she’d love the chance to create order out of chaos! Offer to do something for her that you enjoy doing (perhaps a home cooked meal?) Over the years I’ve bartered my coaching services (I skill I have and enjoy) for many things that were beyond me—not least of which was a beautiful flower garden that I would never have been able to design or implement, but which pleased me every time I walked to my front door (I still miss and I moved 6 years ago!)
3. Better It. Find a way (or ways) to make the dreaded chore less dreaded. I used to stay late at work every night after I finished seeing patients because I wanted to take care of every detail before I went home for the day. This usually involved me sitting at my desk, freezing, hungry, and increasingly exhausted, until all the work was done. Then I’d go home, eat a bowl of cereal, and go to bed. I found a way to better this process. I started taking a dinner break at the office before diving into the rest of my paperwork. I got a space heater. I started keeping a fleece in the office. Then, when I finally got home, I wasn’t quite so exhausted because I’d taken much better care of my physical needs. Those small changes had a big impact on my quality of life.
Think of some chore that’s been weighing on your mind. How could you apply the 3 B’s to this task?