How to Face Unpleasant Tasks

Bringing mindfulness to every day suckiness

How to manage with drudgery and frustration.

So you’ve got unpleasant tasks you have to do? Things that you procrastinate about and put off as long as possible?

Maybe it’s grocery shopping; or cleaning out the garage; or writing that report; or having to de-lice your kids’ hair yet again. For me, the current unpleasant task that has to be done is Taxes.

Usually I gripe, gripe, gripe, or sometimes I moan, moan, moan. But always I procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate. You know – all not-so-healthy ways of facing the unpleasant that has to be done – spending more time begrudging it and avoiding it than it would actually take to just do it.

Last year, around this time, I wrote a blog article about doing my taxes mindfully, and wisely I had put a reminder in my calendar to read it again in March of this year. (I love how we can set reminders a year ahead on our phones!)

So I did read it again before I got to work on my taxes this year. It reminded me of how to approach it all mindfully, and to have a better experience with it as a result.

I thought I would share it with you again, in case it helps when you’re facing your own taxes (Even taxes can be done mindfully) – or any other unpleasant task you have to do, but have no motivation for or interest in.

Mindfulness is especially helpful for those times when things suck – either, the not fun or unpleasant things that we have to do, or feeling demotivated about them, or they’re uncomfortable and resisted, or we treat ourselves badly because of them.

You know, like dealing with car repair, or unfriendly neighbors, or looking for a job, or broken appliances, major home cleanup, or having to work overtime (not to mention job loss; or medical or car insurance issues; or loss of a loved one and having to clean out their belongings, etc.)

The one thing I love when I do my taxes each year, is the opportunity to review the last year and reflect upon what I went through. This year, when I reviewed my calendar, I was grateful for sharing in a significant life‘s transition ceremony for someone close to me; for family members reconnected; for travel and new experiences, I’d had. I was sad for loved ones lost; for the ongoing terrible political climate and the pain it’s caused many.

Mostly I was reminded of my gratefulness to be able to do the work I do, and with the people I do it with. I am grateful that I can share mindfulness with folks as a meaningful way to deal with life‘s joys and sorrows, and grateful for how mindfulness directly helps me to face the dreadful and unpleasant.

What better way to get through life?

If you could use some reminders about how to get through the sucky stuff with mindful presence, here’s my last year’s blog again…

Even taxes can be done mindfully

Also, when I heard myself complaining and griping again about taxes (like every other year before) I happened to catch Rudy Francisco’s spoken word poetry on TV. I was quite moved by his work titled “The Complainers“ (here’s the link  Complainers ). I realized there’s really no room for the  complaint about taxes in my life. In fact I am so privileged to be able to have taxes to gripe about…

May you be freed from your complaints too, and may being mindful help you to get through unpleasant things a little more gently.

If you or someone you care about needs help to see things more brightly, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
[email protected]
(510) 482-4445


  1. Kennedy Golden on April 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    I liked this one- with a review of your thinking last year. Helpful with all “tedious” tasks- And I know of no one who has none of those… Stopping for even a moment to look out a window, to open a window and take a deep breath, or even to sit quietly and remember a precious moment such as sitting on my son’s deck to watch the sun set- makes most tedious tasks bearable. SO, thanks to you, I am not off, on April 3, to take down my 2017 Christmas tree, which I have loved watching every night and every morning. Now I get to spend a bit of time to determine just how I will keep that twinkle I have so enjoyed, without keeping the lights on the tree. Thank you.

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