There will be times in life that we have to do mundane tasks we hate.
Even when you follow your passion you will encounter moments where you have to complete work that is important, but mind-numbingly boring.
It’s like putting together a playlist of all your favorite songs. At first, every single song gets you excited. But then, eventually, you’ll find yourself hitting the next button more frequently because some songs just aren’t that great anymore. You start picking favorites out of your favorites.
Life can only be filled with so many things that we actually want to do. There is a threshold.
I tried my hardest, with every ounce of my being to resist this principle and find a loophole; no such luck. I’ve finally accepted that it’s just one of the many ways life balances itself out.
But there is hope. Here are a few things I’ve learned that can help you get through the boring shit and on to the good stuff.
1) Talk to a friend about it.
Choose a great one; one who’s going to listen to you, understand the situation, then tell you in their own way that you need to stop being a bitch, cinch up your boot straps and do a little dirty work. Hell, shoot me an email if you’re in need of a little motivation (steveo [at] hobodrifter.com).
2) Take a break.
Boring tasks can wear on your psyche and destroy your motivation. So stop what you’re doing and start something else that’s completely unrelated. Listen to music, go to the park, go for a run, dance your ass off, or chow on some grub. Then, when you’ve cleared your head, do #3 below and get back to work.
3) Remind yourself of the bigger picture.
Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” It should rekindle the fire inside and remind you of the goal you’re shooting for or the people you’re trying to help. But beware if you find yourself struggling to truthfully answer the why. If it becomes too difficult, you may want to reexamine the original goal or just stop completely.
4) Make the task fun.
This is the most difficult option, but also the most beneficial. Great teachers are great because they make learning fun for their students – even the boring stuff. When we are excited to do something, both our mental and physiological states are altered to help us complete the task more efficiently.
Turn your work into a game. Challenge yourself to finish within a certain timeframe, or make up a funny/stupid song that relates to the boring task you’re doing (“Hey… this work is boring… and this is stupid… but here’s my stapler… so you can use it”).
5) Be present.
Be in the moment. I’ve discovered that a big reason we think something is boring is because we believe we could be or should be doing something more important with our time. It’s easier said than done, I know, but try your absolute best to stop thinking about the past, stop worrying about the future and just put yourself in the moment. Focus on nothing but the task at hand (a deep breath always helps calm me down).
If you’re typing, think about each keystroke. If you’re cleaning the dishes, feel the water running over your hands and the glass between your fingers. You get the point.
I wish I could tell you a different tale, that life could be all sunshine and rainbows, but it isn’t. Even those of us who try to enjoy the journey every day are faced with resistance.
I’ve been struggling like crazy to get my own business started. The funny thing is I’m the only one standing in the way. I get all psyched up then fire out of the gate, only to hit a wall when I’m faced with my first real challenge of completing work I don’t want to do.
Now I’m finally making strides; doing what is necessary. I’m implementing the aforementioned tips and keeping a very important principle in the forefront of my mind.
First do what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
- Francis of Assisi
Don’t let the mundane, boring tasks hold you back from achieving your goals or doing what you love.
You’re too smart for that.
Plus there’s too much cool shit to enjoy once the boring crap is out of the way.
Just do it already…
Enjoy The Journey