How to Get Motivated to Take on Boring Projects
Don’t get mad at the messenger here. But life is full of stuff that you don’t want to do. Regardless if it’s at work or when off-the-clock, you just can’t escape boring projects.
But, what causes boredom?
“Boredom is an aversive state characterized by dissatisfaction, restlessness, and weariness,” states Andreas Elpidorou, a University of Louisville researcher, in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. “Being in a state of boredom feels like being emotionally trapped.”
When you feel trapped, it’s more of a challenge to stay motivated. Thankfully, you can tackle those boring projects by using the following tips to find your motivation.
Make it an art.
Tasks can be unenjoyable because there is no quality in doing them. Writing an article, for me at least, is much more enjoyable than the cleaning dishes after dinner.
That’s because that article could have more depth to it, such as new website visitors, leads, or clients. It could also be turned into a new piece of content like an infographic or could be part of a white paper/eBook.
With cleaning dishes, however, the motivation is much narrower. The dishes either get cleaned or they remain dirty. That on-off approach is what makes a task boring.
In order to add more depth to a boring project, view it as an unrecognized art form that you’re going to master. With cleaning dishes, I’ve made that task more enjoyable by trying things out like using a timer to see how fast I can clean the dishes. I’ve even made a playlist just for cleaning the kitchen.
It may not sound like much, but those small steps have made even the most boring of work more enjoyable.
It’s not uncommon to get bored because you’ve lost curiosity. When that happens, step away from the project and find ways to regain that sense of curiosity. This could come in the form of reading a book or magazine article or watching a TED Talk or documentary.
The key is that it should be as far was as the work as possible, yet linked to the core components of the project.
Spend time with some comrades.
Is there anything more comforting or energizing then spending time with others who are in the same boat as you? After all, they know better than anyone else the experiences you’re going through.
I’m able to receive motivating pieces of advice from my fellow entrepreneurs when tackling a less than desirable project. It could be tricks, tips, or or just words of encouragement.
Additionally, hanging out with your comrades doesn’t have to be serious. Working with others can turn those boring, tedious tasks into fun, playful ones.
For example, when I was in college I worked one summer doing maintenance at a high school with a friend of mine. When we did jobs like pulling weeds, we made the best of it by making-up our own lyrics to songs. It helped focus on everything else besides the heat and how boring the job was.
Enjoy small rewards.
You “can stay motivated is by enjoying small rewards. Working without ever rewarding yourself can make you begin to question why you are working in the first place. This can zap your motivation and put you on a path toward failure,” writes Kayla Sloan.
“You don’t have to spend thousands to give yourself a reward. You can enjoy small rewards that help you keep your focus.”
For example, you can go grab your favorite drink from a local coffee house once a month. “Or, make a special treat at home once per week. Find something you enjoy that makes you feel good and indulge in this activity once in a while. These small rewards are what make life worth living and can keep you going.”
Change your scenery.
One of the best ways to get motivated is by changing your scenery. If you’re a freelance writer working on a boring topic, leave your home and visit a coffee shop. Besides the caffeine, you can get motivated because you’re around like-minded individuals.
If you’re still just blankly staring at the screen, then go for a walk outside. This gets the blood flowing, improves your mood, and can introduce you to fresh ideas or perspectives.
Make the familiar strange.
Sometimes project becomes boring because it’s so repetitive. Instead of doing the same thing, the same exact way think about it in a different way. For instance, view the project as a theme park designer or movie director.
This is a tactic IDEO’s Tom Kelley embraces. As he explained at the Creativity World Forum, he was able to cultivate a beginner’s mind-set when facing a familiar project just by taking a familiar term “déjà vu” and changing it to “vuja de.” This is the act of looking at something familiar, but seeing in a novel way.
It’s not the event, it’s the process.
“All too often, we think our goals are all about the result. We see success as an event that can be achieved and completed,” writes James Clear. For example, if you get that article published on Forbes, then you’re startup will be all set.
“But if you look at the people who are consistently achieving their goals, you start to realize that it’s not the events or the results that make them different. It’s their commitment to the process. They fall in love with the daily practice, not the individual event.”
So, if you want to get featured in Forbes, then the best way to achieve that goal is by falling in the love with the process of marketing.
In other words, fall in love with boredom. “Fall in love with repetition and practice. Fall in love with the process of what you do and let the results take care of themselves.”