Everyone has to do boring stuff for his/her job. And I mean everyone. Even the most dreamy professions (eg. professional swimmers in pool full with confetti or butterfly coachs for synchronized flight), require the completion of boring, but necessary tasks every now and then. But what makes these tasks so boring -to the point of disgust-? Maybe because in the majority of them you are enforced to do stuff mechanically without any complicated thought sequence(yes!)? It is incredible, right? The most simple (and simplistic) the task is, the more difficult is to convince your brain that it has to go out of the denial phase, cooperate and get shit done.
So how do you fool your mind, so it will overcome the first step of continuous denial and procrastination?
- Listen to music: Such a classic! While working you can listen to songs you really adore, but beware: stay away of those, which you have heard over and over again. If you think "I'm so bored to listen to this song again", you will remember how much you really "hate" what you do also, so you will be trapped in the procrastination loop again. So let's go for addictive new songs only!
- Drink coffee: coffee helps doing stupid things faster and with more energy. Something that applies only on the first three coffees, after these the -mental- chaos.
- Listen to an audio book: If what you do doesn't require very complex mental thoughts and it's just a mechanical task, an audio book (whose narrator has a nice voice) will create the perfect distraction. Your mind will be too focused on the story, to give attention the the little green procrastination monster. Crazy, huh?
- Take a MOOC: In case you have no idea of what I am talking about, MOOCs are free courses from all sorts of disciplines, given by major universities around the world through the coursera, edx and other platforms. Sign up to something that it's not that complicated or doesn't have complicated terminology. Since you don't want to be stuck on the computer's screen watching the lecture's slides, avoid science courses and prefer more philosophical or self-improvement courses. You'll get chewed spoon food by the professor, which will require as much cognitive processing as needed, in order to forget how boring is the thing that you do. My favorite MOOCs right now: Reason and Persuasion: Thinking Through Three Dialogues By Plato (funniest professor ever!) and the Think Again: How to Reason and Argue.
- Make a to-do list based on an absolute and non-negotiable deadline: Then set your own deadline which will be 4-5 before the real one. According to the former one, divide your time and schedule all the tasks that should be completed (yes, even the boring ones). You will work far more effectively if you know what you should complete during the day and even if you finish 1-2 days later than your own deadline, you will be definitely done before your boss's guillotine. Genius, huh? I thought it on my own. ;)
- Promise yourself a treat/gift if you complete shit on time (the following tip doesn't apply on me, but I know tons of people that work like that): Promise yourself a little reward, eg. something that you want to buy forever but you didn't for all the kind of reasons, if you finish everything on time. If you're like me you probably won't be able to estimate the future benefit from the completion of the tasks (the gift!) and will stay in the ternal denial state. Too bad, I know.
Generally, the trick is to fool your brain into thinking that you enjoy yourself like you do something interesting, while in reality you are completing the most boring of boring things in the universe. So create a distraction in the upper "floors" of brain (which create the denial state, just because "they think", to let the lower "floors" controlling unhindered these kill-me-better tasks.
PS. And for those of you who want to succeed in reaching all these (not) unattainable goals, here are some tricks.
So how do you finish boring but essential tasks? What are your tricks?
Credits | Text & Photo: Debbie Kortes