13 Ideas To Make Boring Jobs Bearable And A Little More Interesting


Have you ever noticed that when you’re doing something you enjoy, you’re right there in the moment? Sometimes, you don’t even notice time passing by. Your mind is on what you’re doing, and you’re awake and alert. Then... there are those mundane and boring tasks where five minutes of work feel more like an hour!
Cutting grass, using a carpet cleaner, folding laundry or doing simple paperwork don’t inspire a lot of abstract thought, but it has to be done. While you can evade (delegate!) some boring jobs, often you just have to do it yourself. Sadly, there is no magic wand that can be used to make these jobs easier. Making it more interesting..Again, it’s not something that automatically switches on when you want to. It requires a bit of tact and mental refinement! Here’s a few ways I’ve found this to work:

1. Break it down into smaller chunks. This really works for jobs that span across several hours/days. By breaking it down into smaller chunks, I can spend less time and complete a ”sub task” and have the satisfaction to cross it off in the TO DO list.

2. Resist the impulse to overdo. If you're the kind of person who tends to throw yourself into a job only to burn out after a week or two, consider giving yourself a break. Don't let yourself become obsessed in the beginning. If you have the flexibility to determine the “completion date/time”, carry out the task for a few hours each day and then continue with your daily routine. And all of us benefit from scheduling time for fun, even if it's only sneaking out to a movie or calling up an old friend.

3. Look beyond the actual job. One way to expand your focus when you’re engaged in a task that doesn’t interest you is to find out how it’s connected to something that you do find interesting.

Sometimes only a change of viewpoint is needed to convert a tiresome duty into an interesting opportunity.
~Alberta Flanders
For example, when Tsunami struck in 2004, I volunteered at the tourist board. As a volunteer, I didn’t have much say on the work that was given to me. It had to be done by somebody. I was given several bundles of paper work. My task was to enter these into a database. The database was supposed to be linked to the web site. The data I was entering were details foreigners who had died, information of hotels in the affected area, contact numbers of relevant authorities etc. I must admit, found the data entry part to be boring and exhaustive. But I did it anyway. I somehow got myself to think beyond what I was doing. I convinced myself that I had to completed this as soon as possible. I kept saying to myself, "once I finish this, relatives in foreign countries will be able to find more information on their loved ones (visiting Tsunami affected areas).... "

4. Use your prime time. Everyone has recurring lazy spots throughout the day. What’s the best time of day, YOU can fully concentrate? Basically, timing plays a big part on how soon you get the boring job done. So, tackling such a task just after lunch wouldn’t be the smartest thing!

5. Set time limits for tasks. How much can you get done in the next half hour? Set a target and see if you can reach it. This makes a tedious task less boring and, as a bonus, frees up more time for things you like to do.

6. Challenge yourself. This works well for me with repetitive tasks. For example, I sometimes keep a record of the time. If it took me 30 minutes to complete the task previously, I would challenge myself to finish in less time.

7. Add variety. Variety is a great way to spice up boring tasks. Try doing your activity in a new way. See if there is a different method for solving the same problem and try that. Having routines can keep you productive, but if you are starting to procrastinate, try switching things up to make it more engaging.

8. Learn more details. There are times when we are hesitant to do a job because it’s too complex. I head over to google and see what I can dig up on the subject. Usually the information I come across, make the job more interesting and sometimes, I even find better ways of doing it.

9. Accept Help. Now, this not imply “dump the task on someone else”! If someone offers to help you in any way, let him/her help. They wouldn’t be offering if they didn’t want to genuinely help you. Remember to be gracious and thank the person for helping you.

10. Engage in enough exciting tasks within the rest of the day. Doing one boring job a few hours won’t be much of a “big deal” if you fill the rest of the day with other interesting things.

11. Pump up the enthusiasm with music. For most people, it’s more fun to do physical work while listening to good music, than it is working in silence. I have mentioned about it before, and I can’t stress this enough.

12. Eliminate Negative Self Talk. Sometimes, even before we take on a task the mind is made up and the task is tagged as “boring”. The little voice in your head serves to make you feel bad and rob you of your energy. If you catch yourself slipping, change gears and focus on appreciating all it is that you already have and the things you have achieved.

13. Reclaim Your Sense of Humor.I know.. it doesn’t seem funny when you lose your motivation and can’t seem to find your way. The best way to change this is by simply deciding to do so. Look for the humor in things large and small, even in taking yourself so seriously to begin with. With a little change of perspective, the world can seem like a whole lot nicer place and that goal of yours not quite so out of reach.

I like to hear how you get through those boring tasks. (without driving yourself crazy!)

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50 comments:

Robin said...

Hi Shamells

Tuning in on the right time of day is something I have learned to do - your point 4.

I find doing some kinds of "boring" tasks are quite good times for letting ideas slip in - eg doing dishes. The worst kinds are the ones where you don't have your mind to yourself eg. editing material you are not interested in.

Cheers - Robin

Shamelle said...

@Robin:You bring a up a good point. Some boring tasks become a launch pad for ideas.

rummuser said...

One trick that I find useful is to be done with the less appealing chores that need to be done, and saving the more pleasurable ones for later.

Shamelle said...

@Rummuser:I know the feeling. I also motivate myself by reminding myself "all the fun things I have to do ...once I finish this boring task."

Bonnie Marcus said...

I think the attitude adjustment is key. If you convince yourself ahead of time the task is going to be boring, it will be BORING. Trying to turn that negative talk around is the challenge.

Bonnie

Evelyn Lim said...

I like the idea of adding variety. Find creative ways to make a routine job less mundane and the time will fly faster!

Shamelle said...

@Bonnie:Turning negative talk around is always a challenge in any situation :-0)

Avani said...

Take small breaks to keep going.

Shamelle said...

@Avani: Definitely... I sometimes give myself a small treat as well.

think said...

Shamelle,

Having a sense of Humor works anywhere. "With a little change of perspective, the world can seem like a whole lot nicer place".And one's one likes the place they are half the way to motivation.

-think
thinkneat.blogspot.com

Shamelle said...

@think: Humor makes things a more lively and a little more bearable.

Mark said...

Good tips. It is all what you make it.

Mike Foster said...

Keeping your sense of humor is vital. All great tips for tasks we all have to deal with all too often. May I add: dream about what you really would like to be doing, and then plan, while working your mundane chores, on ways to attain those dreams.

peace,
mike
livelife365

Shamelle said...

@Mark: Thank you. You are very encouraging as always.

@Mike: As long as the dream doesn't distract us, its all good :-0)

Sara at On Simplicity said...

Time limits and music: I'm really responding to those. Even if I miss my limits by a mile, the effort's still usually worthwhile!

Rachel C Miller said...

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. It is easy to allow negativity to overcome, much more rewarding to battle in a positive manner...if life were not a challenge it would be mere existence.
Rachel

Grace said...

Shamelle,

And of course mindfulness psychology would add that even washing a dish can be interesting if you just pay attention. :-)

I play games with myself, too. How fast can I do this, how many times have I done this in my life, what is one step I can cut out to make the chore more efficient, or...delegate!

G.

Anonymous said...

i take ritalin to make me concentrate

manish said...

thanxxxx,
ur ideas is amaizing.i got change my life.i was only thaugh that study is very bored,but the help of ur idea i am feel better in my student life...........

stress verminderen said...

Nice post thanks for sharing the tips

Richard said...

This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is very nice one and gives in depth information. thanks for this nice article

Richie said...

As long as you have a computer the day will go by faster.

Anonymous said...

I have to clean up data that wasn't originally entered correctly. And each spreadsheet I correct leads me to more... My job is so thankless, and my boss keeps changing her mind about the way she wants things done (so I get to do it over agin until she's happy with HER OWN decision!).

Read the following with the most sarcasm you can imagine: "I'm SO glad I spent thousands of dollars and 4 years of really hard work getting a B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience!"

I don't know why society is pushing education so hard if these are the kinds of jobs that need to get done. A well trained monkey could do what I do.

concrete batch plant said...

Of course, depending on the extent of the mistake there may be very little you can do to rectify it. Often, showing true remorse with a humble apology goes a long way.

senior living communities california said...

The data I was entering were details foreigners who had died, information of hotels in the affected area, contact numbers of relevant authorities etc.

concrete batch plant said...

If it took me 30 minutes to complete the task previously, I would challenge myself to finish in less time.

concrete batch plant said...

It’s not something that automatically switches on when you want to. It requires a bit of tact and mental refinement! Here’s a few ways I’ve found this to work:

concrete batch plant said...

The data I was entering were details foreigners who had died, information of hotels in the affected area, contact numbers of relevant authorities etc.

concrete batch plant said...

All of us benefit from scheduling time for fun, even if it's only sneaking out to a movie or calling up an old friend.

concrete batch plant said...

For example, I sometimes keep a record of the time. If it took me 30 minutes to complete the task previously, I would challenge myself to finish in less time.

concrete batch plant said...

There are times when we are hesitant to do a job because it’s too complex. I head over to google and see what I can dig up on the subject.

Mobile Concrete Batching Plant said...

Usually the information I come across, make the job more interesting and sometimes, I even find better ways of doing it.

Anonymous said...

Can't thank you enough. I will reclaim my sense of humor and that means I'll have to start being serious.

bitumen sprayer said...

i got change my life.i was only thaugh that study is very bored,but the help of ur idea i am feel better in my student life...........

concrete batch plant said...

find doing some kinds of "boring" tasks are quite good times for letting ideas slip in - eg doing dishes. The worst kinds are the ones where you don't have your mind to yourself eg. editing material you are not interested in.

portable batch plant said...

I also motivate myself by reminding myself all the fun things I have to do ...once I finish this boring task.

thesis papers said...

About Make Boring Jobs Bearable And A Little More Interesting is Very helpful knowledge , have quite a few good key tips, and I study some new stuff from it too, thanks for sharing your knowledge,

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