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15 Nov

Make the boring tasks enjoyable


Date: 2013-11-15 10:04 Comments: 0 st

There are tasks, and then there are tasks. Some we look forward to dealing with, we enjoy ourselves as we do them and feel that we are at the top of our game. We are in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.

Life is good.

But then there are tasks which simply are incredibly boring.  We know that we “have to” start working on them. But we keep postponing them until right before they are due and end up completing them a late night instead of doing what we would rather do at that time.

Lower the threshold

To work in a structured way is to me to continuously refine how we work, so that what we do simply becomes easier to do. When it comes to these uninspiring tasks it is about lowering the threshold to start working with them, and simply making them more attractive and appealing to work with.

How our physical environment and surroundings appear where and when we work matters for how we perceive the tasks and how easy it is to work with them. If you create an environment that appeals to you and that benefits the work you need to do, you will not postpone working even with the most tedious task again.

Do this

  1. Take an empty sheet of paper and grab a pen you enjoy writing with.

  2. Think about what inspires you in life and what characterizes the environment or situation in which you work optimally and with the greatest sense of enjoyment.

  3. Write down three of these qualities or characteristics to begin with, hence making them clear to yourself.

    For me, this could for instance be:
    • Quiet surroundings so that I can really focus and concentrate
    • Surrounding myself with beautiful things or beautiful design; for instance inspiring and beautiful images
    • Something comfortable to sit on or in

    For someone else, this might mean:

    • Great music to listen to
    • A lot of surrounding activity (like in an open-plan office)
    • Something good or refreshing to eat
       
  4. Now reflect on if there are other completely different environmental characteristics which inspire you when you need to perform tasks that require a different environment. If you think of any, write them down as well.
  5. Go through all the contexts you usually work in, that is, the places and situations you work in.

    Ask yourself:

    • Considering the external environmental characteristics you know inspire you, do you continuously work in all the context you need or want to work in?
    • Do you need to create another context which can act as a sanctuary when you need to do something particularly strenuous?
    • Do the contexts you currently work in have all the optimal prerequisites for your work to run as smooth as possible?
      • Do you need to adjust or complement something when it comes to your office and desk?
        • Remove clutter from the walls that only distract you when you need to focus.
        • Put up images that appeal to and inspire you when you throw a glance at them.
      • Do you need to adjust or complement something when it comes to your work by the computer? For example:

        • Get a wireless network so that you do not have to get annoyed by the wire being in the way.
        • Purchase a laptop-support so that the computer lies comfortably in your lap and so that your legs do not have to get so warm.
        • Get an extra battery so that you can work without an outlet for hours.
        • Clean your desk so that you do not get stressed every time you look at the desk and see all the items on it.
  6. If you think of anything you could refine, define a to-do-task which constitutes the first step in this refinement.  Perhaps you need to:

    • Buy something.
    • Move something.
    • Ask someone something.

A smoother and more pleasant work-day

If you actively create more beneficial working-environments, your work will run smoother and easier. You will get less frustrated and feel less stressed since it will be easier to get started working on tasks you previously postponed.  You are simply creating a smoother and more pleasant work-day.

What is your way?

What is your optimal working-environment? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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