Featured: Motivating yourself for tasks you really don't enjoy!

Discussion in 'Self Improvement and Being Successful' started by Fergal, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Fergal

    Fergal
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    I'm sure we all have to occasionally work on tasks that we really don't enjoy. Maybe it's doing the books, data-entry or cleaning up at the end of a shift.

    When faced with these tasks I try to focus on the end result and bear in mind how things will be better when the task is complete. I'm also conscious of how I schedule these tasks, and try to complete them when I'm at my most alert and ready for work.

    Unfortunately I sometimes dwell on the negative impact of not completing the task and naturally enough this doesn't help. I also frequently put these tasks off to the last minute and then find myself under a lot of pressure to get them done on time. This is counter-productive because it increases my stress levels.

    How do you get yourself motivated and focused on tasks you don't enjoy?
     
    #1 Fergal, Sep 24, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2008
  2. Zantetsken

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    I think it depends on the task at hand. If it's something that requires thought, then I just try to focus on the work as much as I can. For example, today I was writing the same item number and quantity on at least 30 boxes. I just went ahead and wrote it on all of the boxes without thinking about anything else, and I was done with that task before I knew it. While I don't enjoy being unable to think, being kept completely busy tends to get me through my day faster.
    However, if it's a simple task that I can do without thinking too much, then I just kind of do the task routinely while thinking about things I might want to do when I get home, or even things I might want to do in my break.

    I think the most important thing is to not dwell on the fact that you dislike the task at hand. If you think about how you're doing something you dislike, then you're just going to put yourself in a bad or impatient mood, which will make the task seem more difficult than it is and your day feel longer than it is.


    Edit: Oh, and there's a typo in the title. I'm not sure if it's too late for you to fix that or not...
     
  3. Nazreen

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    For myself, I always try to keep the focus on fun. If it's something that I really don't like doing then I try to think of something fun about the particular task that I would really enjoy. I never liked playing badminton before or any sport for that matter, but when I met my husband who's a badminton enthusiast, I thought why not? I can goof around and tease him while playing the game. It would also be good doing these tasks that you really don't enjoy with another person or persons. Aside from sharing in the task, you'll also get to talk and socialize with them. Before you know it, the task is already done.

    In school, I also get to teach English to three 8-year olds - a korean boy, a japanese boy and a russian girl. At the start of the school semester, they didn't know a word of English so I made them picture words and cut them into squares. I then ask them to match the pictures with the words and at the same time competing with each other - more like a game. The kids enjoyed it so much that when it's time to end the class, they even didn't want to go and want to do more. Today, they can now read out loud a level-4 English book.
     
  4. silent_thunder

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    First of all fergal there is a typo on the title of the thread, I think you meant tasks!!


    hmm... I think Pain may sometimes be the reason why people change their attitude towards work. Getting a loss at the same work that you are trying to do now, Debts remind us of our inability to look for a source of income. Being humiliated gives us the ‘push’ to speak up and fight for ourselves to save our face from the next embarrassments:D. It may be a bitter experience, a great movie, or anything that you like that will help us get up and get just the right amount of motivation we need in order to improve ourselves.BAF Members the following points really helps and motivation as I said is very very important in achieving your goals or finishing the work

    Give more than what is enough. Where does motivation and self improvement take place at work? At home? When you exert extra effort in doing things.Just be yourself. The key to success is to be yourself. And the key to failure is to try to please everyone.

    Open your eyes there is opportunity and a better life waiting for you around the corner for if you cross this hurdle,Visualize it. Motivation without vision is like a boat on a dry land try to visualise all the good that will come from the work that you are doing...this will definetly work!!

    Think of the good times you will have in future sharing the fun with your family and friends



    Visualise IT
     
  5. deepak_sharma

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    Yes it's very diffcult to motivate yourself for the things you don't like doing. Getting over activities you hate means combating a special type of procrastination.Even on the things you actually enjoy. I enjoy reading books but i sometimes procastinate. If you procastinate for minutes for the job you enjoy, it could go really long for the job you hate.

    For creating interest in activities you first have to focus on the job. Focusing the job makes it easier for you to spit it out and work on something else.



    I completely agree with Silent that attitude is very much important in doing such kind of jobs.You can go for reversal technique which states that "You should go with your full power, invest all your mental energy and concentrate on the activity until there is nothing else in the world.

    One more thing you can do is seeing your boring activity as a unrecognized art. It may be diffcult to execute but it would surely help you.The lost option which i personally prefer is not doing the work you don't enjoy. Instead outsource it or look for technical or software help....
     
  6. DEADMAN

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    There are many things in this world that you really don't enjoy working with. Unfortunately, you must work with it and adjust with it for life you're living. One positive aspect thing you should remember is that No person are capable to accomplish the work 100% right (In perfect way).

    Always, we have to remember Time is divine and valuable. You've to set yourself between the cage of time that means do the work in proper time. Every person fails to work with proper time, mostly often. We're just people who're learning to adopt with time. Once the time is gone, it never comes back. And simply, your work if was uncomplete that time, the time will never go back or halt for you to complete your work. Simply, time doesn't wait for none, like flowing river that never learns to halt. Occasionally, I want to split onto the face of time for being so cruel, moving continuosly and waiting for none. And we've run back with time. Anyways, this is what everyone should work with time and learn to live with it.

    So, you've to look the life of some great successful person. They've failed many time, even minor projects and works but they never lay back. They missed to finish the work on time but they never sat back, forgot the past and started next project or again that work to complete in proper time even thou they didn't enjoy that work. Successful people aren't successful very easily. So, remember these thing and calm yourself down, drink cold drinks or water and go outside your room to a open railing where you can see beautiful mountains or scenes and relax down. Never let yourself down, your failure is your actual hope for success. And the things you don't enjoy is really motivational in itself to make you successful if you never give up.
     
    #6 DEADMAN, Sep 25, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2008
  7. Fergal

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    Typo corrected, well spotted, thanks.

    Thanks everyone for your excellent tips, I think the following ideas are particularly useful;

    1. Take a break from the task and get outside for some fresh air
    2. Get someone else to do it
    3. Visualise the task as an art
    4. Visualise yourself completing the task diligently and successfully
    5. The end result
    6. Focus on the fun elements of the job
    7. Get busy and don't dwell on the fact that you are not enjoying the task

    Any more?
     
  8. Nazreen

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    Even before the invention of the tv and radios, people in the olden days have already successfully devised a way to combat boredom in doing their daily tasks and routines. They did this through Music. They have songs for cooking, farming, riding a horse, cleaning the house and backyard, washing clothes, ironing clothes, etc. You name a chore, they have music and songs for it.

    Music should also apply for this and can be used to motivate ourselves in doing tasks that we don't really enjoy. We don't have to sing though because we'll be disturbing our colleagues. What we can do is turn on our mp3 player and plug in our earphones and just listen to some music while doing these tasks.
     
  9. Zantetsken

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    I think it also helps to break the task down to "bite-sized" pieces. For example, if you have to rake your front and backyard... If you look at it as a whole, you might think "That's a lot of work... I'm in for a long day." However, you could break it down into three pieces: the two sides of your frontyard (divided by your sidewalk) and your backyard. I think it would be easier to "start with half of your frontyard" rather than "start with the entire task".

    I sometimes use this technique at work, and it usually serves me well. Sometimes I'll have a pallet with boxes stacked on top of it, and I'll have to inspect each one's contents. There might be other pallets with boxes, too, but I'll just focus on that one. I'll set my mind for the task by thinking to myself, "Okay. I have one hour until my break; I'll try to finish this stuff off before my break."

    I guess this isn't just breaking the task down, but also giving yourself a deadline to complete the work by. It's also a sort of countdown until your break; I can typically tell how long it will take me to do a certain amount of work, so it's almost as if "it will become break time after this work is done; the sooner I finish it, the sooner my break is", though I can't possibly speed my pace that much. So, again, it just becomes a countdown of sorts.



    I also sometimes look at the big picture to see just how much work I've done. For example, I was making a 90 second animation... When I made 10 seconds of animation, I was able to look at it as a whole and say "Hey, I'm 1/9 done. That's a pretty significant portion." I think seeing what you're accomplishing can be motivational.
     
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    #9 Zantetsken, Sep 27, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2008
  10. jigyasa

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    My method of self-motivation for tasks I do not like is in two phases. The first phase, the harder on, is to get started. For that, I tell myself as to why this task must be done and whether procrastinating it to "some other time" would take the pain away. Once I get myself to initiate the task , it gets easier. In the midst of it, all I have to tell myself is the pains I had to undergo in reaching my current status. And if I quit now, all that work goes to waste. The method works great for me :)
     
  11. harmin

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    You are right Fergal.Sometimes I have to do some works which I really don't enjoy.But I motivated myself by saying that there is both flavor in life -sweet and sour.So just take lightly everything and do your duty towards your responsibilities of your life.
     
  12. entreator

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    How do you stay motivated when you don’t feel like doing something? The answer is in the question – FEEL.

    It’s not that you don’t care how you feel, it’s that feelings are temporary. Care more about how you’ll feel in the long-run. When we have good self-esteem, when we feel good about ourselves, its because its been earned by doing what needed doing, by being Intentional—saying what we mean and meaning what we say. This includes some temporarily exasperating things like getting up on Monday morning when you feel like sleeping in, filing pleadings when you aren’t in the mood, talking with clients when you don’t feel like it, and changing the baby’s diaper when he needs it done, not when you want to. Living this way, you have momentum.

    Next time you’re feeling unmotivated, peel away the layers of your feelings. Are you too tired? Is there resentment? Do you feel there’s no purpose to what you’re doing? Are you balking against authority, something you always do? Are you sick of your job?

    you'll find the feeling which will motivate you to do that work.try it........
     
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  13. Nazreen

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    Welcome to the Business Advice Forum Entreator. That's a nice point you've made on how our feeling affects the way we tackle anything, including tasks and our jobs.

    By the way, is this your entry to the daily forum competition 24 Sept 08 - Motivation Tips? If it is, you would still need to make another post to qualify for it. You can check the link above.

     
  14. Fergal

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    I like that way of looking at it Harmin, I will remind myself of that the next time I feel demotivated regarding a particular task.

    Welcome to Business Advice Forum Entreator.

    The idea of peeling back your feelings is a very useful one. I recently practised this regarding something that I was feeling very stressed and worried about.

    I kept asking myself what it I was that I was actually worried about and what was the worst that could happen. When I really analysed it, I realised that if the situation got as bad as it could possibly get, that I would find myself in a situation that could be extremely challenging and potentially rewarding in terms of self-development and what I could learn from it.

    At the actual core of my worries was a concern about what other people would think. When I realised this, I stopped worrying and focused on the issues at hand.

    Your post also reminds me of a quote from Lance Armstrong, which I paraphrase from memory - "pain is temporary ... giving up is forever".
     
  15. Kay

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    You've had some wonderful answers here so far! Very helpful indeed. One thing I find is that if I have a job to do I dislike, it's best to get it over with as fast as possible. The earlier I can accomplish the task in the day, the better.

    I find that if I know it's looming and I put it off until later, my mood darkens the longer I procrastinate about it. However if I make my mind up to simply do it and have it out of the way early, then the remainder of my day isn't spoiled by the thought of that task lying ahead.

    It's amazing how much better you can feel when it's done and dusted. Some things of course can't be rescheduled but if it's at all possible, it's worth doing. The job doesn't seem half as bad as you thought it would be either. :)
     
  16. Nazreen

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    I agree with you on this Kay and it's better to accomplish the tasks that we dislike as fast as possible. But I think that this not only applies to tasks that we dislike but also with all tasks in general, whether we like them or not. If we finish all tasks as soon as we get them, then we would have more time for the more important tasks.
     
  17. Fergal

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    I think you need to be careful adopting that approach. You can improve your productivity at work by focusing on what's important rather than what's urgent. If we always complete urgent tasks as soon as they crop up we will find that there is no end of urgent stuff to do and that the important stuff can be left not done.

    This basically comes down to efficiency and effectiveness. Efficient is doing things right, effective is doing the right things.
     
  18. Kay

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    Very well put, Fergal. Being able to prioritize is key. If you don't, you find yourself constantly firefighting. Being reactive as opposed to proactive buries me very fast. Instead, I try to get start my day with aims in mind of what tasks I want to accomplish and in what order. Anything new that comes along gets added to the to-do list and slotted in.

    That said, you never know what your day's going to throw at you so you can't be too rigid about it but there's nothing like ticking off items on your to-do list and starting a fresh one the next day. :)
     
  19. SarahQ

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    Putting it first

    I am one of those people who created a to-do list every day for what I would like to get accomplished for the day. I then prioritize that list so that the most important tasks get done first. I have learned the hard way that if I don't put the disliked task at the top of the list, it probably won't get done. I will even schedule a time, if needed, and then treat it like my boss told me to do that at my job. After all, now that I am self-employed, I really am the boss, right?

    Self-discipline is probably one of the biggest factors in failing at starting your own business or building it. If you don't already possess this quality, then you should be working on acquiring it.
     
  20. Fergal

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    I also find To Do lists very useful and I work with one every day. Sometimes I get to a task that I just don't want to work on. But as you say you must have self-discipline, it is the next task on the list and I just get on with it.
     

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