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How to Do What You Don’t Want to Do (but Have to Do Anyway)

How to Do What You Don’t Want to Do (but Have to Do Anyway)

Do you feel like your chores are piling up around you? Whether you’re inundated with housework, or you have a growing list of nagging tasks to complete at work, you are probably overwhelmed and frustrated. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all balked at completing these menial jobs.

As much as we’d rather go on an adventure or tackle that exciting work project, everybody has to spend time doing things they don’t enjoy. Your productivity and happiness is at stake if you can’t clear minor tasks out of the way. Most of these jobs take no longer than a few minutes to complete, but they can compound into a mountain of work if left unattended. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Every exciting work includes some tedious tasks, it’s inevitable.

Regardless of how your chores make you feel, you still have to do them. Having a negative view of your duties sets you up for failure. Instead of thinking of them with disdain, turn to them with gratitude. Even the most exciting assignments at work come with a certain amount of administrative baggage.

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Know that hacking through the red tape, filling out the forms, and answering your emails is just a means to get to the work that you enjoy. Envision how much more productive, healthy, and happy you will be if you keep up with your chores.

To accomplish things you don’t feel like doing, plan your tasks with strategies.

Balance your day.

Use the Pomodoro technique to maximize your time without burning yourself out. Start by establishing your to-do list and grouping similar items on your list. Then, work for a solid 25 minutes on your first task or set of tasks. Take five minutes to recharge your batteries, and repeat the pattern. After you have worked for four 25-minute intervals, take a 20-minute break.[1] By working this way, you spend about 75% of your time on task and 25% at rest.

Make routine tasks automatic.

Forwarding your emails to a single address can keep you from having to open several email services. Most email services also give you the option to set up filters to automatically sort your messages. If you generate the same types of documents or messages over and over, come up with a standard template. You can still customize your work, but it is a lot easier to change a few details in your message than it is to reinvent the wheel every day. Automating processes such as paying your bills and refilling your prescriptions means that you won’t have to spend your lunch break doing tedious tasks.[2]

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Make chores part of your schedule.

Block out time for them the same way you set aside time for appointments. Incorporate practices like the “One Touch Rule” to save time.[3] This rule requires you to take care of items right away so that you only handle them one time. For example, instead of throwing junk mail into a pile on your desk, throw it in the trash right away.

Do the things that require the most effort first.

Knock out your most challenging work early in the day. These might be things that require the greatest amount of creativity, or they could be the chores that you hate doing the most. You are less likely to experience decision fatigue[4] early in the day, and your levels of self-control will be higher.[5] You don’t want to spend all day dreading a task and then be too exhausted to complete it.

Complete tasks in batches.

When you tackle similar and related tasks in the same block of time, you will be able to complete them more quickly. Have a portion of your day set up specifically for making phone calls or completing orders. Designate times to check your email, and silence unnecessary notifications. Multitasking is rarely as effective as sustained focus on a single task.[6]

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Turn completing chores into a game and reward yourself.

Think about things that make you happy and try to connect your chores to them. If it’s a vacation that you crave, agree to put a few dollars in the travel fund for each day that you clear all the items out of your incoming and outgoing files. You not only get the benefit of thinking about that vacation, but you also turn completing your chores into a game.[7]

Ask for help when necessary.

Depending on your position, you may be able to get some additional help with those chores. It is often less expensive to enlist an experienced helper than it is to waste valuable time trying to teach yourself how to do everything well.[8] Even if you don’t have the power to hire an assistant, you can still have an honest discussion with your manager or coworkers if your workload is untenable.

If you want to make your chores more manageable, keep up with them.

Edward Young once said,

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“Procrastination is the thief of time.”

Putting off chores today only compounds the amount of time you’ll need to spend on them later. When you approach menial tasks with a positive attitude and complete your chores efficiently, you’ll have more time to enjoy the things you love.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Angelina Phebus

Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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