No matter where you are in life, you are going to have a time where you’ll find yourself not wanting to do something because it’s boring, takes too long, or just doesn’t pique your interest. For those times, you have to find a way to get through the task. Let’s see what we can do to make things more enjoyable:
Talk to someone – Talking to someone about the mundane task that you are working on can prove to work wonders. It can help you come up with new ideas, and also hold you accountable to finish the task in a timely manner. Bouncing ideas off of someone else can also trigger the brain to think of new ways to approach the task because now the conversation is open to new ideas and thoughts. The key here is to talk to someone that is experienced, and can help you to make your thought process easier.
Give yourself a deadline – Some people are very driven towards deadlines, while others aren’t. Regardless, if you give yourself a reasonable personal deadline to finish the task, and you do your best to meet it, then that is a step in the right direction. Doing this gives you a hard stop on completing the task and something to work towards. Remember to hold yourself accountable for finishing the task by rewarding yourself for completing it and getting through the struggle.
Try a different approach – Because of the pace of the day can be very fast, it is easy to lose sight of different approaches to solve a problem or complete a task. Many times, trying a different approach to a task may prove to be beneficial. You can do this by taking a step back and thinking about the bigger picture and the impacts the task has. Looking at it from a different perspective can shed light on a new approach, reducing the “boring” aspect of it.
Incorporate what you like to do into the task – Many times it’s not really what you’re doing but how you’re doing it. If you have the task of writing a report, for example, and you enjoy pictures, draw out a diagram outlining the main points of the report. Then, build those points into the text of the report. Try to incorporate things that you enjoy and that appeal to you into the day to day tasks that seem to be just ordinary.
Think less and do more – A long time ago, I was working on a special project with someone who was my team lead. I have this tendency to ask for feedback after I’m done with projects to see how I did. She said “Let’s say it’s obvious to me which tasks you enjoy doing versus not.” I was a little surprised by this because I didn’t know I made it that obvious. She said that for tasks that I was dreading, I took about twice as long to complete and wasn’t very enthusiastic about them. The point I’m trying to make here is the longer a task or project drags on, the more painful it becomes. Many times, it rattles around in your head and there is never any headway. Another tip is also to try to tackle items that you least like early in the morning so that you get it out of the way and you can say that you worked on it a little bit.
Know what you are good at – Knowing what you are good at can help determine how successful you’ll be at the task or project. Trying to force a skill that you just don’t have can be painful and cause a lot of frustration. If you know you aren’t good at writing, you can get some help or consult an expert to get better. You can use this to better set your expectations and work on areas for improvement.
Break it up – Learning to do mundane tasks along with the more exciting tasks mixes things up and allows us to have some variety in our day. For mundane tasks, try to break it up into bite-size chunks and see if it helps to address it step by step rather than approaching it as one big task. Assign due dates to the bite-size chunks so you can show progress, and measure yourself against those due dates.
Purvi Bodawala is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.