Where Does the Weekend Go?

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I have wasted far too many hours of my Sunday morning reading pregnancy forums, eating dark chocolate peanut butter cups, and listening to classic Whitney Houston songs on YouTube. 


It wasn’t until my butt actually became sore that I realized I really needed to get up and be productive.


The floors are mopped.  The dishes have been put away. 


And lunch has been made!


Last night, we had friends over for board game night (I, predictably, lost).  While playing, we cracked open a tub of Trader Joe’s tahini sauce for vegetable-dippin’. 


Tastes even better warmed, though.  I mixed several tablespoons into brown cooked. 


With cast-iron tofu and steamed greens.

IMG_6840 IMG_6830



I recently realized that I play a lot of mind games to motivate myself into doing things. I don’t think I’m a very intrinsically motivated person – I have to talk myself into doing pretty much anything from chores to work to exercise.  I need some sort of goal/reward.  This usually takes the form of To Do lists with silly items like “shower” and “eat lunch” written down (just so I get the satisfaction of checking them off, of course).  Anyway, recently I’ve been struggling to find the motivation to cook real meals, and since my #1 most loathed chore is washing dishes/loading the dishwasher, I’ve started a game of ‘use as few pots as possible.’  I’ll say to myself, “I bet you can’t cook lunch without dirtying up more than 5 items,” and then try to prove myself wrong.  And you know what?  It actually works… I get up, cook, and have less dishes to wash in the end. 


Stupid mind games:  Keeping Caitlin from ordering takeout, laying on the couch, rationalizing dust bunnies, and procrastinating projects since 2006.  Whatever works, right?


Confess to your silliest but most effective mind games.  And go!



  • Hillary February 12, 2012, 2:36 pm

    I’m using mind games to motivate myself today, too. I have a gigantic stack of papers to grade, and I’m taking them 10 at a time (I have about 95 or so to get through). After every ten, I let myself grab a drink or a snack, go to the bathroom, check FB or my email or blogs, etc. The little milestones make me feel like I’m actually getting something done!

  • Khushboo February 12, 2012, 2:39 pm

    The ‘you only have to workout for 20 minutes’ is a frequent mind game of mine…deep down I know that after 20 minutes, I am more than likely going to want to carry on!

  • Molly February 12, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Buying new cleaning products motivates me to clean! No one wants to use old windex..

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 12, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Ugh, I have the hardest time wanting to clean up my kitchen, but then I think to myself: what would someone thing if they saw this? (I live alone) and I get to it. I also like the trick of timing yourself to prove that it doesn’t actually take that long!

  • Kath February 12, 2012, 3:02 pm

    You could buy some fancy dish soap that smells heavenly? I find that fancy soaps motivate me to clean/wash my hands more frequently.

  • Christie February 12, 2012, 3:10 pm

    Mmmm tahini sauce?! Wish we had Trader Joes in New Zealand, everything always looks so good from there!

    I don’t have any mind games that I can think off the top of my head…I guess I always need to bribe myself to do things though. e.g. I have to do the dishes before I can watch the new episode of Gossip Girl!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) February 12, 2012, 3:21 pm

    I wish I had a good mind game to get me to clean the house right now. I’m down in the dumps with my organization and motivation to do anything house work related. I hate when that happens because ultimately I always feel better with it’s clean! I need to get going…

  • Erin February 12, 2012, 3:21 pm

    I pretend that I am a maid, and I put a time limit for all the chores I have to get done. I have to get them done on time or else my “boss” will get mad at me! Stupid, but it works!!

  • Emily @ The Swallow Flies February 12, 2012, 3:25 pm

    I love adding random items to to-do lists, too – and I’m even guilty of adding things after I’ve done them, just so I can cross more off. So silly…

  • Morgan Levy February 12, 2012, 3:27 pm

    As a high school student taking 3 honors classes (Biology, English and World History) and involved in a lot of extracurriculars (Forensics, Science Olympiad, Newspaper, Creative Writing Club, USY, TEXT), I am a major procrastinator. And that does not mesh with my tough schedule!

    I use to do lists with even my smallest tasks. And if I don’t want to do something, I make pretend its due tomorrow. Or that my teacher is yelling at me to do it (extremely effective with my 6’4″ World History teacher).

    Right now I am putting off History studying as we speak!

    • Morgan Levy February 12, 2012, 3:29 pm

      I also love using the Iphone reminders app for my to do lists. I have a bunch of lists (Extemporaneous Speaking for forensics, school, books…). For all students, I would recommend IStudiezPro. Its perfect for me to manage my due dates and track all my grades. Its soooooo helpful.

  • Kelly February 12, 2012, 3:28 pm

    Okay so this is going to sound so creepy but I swear I’m not! ha! I had a dream last night and you were in it. I dreamed my husband and I signed up for a triathalon and I had a hard time on the swim. So hard, in fact, I was the last one out of the water. I quickly got through T1 and was on the bike. It was a 60 mile mountain bike course (don’t ask) and at one point it started raining so hard that we had to all pull over. So I got off my bike in the pouring rain and went to sit under a tree and it was you I ended up sitting by. We chit chatted about random stuff until the rain cleared and we all got back on our bikes and started going again. Ha. Random.

    And yes I realize that this had nothing to do with this post. 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP February 13, 2012, 11:44 am

      Hahah I love this dream!

  • Kristen@Change of Pace February 12, 2012, 3:32 pm

    I play a lot of mind games with myself. It’s a nice way of challenging myself 🙂

  • Katie February 12, 2012, 3:36 pm

    The best mind game I play is the making incredibly detailed to-do lists with either things I’ve already done or things I will naturally do.

    The other one I do with cleaning is to work in very small bursts and then take a short break. Eventually, I find myself not wanting to take the break because I’m on such a roll!

  • Courtney February 12, 2012, 3:45 pm

    To motivate myself to complete monotonous tasks–I often ‘race’ myself [I bet I can’t do all these dishes in 8 minutes]. Or I’ll do whatever I can while watching a movie/tv show [today I’m altering/sewing whatever needs it, while watching Once Upon A Time]. Or I’ll invite someone over for dinner–and then go into super-cleaning mode.

  • Emilie February 12, 2012, 3:48 pm

    I don’t know what mind games I play.. I’m pretty self motivated. I know if I just get in and do it then I will have time to do fun things!

    I’m pretty bad at not pushing myself working out. I need to learn to love the burn so that’s probably my mind game.

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife February 12, 2012, 3:50 pm

    I’m actually a pretty self-motivated person (I was the daughter who did her homework RIGHT after school got out). But I am/was also bossy, so don’t think I had it all. But it helps to just know ho GLAD I will feel to have it all done! 🙂

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 12, 2012, 4:57 pm

    love the look of that lunch!!!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape February 12, 2012, 5:07 pm

    This really isn’t a mind game, but I have started purposely putting things like books and notebooks far from my couch so that I have to physically stand up and move to get them. If I’m home during the day I am glued to my couch and I need a way to make me move!

  • Ali February 12, 2012, 5:29 pm

    I have a VERY hard time getting out of bed in the morning and always just want to sleep in. When I was in grad school (and worked 12-15 hour days, 7 days a week) I used to bargin with myself when my alarm went off that if I got up then, I could take a 5-10 min nap later in the day and/or I could have a ton of coffee.

    I still do this every morning when I get up for work (sans the coffee thing). However, the funny thing is that I very, very rarely take myself up on my bargin. Once I’m out of bed, I’m fine. It’s the getting out of bed that’s so hard!

    • Ali February 12, 2012, 5:32 pm

      I also use the To-Do list thing too. I don’t put things like eat or shower on it (because I enjoy those things) but I will put even the smallest of the small task that needs to get done on it so that I have the satisfaction of crossing it off when it’s done. If I have a to-do list in my hand, I will usually accomplish everything on it that day. Otherwise, it may or may not get done.

  • Deva @ Deva by Definition February 12, 2012, 5:59 pm

    I use to-do lists in moderation. When we bought our house I worked really hard to develop a routine so that I could flow from one task into the next like I did when we were living in our apartment. For example, I used to chill out in the living room after dinner, and then do dishes at bedtime. Now I clean up right after dinner so I have more time in the evening to blog. I also set aside one day or evening a week where I clean the house top to bottom – or bottom to top as it were this week. Because we live in a row house, I start in the kitchen, work my way to the living room, then go upstairs and clean the bathroom, dust the guest room, clean up our room, and sweep the third bedroom.

    In terms of cooking, I try to pick dishes that are one or two pot meals. I love making fajitas with rice, or chicken and noodles – so easy and clean up is a breeze!

  • Emily @LivingLongfellow February 12, 2012, 6:23 pm

    I hear you on the mind games. i’m playing one right now putting off homework. i keep telling myself I need one more night off of school work, and will just have to work double time the next two nights. Unfortunately, I never work double hard to make up.

  • Laura February 12, 2012, 7:00 pm

    I do this at work! If I’m hungry/need to go to the bathroom I make myself finish whatever I’m working on or I set a time 30 mins or so in advance of when I’m allowed to get up. Helps pass the time!

  • TeenyLittleSuperChef February 12, 2012, 7:22 pm

    You know, I never really thought about it before, but I definitely play mind games with myself. Usually it has to do with doing chores around the house or going grocery shopping, both things I really loathe doing. It takes me having to actually put my shoes on or get out the bucket of cleaning supplies before I can commit to doing either one. Now I’ve made a weekly check-off list of what I need to do on certain days so that they will in fact get done. So sad

  • Katie Nov February 12, 2012, 7:30 pm

    Sometimes mind games work for me, but other times (when I’m extremely stubborn), it’s like I’m speaking a different language to MYSELF. No amount of threats or bribes or ANYTHING works for me when I’m in this kind of mood. :”)

  • Stephanie @ Legally Blinde February 12, 2012, 7:37 pm

    I do the same thing with my to-do lists! I definitely do a lot of mind game tricks, usually in the form of “bribing” myself to do something with a treat after I finish. I’ll tell myself that if I read 10 pages (for school), then I can watch a video or something like that.

  • Jen February 12, 2012, 7:43 pm

    I don’t know if I’d classify these as mind games, but my thoughts tend toward the ridiculous when I run and it ends up being motivational. I get myself to run faster and further because I imagine that some psycho serial killer is chasing me and I need to run for my life. I also imagine myself bursting into awesome dance moves when I turn a corner and that makes me pick up speed as I go into the turn (so I can do a flying leap, obvs).

  • Rebecca February 12, 2012, 7:45 pm

    Fun to read all the comments. 🙂

    I hate doing dishes and laundry (dishes aren’t so bad if I don’t do them alone), but I do end up convincing myself that it needs to get done–usually when there are almost no clean dishes or clothes, lol. But I make it fun and remind myself that when it’s done I will feel so much better. And I typically do something “fun” afterward.
    Staying motivated to do homework is a little tough, but this weekend I managed to get almost all of my homework for tomorrow done yesterday! I was so proud of myself, and it was nice to not have anything to worry about today. 🙂

  • Lindsay February 12, 2012, 8:12 pm

    When I do laundry I separate colored bottoms from colored tops so that I can convince myself it’s easier to fold and put away. Otherwise I would dread folding the laundry. This way I don’t mind it as much because the laundry basically all goes to the same spot.

  • Chelsea February 12, 2012, 8:32 pm

    I hatee cleaning dishes after eating. I’ll cook something and clean as I go along that way I feel like there’s less dishes haha 🙂 My boy-friends house on the other hand definitely doesn’t work that way..

  • Lindsay @ Salt, Sun & Sanity February 12, 2012, 8:47 pm

    I do the exact same thing with my to-do lists. I put silly things on there just so I get the satisfaction of making a big fat check mark!

  • Lindsay February 12, 2012, 9:20 pm

    I bargain with myself that the faster I get my “chores” done, the sooner I get to have fun. So I tryyyy to get up early one weekend day and knock out as much as possible. I love when I realize that it’s only noon and I’ve crossed off the majority of my to do list.

  • Elizabeth February 12, 2012, 11:42 pm

    Good question! My old roommate and her boyfriend used to do laundry together and race to see who could pair the most socks…normally I barf at cutesy things that couples do but I thought it was ingenious! Making a game out of mundane tasks can be super helpful…sometimes I will “race myself” to see if I get stuff done more quickly than the last time I did it. In college I heard a speaker liken taking on goals to space travel…the biggest obstacle was getting past gravity, and the comparison was that the hardest part of any huge, impossible seeming goal was to just get started. I thought it was pretty neat! Also I love your blog but this is this the first time I’ve commented! You are so cute…except when you tease people in Colorado with your Trader’s Joe’s products! 🙂

  • Katie @ Katie Without Restrictions February 12, 2012, 11:45 pm

    Well I think I’m too sleepy right now to bring to mind all the silly games I play with myself BUT your post definitely brought myself to mind! I send myself emails at night with my itinerary for the next day, and such items as shower and get coffee definitely make the list (as if I would EVER go anywhere without my morning coffee!!).

  • Amy February 13, 2012, 10:12 am

    I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who has to motivate myself to do these things. I mean why is loading the dishwasher and hanging up my clothes so freaking hard?! But it totally is for me. Lately I’ve been doing the “just clean the kitchen for 10 minutes” thing and it definitely helps with the day to day chores. Still working on a strategy for addressing the 2006 projects 🙂

  • Becky February 13, 2012, 10:28 am

    I have been using your trick of timing myself when I empty the dishwasher (its my most dreaded chore, too). My fastest time is 4 minutes. I’m always trying to beat my previous time. Its so silly, but it works. Especially since I’m so competitive.
    This week, my husband and I have a dish challenge. We are competing to see who will clean up their dirty dishes. We always end up with piles in the sink, so whoever has the fewest dishes in the sink (or on the counter) cumulatively at the end of the week, wins.
    Again, super corny but we’re both competitive and bragging rights are a big deal around here 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP February 13, 2012, 11:40 am

      i am jealous! i want you to come to my house and do the dish challenge for me. 🙂

  • Amber K February 13, 2012, 1:20 pm

    My mind is really good at talking me out of things if I get it the chance. I actually can’t play mind games with myself – I lose, ha!

    So if I don’t want to do something I don’t pump myself up or tell myself about a reward. I just get up and do it, without thinking. If I have time to think, I can rationalize a way to get out of pretty much anything!

  • Lexi @ Cura Personalis Foodie February 14, 2012, 12:41 am

    Never tried that tahini sauce warmed, but it sounds scrumptious!

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