Advertising
Advertising

How to Enjoy What You Are Doing No Matter What

How to Enjoy What You Are Doing No Matter What

Ideally, we can choose to always do what we love without ever needing to think about the things we don’t like. That, unfortunately, is not the case in real world. There are times when we need to do something we don’t like.

Just think of the time when you were in school or college. While there were some modules you liked, there were usually also some modules you didn’t like. But you needed to work your way through all of them, not just the ones you liked.

Here is what Joel Spolsky wrote in Advice for Computer Science College Students regarding what he – as recruiter – looks for in resumes:

I’m going to look for consistently high grades, not just high grades in computer science. Why should I, as an employer looking for software developers, care about what grade you got in European History? After all, history is boring. Oh, so, you’re saying I should hire you because you don’t work very hard when the work is boring? Well, there’s boring stuff in programming, too. Every job has its boring moments. And I don’t want to hire people that only want to do the fun stuff.

As you can see, the ability to do well on things you don’t like is essential for success. It makes you perform consistently well no matter what. Such consistent performance will make you stand out among your peers.

Of course, we still need to motivate ourselves. We are more likely to perform well if we enjoy the process. While this might not be easy, here are some tips to help you enjoy what you are doing no matter what:

1. Look at the long-term benefit

Often, we need to do something we don’t like as a part of something larger which will give us big benefit in the future. For example, we take the modules we don’t like in college because it will eventually earn us a degree that gives us the opportunity to get a good job. It is unlikely that we need to do something we don’t like if there is no long-term benefit involved. By looking at the long-term benefit you will eventually acquire, the activity won’t look as bad as it is.

Advertising

2. Find what you can learn from it

I believe there is always something we can learn from every experience. If we can’t find one, that’s maybe just because we are too focused on the negative side rather than the positive. For example, European History which Joel talked about may help us learn from thousands of years of experiences so that we do not need to repeat the same mistakes people did. Besides, it can give us more potential common ground to connect with new people (especially with those who like history). If you really can’t find any, at least the experience teaches you to be persistent in any situation. That’s a valuable lesson in itself.

3. Think of doing it for someone you love

Love is a strong source of motivation. If you do something for someone you love, it’s very likely that you can stand even the most boring activity and even enjoy the process. So keep in mind that you do not do this for yourself, but for someone you love.

Advertising

4. Enjoy the interaction with the people

Your source of fun and enjoyment is not just the activity, but also the interaction with the people there. While the activity itself might not be very exciting, there might be a lot of rich experiences you can get from the interaction with the people. That’s also one reason to enjoy what you are doing.

5. Think and say something positive

If you keep thinking or saying that you don’t like an activity, there is no way you can enjoy it. Always think and say something positive. The points above helps you find positive things you can think and say about. You may think of the long-term benefit you will get, or the nice interaction you have with the people. Focus on these positive things; don’t ever think or say something negative..

Advertising

6. Gather with passionate people

While you may not always have the luxury to choose who you work with, whenever possible you should choose to gather with positive people. Choose the people who you know are passionate about the activity. Their passion would be contagious. They will give you the energy to stay positive and even enjoy what you are doing.

Donald Latumahina is an avid learner who blogs regularly about personal growth and effectiveness. Read his articles on 15 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations, and 10 Ways to Increase Your Arbitrage Power.

More by this author

How to Enjoy What You Are Doing No Matter What 4 Reasons Why Curiosity is Important and How to Develop It How to Be a Friend of Yourself Determine Never to Be Idle: A Simple Productivity Strategy 6 Lessons on Making Smooth Transitions in Life

Trending in Featured

1 Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed 2 What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time 3 20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity 4 How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques 5 How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 31, 2020

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why We Procrastinate After All?

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

Advertising

To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

Is Procrastination Bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

Advertising

The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How Bad Procrastination Can Be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

Advertising

After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Advertising

Procrastination, a Technical Failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next