You’re feeling like a champ, crossing off those to-do list items, making real progress, and knowing that you could totally conquer the world if you wanted to. But as you get further down your list, a feeling of dread starts to creep up as your eyes lock onto the tasks you’ve been putting off for far too long. Suddenly, you’re feeling less like a superhero and more like a zero.
So, how can you power through those moments of “I really would rather be doing anything else right now”? Here are some ways to find the motivation you need to get your least-favourite tasks completed so that you can move on to what you really enjoy.
Consider the Benefits
OK, so all you can think about is how much you don’t want to do this particular thing. Maybe it’s boring, maybe it’s tedious, maybe it forces you to deal with people you don’t particularly enjoy talking to, or maybe it’s complicated and is going to drain you of all of your energy. Chances are, though, the task is on your list because it needs to get done, and some actual benefit will come from completing it.
So, what are the benefits involved in completing the task? Does it mean you can get working on something you love doing? Will it solve a problem that’s been holding you back? Will it result in you collecting or receiving money? Does it have something to do with helping others? Focus on what’s truly important about completing the task so that you’ll feel a bigger push in the right direction.
Get it Out of the Way First
This is kind of like how your parents used to make you do your chores before you could watch TV, play video games, or visit your friends. If you put off the not-so-fun task to get started on things you enjoy doing first, you’ll probably never really get around to the other work. Crossing off your least-favourite tasks before diving into anything else can provide a feeling of freedom. You know you’ve gotten the worst over with and can move on to better things.
Read: Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time to discover tricks to deal with procrastination.
Take One Step at a Time
Can the task be broken up into smaller steps? If so, this strategy could help you feel like you’re accomplishing more and make the task seem far less daunting. Look for ways to complete the task in short bursts of work, maybe half an hour here, half an hour there, until you’ve reached the finish line and can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. If the task is more in-depth, you can also break it down so that it spans a few days, leaving you feeling less rushed and frantic.
Only Do What You Need to Do
If this is something you really don’t care to spend a whole lot of time on, just do what you need to do to get it done. Don’t get caught up in making everything perfect, don’t get too bogged down by details, and don’t psych yourself out. Be effective, put in effort, but keep things in perspective in terms of how much energy you really need to spend on something you’d rather not be doing. Save that energy for what you’re most passionate about.
That’s right. Come up with a way to treat yourself once the task is completed. It sounds way too simple, but it does work. If there’s something you do to indulge yourself (fancy coffee beverages, spa treatments, a night out, and so on), save it for after you’ve accomplished your least-favourite tasks. It’ll give a new meaning to your indulgence and will motivate you to get that work done so you can enjoy yourself.
Look for Ways to Automate
Is there an app for that? Smaller tasks that you’d rather not deal with could potentially be taken care of by technology. Maybe you could set your email account up to sort your incoming mail for you, or perhaps you could tap into the power of scheduling social media posts so you don’t have to remember to post something manually each time. There are so many apps and technological helpers out there, you’re sure to find something to lessen the burden.
Give it to Someone Else
If you really, really can’t bring yourself to tackle the tasks you hate, find out if there’s someone else who can take it off of your plate. Is there a co-worker who loves doing what you don’t? Is there someone in your company who might be better qualified to take on the task? Can you hire a freelancer or contract employee to take care of the work you’d rather not deal with? Even just farming out parts of the tasks you don’t enjoy can help to get the work done faster.
You could also try a work swap, where you and a co-worker exchange tasks you don’t enjoy to help the other person out. Even if you don’t complete each other’s tasks entirely, you could get a head start and possibly even inspire each other to find new ways to get things done.
We all have tasks we’d rather not deal with, and procrastination is sometimes inevitable. But unless these tasks are not essential to moving your work forward, you’re going to have to face them at some point. There are numerous ways to push yourself to finish what you don’t want to even start. Looking at how the task fits into the big picture, taking care of it before moving on to something more inspiring, breaking it down into smaller steps, and bribing yourself to get it done are just a few methods. Or, if you’re really not feeling it, you could always hand it off to someone else.