5 Steps to Help Motivate You to Care About Tasks You Normally Dislike
When there’s unappealing work to be done, we usually dive right in with the goal of completing the task as quickly as possible. This may be fine for quick and easy jobs, but when you’re working on an important project and the disagreeable aspects take a significant amount of time, it’s a good idea to do what you can to motivate yourself to enjoy those things you don’t naturally enjoy.
Yes, there are things you can do and the best time to do them is before you begin your task.
1. Check to see that you’re in good condition.
Are you well-rested, nourished, and hydrated? The lack of any of these will distract you and drain your energy.
Even when you’re running on less than optimal sleep, a short restorative break can give you a boost. My favorite trick is to lie down with my timer set for 5 minutes and mentally scan my body, relaxing each part. This also works while sitting at a desk. In contrast, taking even a 5-minute walk, especially outside, or climbing a set or two of stairs can revive a tired body and mind.
Are you hungry or too full? Eating sugar or too much food at lunch will put you in a soporific haze. Being hungry and its companion, low blood sugar, makes thinking a challenge. A snack that combines protein with a little fat and carbs is ideal.
Dehydration can lead to a similar effect. Water and teas (or at least alternate your coffee with glasses of water) will give you more sustained energy and often relieve hunger pangs.
So, first you must take care of those basics.
2. Decide to do what you can to motivate yourself to enjoy the task.
This decision will open a door to considering strategies that can make a real difference. When you look into your natural liking and disliking of something with curiosity, you may find things within your task that you like or a way of doing it that makes it fun. That starts with your decision.
3. Prime your brain by putting yourself in a mindset that helps to see the task as more enjoyable and yourself as more competent.
Think of role models who you admire and how they tackle the tasks they don’t enjoy. “What Would __ Do?”
Monitor your progress and use that to inspire yourself into action. If you have an intellectually challenging task in front of you, start by doing a few quick puzzles or solving some math problems to get your brain in gear. I really enjoy crossword puzzles and problem solving games for this tip.
4. Prime your body by getting your blood flowing.
Get up from your desk and do a few jumping jacks or squats. Run a flight of stairs. It only takes a few minutes and the increased blood in your brain will improve your thinking, as well as your energy.
5. Prime your emotions.
This may include putting aside current annoyances as you focus on the aspects of your life that make you happy. Spend a few moments reflecting on what brings you pleasure – the people, experiences and things that you are most grateful for. How relieved will you be when this task is finished and you can enjoy those things? Have you offered yourself a reward?
Taking these five steps before beginning work you dislike can turn your feelings around. Stay tuned for my next blog where I will offer strategies to see your task differently while working.
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