My current flat has a dishwasher, which, after 5+ years of living in London without one, felt like a huge luxury when I moved in a year ago. In my naivety, I thought I'd become so used to and efficient at washing my own dishes that I'd barely use the thing. Yeah, you can guess how long that attitude lasted.
This is the "when" of it, and it's pretty important in making you feel in control of your kitchen mess, and not the other way around. Conventional wisdom says cleaning as you go, or at the very least immediately after dinner, is the right way to go about it, but I'm not gonna judge if you'd rather wait until the next day. The point is to find a dishwashing time that works for you, when it feels the least like work and fits into your schedule.
If you're going to be hand-washing dishes every day, you might as well get organized about it. This means starting with a clean kitchen every time you cook, having a designated space to pile the dirty dishes (a bucket on the floor works if counter space is at a premium), and remembering to soak baking dishes or things that are likely to make tough scrubbing. If I'm doing a big meal, I find filling the sink with hot, soapy water beforehand and adding dishes as I go helps with this, as well as forces me to actually clean the darn things, post-dinner.
When faced with a huge sink of dirty dishes, sometimes there's nothing to be done but tackle it head-on. Sure, there are things you'd rather be doing (getting a teeth cleaning, doing your tax return, etc.), but putting it off will only make the situation worse. So put on some music or an audiobook, find a nice-smelling dish soap, gaze absentmindedly out the window, and try to derive what pleasure you can from the situation. Think of it as your daily meditation, and it won't feel so bad at all.
(Image: Leela Cyd Ross for The Kitchn)