Finding your productivity groove is easy on tasks you enjoy, but what happens to your mojo when it’s time to tackle those pesky to-do’s? How can you still strive toward efficiency when the very nature of the work is slowing you down?
For organizations considered “efficiency experts” (and that have the results to prove it), it all comes down to finding a way to move swiftly through all tasks on a timeline. When you grease the wheels with a little creative thinking, productivity goals become easier to reach. The trick is to find ways to flow through tasks you dislike.
Get Creative with Simple Productivity Boosts
Here are a few things you can do to make boring tasks more seamless and push past the resistance you feel toward getting them done.
1. Take a Step Back to See How a Task Fits into the Big Picture
Never underestimate the power of having a clear purpose behind all your tasks. When you can attribute something to a greater goal, it makes the work at hand more palatable and meaningful.
2. Learn to Spot Your Procrastination Triggers
We all have them, but we aren’t always willing to own them. When a certain task starts to feel boring, challenging, or meaningless, you know procrastination is not far off. Use timed stopping points to give yourself a small reward for completing a task, or take a quick break to figure out how to make a task more fun. This shifts your focus to a strategy for completing the work rather than the fact that it’s less than fun.
3. Connect a Task You Dislike with One You Enjoy
When you pair a task you like with a challenging one, you lighten the drudgery and make progress at the same time. It’s a win-win!
4. Set It and Forget It
There’s no use in pushing yourself to finish something when your cylinders are running on empty. Set a time limit to focus on challenging steps—then take a break. A change of scenery can do wonders for the body and mind, shifting your attitude while also helping you recharge.
5. Know When to Stop Pushing
You can’t be productive 100 percent of the time, so why force yourself? Be okay with honoring what you need in the moment, and do a bit of self-care. The more you push, the more resentful you’ll be of the work you need to finish.
6. Break a Big Task into Smaller Chunks
If you shrink the time spent on the tasks you don’t like to a bearable amount, they don’t seem nearly as overwhelming. You can even set a timer to signify when you’re “free” so you don’t keep watching the clock. It also helps to start with the end goal in mind and work backward, breaking things up in a logical way that suits your tolerance levels.
7. Clear Distractions
A cluttered desk makes it hard to focus, especially when you’re looking for anything more exciting to do. Do yourself a favor and clear your space in order to concentrate and be more productive.
8. Ditch Perfectionism and Give Yourself Permission to Blow Off an Activity
Yes, the annoying, boring tasks aren’t going to vanish, but you don’t have to get them all done perfectly right now. Don’t continue to sit at your desk and struggle to push through something—you’re only building resentment and frustration. Instead, honor the truth: that you really don’t want to do it right now. When you acknowledge and express your feelings, you’re able to move on and focus at a better time.
Everyone has a productivity dip when it comes to challenging tasks, so breathe new life into your approach by trying some of these tips. Already have a few slick techniques that work well for you? Share a few here.