It doesn’t matter how much you may love your job, there is always one aspect of your role that just isn’t enjoyable. Maybe it’s answering emails, sitting in on conference calls, or balancing the books. Perhaps it isn’t a work task that you dread, but something in your personal life like working out or managing the finances. Whatever your least favorite tasks are, here are five ways to make them just a little more enjoyable.
1. Partner your least favorite with your most favorite.
Love binging on Netflix, podcasts, or some other form of media? Only let yourself enjoy those things while you complete your unenjoyable task. When Shane was training for the Iron Man, he only let himself watch Netflix (something he loves to do) when he was on the treadmill or the bike. Only let yourself listen to a podcast while you answer and organize your emails.
2. Celebrate wins.
If your dreaded task is actually a big task, like balancing your business’s books or managing your family’s finances…then celebrate when you’ve done it on time and well! If you dedicate the last Saturday morning of the month to painstakingly go through bank statements, then also schedule a recurring movie night or date night on the last Saturday of the month, as well.
3. Get competitive with yourself.
One of the hardest parts about working on a task we don’t enjoy is that it usually takes about 5x longer to complete than it needs. When you don’t like what you’re working on, it’s easy to take a (unnecessary) TV, social media, or snack break multiple times. If you like competition, up the stakes and bet on yourself. If this task took you 120 minutes to complete last week, can you get it done in 80 this week? What about 60? Actually, how much could you do in 20 if you really, really focus? Each week, time yourself and keep trying to beat your own time.
4. Change your words.
Instead of saying “I have to” when referring to your task, try using the words “I get to” or “I choose to.” It sounds silly and maybe even small, but a simple change in wording can shift your perspective. You might not enjoy sitting in on conference calls, but you get to because you have a great job. So, grab yourself a latte and enjoy listening!
5. Break it up.
What if you broke up your dreaded task into something you spent 5-10 minutes on every day? Instead of doing a weekly, hour-long email purge…you set an alarm from 4:50 PM – 5:00 PM Monday – Friday to answer and organize them. Maybe you don’t enjoy spending hours in the gym; but during the summer months, it’s much more enjoyable to just work on strength training in the mornings at the gym and then go for a run or bike ride outside in the evenings. The key with this method is that you can’t allow any exceptions.
Don’t feel guilty about dreading certain tasks; we all have things on our to-do list that we don’t look forward to. Instead, find a way to incentivize yourself and make them more enjoyable. You’ll be surprised at how something you used to hate becomes something you (kind of) like.