06 Feb

3 Ways to Finally Motivate Yourself to Do Boring (But Important) Tasks

Emails are piling up, you’re behind on your bookkeeping, and your messy desk isn’t going to clean itself. You keep telling yourself that you’ll handle these mind-numbingly boring—yet important—tasks… some day.

As you wait for motivation to strike, the boring tasks just keep accumulating. You’re overwhelmed. You need help. You’re thinking about just throwing out your to-do list, and dealing with the consequences later. Or maybe you’ll hire a personal assistant that you can’t quite afford.

Don’t despair, you can motivate yourself to finally get these boring tasks out of the way. Then, you’ll be able to focus on the more interesting parts of running your business.

Here are 3 ways you can motivate yourself to get those boring tasks done:

1. Dedicate a Day to Your Boring Tasks

Some people recommend doing boring work first thing every morning and then rewarding yourself with more interesting work later in the day. The problem with this idea, aside from making mornings even more terrible, is that it’s inefficient.

Your brain groups tasks based on things like your expectations and your beliefs: boring work is in one category and fun work is in another. When you switch from boring work to fun work, your brain needs to switch gears, and this slows you down. Extending your workdays is no way to motivate yourself to finally clean your desk!

For maximum efficiency, pack all your boring work into one day a week (or month). Your brain won’t need to switch between tasks, which means you’ll be done faster. Plus, with the boring work out of the way, you can enjoy your more interesting work without any guilt.

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” – Michelangelo

2. Turn Your Boring Tasks into a Game

These days, it seems like every aspect of life can be turned into a game through an app, from money management to fitness to language learning. Surprisingly, apps can even let you turn cleaning out your desk into a game!

Gamification works because receiving small digital rewards for completing an unpleasant task gives you the extra push you need to finally check those items off your to-do list. Gamification is thought to work best for small, short-term goals, so it’s ideal for motivating yourself to do things like declutter your desk.

The most well-known app for turning your to-do list into a game is Habitica. In this role-playing game, your character gets gold and experience points when you complete a task. This is a great example of turning your boring tasks into a game.

3. Enlist the Help of a Buddy

If you’re having trouble finding motivation on your own, find an accountability buddy to keep you on track. An accountability buddy is another entrepreneur, not necessarily in the same industry, who also needs some help motivating themselves. Social media is an easy way to find a buddy, if you don’t already have someone in mind.

Each week, let each other know what you need to check off your to-do lists. At the end of the week, check-in to discuss what you accomplished and what you didn’t. Checking in with your buddy serves as motivation to get your tasks done. After all, you don’t want to explain to your buddy why you procrastinated a to-do list item yet again!

Some buddies will even set up disciplinary actions when they don’t meet deadlines. For example, if you don’t finish your tasks, you may need to buy your buddy a coffee (or vice versa).

Imagine looking at your to-do list and seeing that everything you’ve been procrastinating is finally crossed out. After an incredibly productive day, your desk is clean, your paperwork is in order and you no longer have 10,000 unread emails in your inbox. That can be you, with the help of one or more of these tips. Now, you know what do to: get to work!

“I just think we need more accountability and more transparency.” – John Thune