Every workload will involve some level of repetition and the mundane.
The countless emails..
The unending copy & paste sessions..
The intense production periods where little of the content is creative or changing..
They call it grinding because it can be boring and unappealing at times.
They call it a hustle because you have grind quickly to get ahead.
So how do you hustle and grind hard enough to get you through the boring parts and back into the creative portion of your workload?
Top 5 Strategies for Handling Unappealing and Boring Tasks
1. Listen to Audiobooks
I would not have made it through my boring data entry “internship” back in college if I didn’t have audiobooks. You show up to the same job every day for what seems like endless hours, and you just copy and paste experimental results. It’s about as invigorating as watching mud dry.
That was until a friend suggested I listen to an audiobook while I was working.
I finished two books in my first week. And I finished about 1 book every week thereafter. Not only did I get my work done, but I was learning at the same time and I actually enjoyed the process!
2. Listen to Music
There are days when you just don’t feel like you have the mental capacity to listen to an audiobook, maybe you’re sick of listening to the narrator, or maybe you simply don’t have much time.
BLAST THE MUSIC!
I personally enjoy epic music mixes (think Hans Zimmer) that make me feel like I’m in the middle of a battle fighting for my life and the fate of humanity. If you prefer something more serene and peaceful, there are plenty of soundtracks on Youtube for studying or meditation that are multiple hours long for you to simply hit the play button and just get to work.
3. Chunk it down
I’m very fortunate to have many STRIVENT Coaching community members live nearby (I’m in Silicon Valley right now), and I get to bump into them at coffee shops and book stores semi-often.
One reader and friend approached me at a coffee shop recently telling me about this unfortunate workload on his plate. He’s working on an awesome graphic novel, a totally creative endeavor, but has 10 hours worth of photo-copying to get done.
No problem. Just chunk it down. I offered, “Don’t think of it as one 10-hour session, but rather five 2-hour sessions, or 10 1-hour sessions. If you just knocked out 1 hour a day while listening to an audiobook for the next 2 weeks, you’d have both your work done and a book finished.”
4. Tedious tasks after lunch-time (or whenever you hit your slump)
There is an inevitable slow period to each day where maybe our food is digesting or the sun is piercing through the window and we just don’t feel like we have a ton of energy to be creative. This is a perfect opportunity to crank out the mindless work.
This tends to be right after lunch for most people. Schedule an hour for yourself during this time to make sure you’re getting the necessary items done.
5. Try to perfect it
Most mundane tasks, especially on the computer, involve repeating a certain task an infinite amount of times and getting information from one format into another.
Try to do it perfectly! Can you get it done flawlessly once? How about a couple times in a row? Start to take pride not just in the act of getting the mundane done, but being the best at it. One of the best ways to make anything fun is to make it a game.
It might not be your favorite thing to do right now, but it still needs to get done. If you treat the task like a game, schedule it for times when you’re not feeling creative anyways, take it in bite-sized chunks, and listen to an audiobook or music while you work, you’ll be able to handle the boring in a not so boring way!
STRIVENT - Founder, Performance Coach