The 4 Kinds of Work: Housework, Invisible, Hobby & Unique Purpose
There are four types of work that we all do at home. In this episode, I go through these four types of work in detail and discuss how to reduce the amount of time spent on the first three so you can do more unique-purpose work.
We’ve talked a lot over the last couple of years about housework. As a part of our Organize 365® Research, I have honed in on and defined this type of work. There are three main types of housework: cleaning, tasks of daily living, and organization. You must clean your home to some standard you set, do all the tasks that make you a human, like showering and brushing your teeth, plus the things in your house must have a home. Housework is like a part-time job of 18-25 hours each week for the average household without children!
Listen to these episodes for more about how I define housework:
- #422 – Defining Housework Part 1 – Cleaning
- #424 – Defining Housework Part 2 – Tasks of Daily Living
- #426 – Defining Housework Part 3 – Organization
- #428 – Defining Housework Part 4 – Maintenance
- #495 – The Process of Equitably Dividing Housework
- #497 – Housework: The Hot Mess Theory Part 1 with Jacqui Ioli
- #498 – Housework: The Hot Mess Theory Part 2 with Jacqui Ioli
- #499 – Effort: The 80/20 of Housework – Not All Housework is Equal
This is the work that happens in your Sunday Basket®. I talked about this with Eve Rodsky. Invisible work is the mental load and related tasks to running a household. These are things like paying the bills and planning for holidays. This type of work doesn’t fit into the housework category and we have a hard time labeling and quantifying it.
The Sunday Basket® System helps with invisible work. The first six weeks of setup and habit-building can take a lot of time because you’re setting up systems and processes. You have a set time to handle all these little one-off or recurring tasks. It might take you 90 minutes to 3 hours in the beginning, but then something magical happens. The time savings (and lightened mental load) that you experience during the week is exponential. The average Sunday Basket® user saves 5 hours each week!
There is a second type of invisible work: emergency invisible work. Illnesses, scheduled changes, and childcare/adult care fall into this category. When you or someone else in your family gets sick, the world around you doesn’t stop and wait for you. The regular work doesn’t go away and the emergency itself often creates more work. There are also schedule changes that are just a part of life and we have to just roll with them. Not everyone has the final category, but childcare and caregiving for adults is a full-time 24/7 job all on its own.
Angela Watson and I talked a lot about hobby work earlier this summer about teachers. We naturally fill our time with work, but it’s not all essential work. Sometimes, we do extra work to make ourselves feel better or make something look the way we want. That’s hobby work. This often involves trying to be perfect or redoing work. When I talked to Jacqui, she called this overwork. Whatever you call it, it is robbing you of your free time! This is refolding the clothes in the drawer, matching the socks, folding the underwear, micro-organizing the toys, and over-cleaning.
Unique Purpose Work
The female head of household struggles the most to prioritize unique purpose work over all other work. Unique purpose work is the work that you’re uniquely created to do. No one else can do this work except you. But, too many of us feel that we must have an “A” in the first three areas before we can move into unique purpose work. Your family will push back. Your internal thoughts will push back. It’s easier to search the internet for a fun printable about cleaning and press into hobby work. The reality is this: The pain of not doing what you’re uniquely created to do must become greater than the pain of continuing to prioritize housework, invisible work, and hobby work for you to choose to prioritize your unique purpose work.
How Do I Find What I’m Uniquely Created to Do?
I’m asked all of the time: How do I find what I’m uniquely created to do?
First, I suggest that you go through the Embrace Self-Guided Retreat. We’ve set it up as an on-demand experience that you can do alone or make a weekend of it with friends. The sessions will help you focus on yourself and show you how to begin to dream again.
Second, you need to understand that finding your unique purpose takes time. I told you when we talked about passive organizing that it takes 12-18 months of research before you get started on organizing. It’s natural then that it will take just as much time and research to find what you’re uniquely created to do. You need focused thinking time.
At Organize 365®, our mission is to help you get organized so you have the free time to do what you’re uniquely created to do. Take your time back through organization! Find what you’re uniquely created to do and press into it!