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15 Nov

Make the boring tasks enjoyable

Datum: 2013-11-15 10:04

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.