Adulting is Hard part 1: Laundry and Dishes

Episode 2: Adulting is Hard: laundry and dishes. A Blue background with a yellow neuron with a body the shape of a star. Words say Ex-gifted podcast. Helping exceptional kids become functional adults. A Yellow stripe across the bottom reads With Raine Eliza from

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Join in on #30toClean and tag @exgiftedcast or @nerdish_mom and all participants will get a downloadable prize of some sort.


Adulting is hard:

* As a kid your only jobs are good grades and interact with humans

* Even for chores, you’re given plenty of external motivation

* But as an adult all we have is natural consequences and that motivation is pretty spotty

* So it feels really hard to do adult things like maintaining a minimum baseline cleanliness of your home

* A lot of that difficulty is in our heads. The actual work required in real life isn’t excessive once you have reasonable expectations.

* Time yourself to see how much time your regular tasks really take. Show yourself how doable it can be.

* The most important things to keep up with regularly are dishes and laundry

* As long as you have a method, keeping up with these tasks can be totally manageable

What we can do about it:

If your washing machine can delay start:

  1. Set a timer
  2. Process dishes: load or unload the dishes, whatever you have to do
  1. Go to the laundry and load the washing machine, but delay start until the next day

If your washing machine doesn’t have a delay start:

  1. Start with your laundry doing a quick wash.
  2. Set a timer for however long your quick wash takes and wash your dishes first.
  3. Keep yourself occupied on cleaning tasks until the timer goes off
  4. Move your clothes straight from the washing machine to the dryer.

Putting away: when you take your stuff out of the dryer, put into a basket and consider that maybe that’s “away” enough. It’s an intentional laundry pile. Let go of the shame but keep the pile.

Sorting: If you keep a laundry basket or hamper in each bedroom then you won’t even need to do any sorting. Put one basket into the washing machine, and when it’s dry dump it back into the basket and take it back to its room.


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About the Ex-Gifted Podcast:

If you are a former gifted kid who grew up to struggle with basic adulting, then you need the Ex-Gifted podcast.

Host Ren Eliza talks about gifted kid burnout, and the damage that lasts long into adulthood. Damage like battered self esteem, decimated internal motivation, and a continued failure to live up to expectations even while we were placed on pedestals and alienated from our peers.

Ex-Gifted will cover failure, procrastination, imposter syndrome, and chronic anxiety and depression, and a whole lot more.

Each episode also offers suggestions to deal with your executive dysfunction in adulthood so you can rebuild the systems that allowed you to shine so brightly in childhood.

We’re making exceptional children into functional adults.



Hello, I’m Ren Eliza. Welcome to Ex-Gifted. If you could do it all as a child but can barely do anything as an adult, then this is the show for you.

Today episode 2. We’re going to be talking about how Adulting is hard.

When you’re a gifted kid living home with your parents. Your only jobs are to get good grades and maybe learn some social skills. Even if you have chores, you probably have tons of external motivation from your parents to get them done. It might be a sticker chart when you’re younger. Maybe it’s an allowance when you get a little bit older. Maybe it’s just the threat of being grounded. Whatever it is, you probably have something on the outside pushing you to get your work done.

But as an adult. Because the kitchen is gross and I don’t have clean shirts are all the motivation we get and the effectiveness of those kinds of things can be pretty fucking spotty if we’re actually trying to keep things on some kind of regular maintenance. So it feels like it’s really hard to do adult things like maintain a just minimum baseline level of cleanliness. But a lot of that difficulty is actually taking place in our brains, not in reality, honestly. It’s not that much work. To keep shit like. A little bit clean. And I say this as a person with an absolute disaster of a house.

It’s not that much physical work. It’s not that much time that we have to put into it, but it is a whole lot of mental effort for a lot of us.

One way to break out of this  cycle of just telling ourselves that it’s too much work, it’s too hard to do. We’re so far behind. Oh, that’s a big one that we’re so far behind we have so much that we have to catch up on. So one way to break out of that cycle is to actually show yourself how much it really is to do so. One trick that I learned for that is to set a stop watch and then unload my dishwasher. Because unloading my dishwasher like I don’t, I don’t really mind loading it and running it, but unloading it again after the fact feels. It felt so impossible for so many years it felt like so much work.

So one day I set a stop watch and I started unloading my dishwasher and I found out that I finished it very literally, in under 3 minutes. From a completely full like just washed all the way unloaded everything put away in its place in three minutes.

Once I had that data it was hard for my brain to keep telling me like oh no this is too hard to do right now because it was literally 3 minutes so.

That’s your challenge for this week. Go find that hard task that you have to do all the time and actually time yourself and see see how much effort it really takes to do it.

As a little trick that I learned on my own recently (and this is basically what you get when you have an engineer as a stay at home parent is trying to maximize efficiency in every way.) So what I figured out is that in 10 minutes every day I can keep completely on top of my dishes and laundry. And that’s that’s all it takes. That doesn’t mean I never fall a little bit behind, but what it does mean is that I can catch up the next day. As long as I do it every day, then over the course of a week. I’m over the course of the 70 minutes I can keep up with that whole week’s worth of dishes and laundry. So here’s the method.

Step 1. Set a timer for 10 minutes. This is going to help guide you through the whole process.

Step 2. Start your dishes. Get what you can done. Hopefully usually for me I’m able to get the dishwasher all the way loaded or all the way unloaded and reloaded whatever it is that I have going on at the time. I can usually get all of that done.

When you’ve got about 3 minutes left to your laundry room for step three, step three is do your laundry, but this is. This is the trick that makes it all come together so that you can do this whole process in 10 minutes is throw stuff into your laundry. Don’t worry about sorting by color or anything. Throw everything in, put in the soap and then turn on the delay start on your washer if you have it.

You delay start until the next day. That way. When you come back down the next day. Your clothes will be freshly washed. You won’t have to worry about them sitting wet overnight. You won’t have to worry about remembering to come and get them out so that they don’t get damp and gross. You don’t have to remember two or three times a day, you only have to remember laundry one time a day. So delay start for 24 hours, then the next day when you come down, move the stuff into the dryer.

And when you take your stuff out of the dryer, put into a basket and that’s done. Like, why not, right? We put so much pressure on ourselves to have our clothes put away and for some people I’m sure that’s important. If that’s you, then that’s important for you and that’s fine. But if it’s not actually important for you, if it’s just if it’s something that you’re not already doing, then just stop beating yourself up over it.

Just we all have these laundry piles. Just make them an intentional laundry pile and there’s no problem. It’s not the pile. It’s the problem is the shame that’s the problem. So just let go of the shame but keep the pile.

So take that laundry basket up to your room and you’re done.

So just a little tip to go along with that. I found that if I have a laundry hamper in like in each bedroom and then I. I have like one pile for downstairs linens like paper napkins and kitchen towels and stuff. And I have one pile for upstairs linens like bath towels and sheets. So every day I can take the dirty laundry out of one room and just put it in the washing machine and when I take it out of the dryer, it’s going to all be stuff for one room or one area of the house so I can take it back upstairs and keep it in its basket. And just put it away like that.

The sorting is already done, I just wash whatever room has the most dirty laundry that day. That is how you do laundry in very literally three to five minutes a day.

Now, having a delay start on a washing machine is definitely not something that everyone has. I mean how I know that having a dishwasher and a washing machine is not something that everyone has. If however, if you do have laundry in your house, but you don’t have a delay, start here’s what you can do instead. Basically, you’re going to commit one section of time in your day to doing all of the cleaning for the day.

You don’t start with your dishes. This time you’re going to start with your laundry. Go put your dirty clothes into the washing machine and do a quick wash. That’s all you need for everyday loads. Unless you are washing cloth diapers or something, you don’t really need more than a quick wash. So turn on the quick wash.

And if you don’t know exactly how long it will take, then go ahead and start a stopwatch so that you can find out how long it’s going to take. You want to know how long that quick wash will take so that every day when you work on it, you’ve already got that information. If you have already learned how long it will take, and that’s when you pull out your timer and set it, my quick wash is 22 minutes.

So set that timer for 22 minutes or however long your quick wash takes and wash your dishes first. That’ll give you plenty of time to hand wash dishes for most families. If you don’t have a dishwasher. If you do go ahead, load up your dishwasher and then spend the rest of the time doing whatever other cleaning tasks that you have. If you like this would be a great time to actually fold some clothes if that’s something that matters to you.

Whatever you do though, keep yourself occupied. On cleaning tasks through the entire time that that hammer is on when the timer goes off, go and move your clothes straight from the washing machine to the dryer. The reason that we have problems with remembering to take care of our clothes and move them into the dryer. Is that we do the laundry and then we just expect ourselves to remember it again later.

This way the idea is that you never really switch out of that cleaning mindset. You’re staying in that cleaning zone the entire time until the clothes get into the dryer and that can help by avoiding the transitions of going from. Cleaning to not cleaning and then trying to remember to go back to cleaning. That’s where we get hung up and so if you just stay in that cleaning mindset the whole time, if you make it a single task, in that case, it’s about it’s closer to 30 minutes, but honestly in that 30 minutes. If you don’t have to hand wash all your dishes in that 30 minutes, you can pretty much keep your entire house clean in that time.

So if you don’t have a delay start option, then that’s what you can do. It will require you to do all of your cleaning at once instead of spreading it out over the course of the day, but for some people, that’s a better option anyway.

Hey, one last thing over on my Instagram you can check out what I’m calling 30 to Clean where I’m spending 30 minutes a day for the 30 days of April to try to get the aforementioned “disaster of a house” turned into a pleasant home. Check it out on Instagram @exgiftedcast and join in for the next two weeks. I have the before and afters and you won’t believe the difference just two weeks can make.

Speaking of two weeks, that’s when I’ll see you again. Check out the next episode of Ex-Gifted on April 30th at or wherever you get podcasts. We’re going to be talking about something we’re all very familiar with, and that is procrastination. Byeeeeee.

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