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limeaide's avatar

What is the best way to get motivated to get to work on tasks/projects you don't want to do?

Asked by limeaide (1902 points ) July 29th, 2009 from IM

There are several tasks and projects I need to accomplish, but I dread. Some are small will take 15–30 minutes some are larger 3–4 hours. Any suggestions to get highly motivated to get them done?

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19 Answers

girlofscience's avatar

Make a game out of it. Set an amount of time you expect each small task to take, time yourself, and see if you can beat your predicted time. For the large tasks, break them down into smaller components and time yourself on each of those.

sakura's avatar

Don’t log on to fluther or you’ll never be able to do it!!

N0name's avatar

Well, look at it that way. You will have to do them anyway. Better do to them now, and be off chilling later then dragging them around you till you will be forced to do them.
Best way to start of with the little ones. When you will finished a few of those, you will be motivated from seeing you accomplished them and the big ones will be easier to face.

gggritso's avatar

I don’t know if it’s acceptable for you to listen to music while at work, but I find listening to some fast music puts me in a working mood. I recommend “The Subways”.

I also find that writing down the exact tasks on a piece of paper both helps me stay focused and the satisfaction I get from checking them of keeps me going.

dynamicduo's avatar

I have a few approaches, some better than others.

The worst approach I take is to procrastinate, distract my mind from the task (and the guilt of not doing the task) until the deadline is right around the corner, then rush and do a mediocre job. I can’t really recommend this, and I try to avoid doing this often.

An approach I have been successful with is to break down the big task into sub tasks that equal 15–30 minutes, then pick a few to focus on for the next hour and do them. Baby steps, basically. This works very well when I write documents or essays – spend 15 minutes making up the outline of sections, then spend each other 15 minute block filling in a section with content.

An approach I rarely use, but use in dire circumstances, is to have a serious talk with myself, remove all distractions, and just do the work. By serious talk I mean vocalize every bit of dread I have about the task, as well as the consequences of not doing it, then showing myself that I can do the task and prove that by doing the task. It’s not fun, it’s not happy, but when push comes to shove sometimes a slap in the face is what’s needed.

The approach I use most often is the work-reward system: work for X time, have a reward for Y time. I have to be careful to not abandon work for rewarding, but the alternating of working and relaxing is often what I need to produce good quality work while staying sane.

And music always helps for me. If I have a trance station going, I can work for hours.

sakura's avatar

Set yourself little targets/goals and rewards. For example I’ll write x amount of paragraphs then have a brew, or after working for x amount of time I’ll have 10mins break. Also time tables are useful, when I was studying I did noted down how much time I spent doing other tasks around the house and worked out that I had more wasted time than I initially thought I had. So wiht careful planning I managed to squeeze in more time to sit down and work (and relax!)

Dog's avatar

Don’t over think it- just start doing them. Starting is the hardest part.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Coffee. Or whiskey. Or both.

Dog's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities I can go with the coffee idea- but whiskey tends to demotivate. Nothing like a shot or two to make me toss all cares to the wind and say “f*%$ it.” but perhaps that is just me.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@Dog But enough whiskey and you will forget what you had to do, and no longer care.

Dog's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities True- and if you attempt to get stuff done on whiskey the results can be rather interesting.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Dog yeah, welding comes to mind. =)

Dog's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra Trimming hedges is another.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Dog sounds like a personal experience there just waiting to be told. =)

Dog's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra I’ll tell if you tell ;)

galileogirl's avatar

Picture yourself on an unemployment line.

Hambayuti's avatar

Knowing you’ve accomplished something (even if you didn’t want to do it in the first place) is a good reward itself. Just start on it and give it one step a a time. Look at it this way, you should be proud that you were tasked to do a project because it means that the person who had given you this believes in your capabilities. Now log off and get to work!

YYAAPP's avatar

If your task and or projects are workrelated than probably this could work for you.
Start a workingday with ONE of these tasks and finish it. Afterwards do the things you normally like doing.
By the end of your working day you will have a good feeling, because you started and finished a nasty task.
Do this a couple of times and you will see your nasty task list shrinking.

This worked for me…..
I still have nasty tasks open, but not a big pile of them anymore that made me feel restless or not in control.

Good luck with your nasty tasks!

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