Have you ever found yourself deep in the rabbit hole of a passion project, completely absorbed and lost in your work? Meanwhile, the pile of small, mundane chores sits neglected? Many of us can relate to this scenario, where we seemingly prioritize extensive projects over quick, manageable tasks. In this article, we’ll explore the psychology behind this phenomenon and shed light on why we often love to get hyper-fixated on a project instead of attending to small chores that take less time.
- Sense of Accomplishment
One of the most significant reasons for our preference for projects over chores lies in the sense of accomplishment that projects offer. Completing a project, whether it’s writing a novel, building a piece of furniture, or developing a new skill, gives us a profound sense of achievement. These endeavors often result in tangible and meaningful outcomes that we can proudly showcase or enjoy for a long time.
In contrast, small chores like doing the dishes, folding laundry, or organizing paperwork, while necessary, often lack the same sense of fulfillment. They might offer short-lived satisfaction but are quickly overshadowed by the never-ending cycle of daily life. As a result, we gravitate toward projects because they offer more significant rewards for our time and effort.
- Intrinsic Motivation
Another factor contributing to our preference for projects is intrinsic motivation. When we work on something we are genuinely passionate about or interested in, our motivation comes from within. This intrinsic motivation fuels our desire to dive deep into a project and immerse ourselves in the creative process.
On the other hand, small chores are typically driven by external factors like societal norms or immediate necessity. We may not find them as inherently engaging or rewarding, making it harder to muster the enthusiasm to tackle them. Consequently, we are more likely to choose projects that align with our interests and passions.
- Flow State and Time Perception
Getting hyper-fixated on a project can often lead to what psychologists call a “flow state.” This is a state of deep concentration and absorption in an activity where time seems to fly by. When we’re in a flow state, we become oblivious to our surroundings and distractions, making it easier to stay focused on a project for extended periods.
In contrast, small chores can be perceived as time-consuming and tedious. The minutes seem to drag on as we perform these tasks, and our brain’s natural inclination is to avoid activities that make time feel like it’s standing still. Consequently, we opt for projects that allow us to experience the exhilarating sensation of time flying by.
- Personal Growth and Mastery
Projects often offer opportunities for personal growth and skill development. Whether we’re learning a new language, perfecting a craft, or honing our professional skills, projects provide a platform for us to continually challenge ourselves and expand our abilities. The pursuit of mastery can be incredibly satisfying and motivating.
Small chores, while necessary for daily life, may not offer the same growth potential. They are typically repetitive and require less mental effort, leading to a sense of stagnation rather than growth. Our natural inclination towards personal development and mastery drives us to hyper-fixate on projects that provide these opportunities.
While small chores are an unavoidable part of daily life, our preference for hyper-fixating on projects instead of these tasks is rooted in the deeper psychological and emotional rewards that projects offer. The sense of accomplishment, intrinsic motivation, flow states, and opportunities for personal growth make projects an attractive choice for our time and energy.
However, it’s essential to strike a balance between projects and chores to maintain a well-rounded and organized life. By finding ways to make chores more engaging or breaking them down into smaller, manageable tasks, we can ensure that we don’t neglect our daily responsibilities while still indulging in the pleasure of project hyper-fixation. Ultimately, embracing both aspects of life can lead to a more fulfilling and harmonious existence.