Let’s face it. Even at the most interesting work places, boring work will exist. Good days wouldn’t be so good if it weren’t for the bad days. But how do you get motivation to work the boring yet important tasks?
13 Steps to Find Motivation for Boring Work
Let’s dig for some extra motivation for finishing the boring work.
Look at the big picture.
A famous story is narrated as follows: two construction workers were interviewed. Both were working on a huge skyscraper in New York City. The interviewer asked the first worker: What do you do all day?
Worker 1: “I just hit those nails into this metal rod all day and then go home to do this thing all over again tomorrow.”
Second worker was asked the same question. He answered: “Look up, I am building a skyscraper!”
So what are you doing? How does it fit into the big picture? See the added value.
Write about it.
Speak to your best friend: you. This is what I am doing right now. It gives you awareness of your situation and gives you a chance to be your own doctor (or psychiatrist).
Me: I don’t want to do this work because it’s the opposite of interesting.
Me (with glasses): And what makes you think so. . .?
Put a spin on it.
When working with some un-interesting stuff, I usually think about ways to improve the process and make it more efficient. (This is how 99% of programming languages came into life!)
Stick yourself with a contract which would be both a carrot and a stick. This is a helpful motivating and constraining tool. Put money on the line. Check out STICKK.com to get motivation for ticking off those boring chores.
Break it down.
Use SCRUM (for the technically inclined out there) or GTD (for the productivity inclined) and Pomodoro technique (for the academically inclined). Basically, break it down into meaningful atomic chunks and schedule some allotted time for each chunk. THEN write it down on a whiteboard (preferred) or on paper.
Close your eyes and motivate yourself.
Remind yourself of what you know. No pain, no gain. A 1000 mile trip starts with a single step, etc. Convince yourself of the importance of the task (if it is indeed so. . .).
Talk about it.
I find it helpful when attacking a huge project to talk to colleagues. I approached a couple of them and asked them directly: How would you attack a large project if it was handed to you? I got interesting answers.
Here you may run a risk of looking like a lazy colleague who lacks motivation. For that share some of your tips, you may say: “Writing documentation can be tedious. I usually keep reminding myself of the next person who will be reading this documentation some years from now and say that I am awesome! How do you handle tedious tasks?”
Don’t focus on the tiny details.
Focus on what’s important, on what adds value. Create a skeleton for the task at hand and work horizontally.
Take a break.
Do something else for an hour.
Don’t do it.
Defer it. But since you are still reading, I am guessing this is out of the question.
Sit up straight.
Chances are you are crouched over. Smile–chances are you not smiling. These things will give you a mental change and even a computer monitor perspective change (maybe work is more interesting from another angle).
Print it out.
If printable. Get away from the computer and just read (or do) it the old-fashioned way.
Stop reading this article and go do it.
How do you motivate yourself for a boring task? Got tips?
Image by Nono Fara via Flickr.
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