When life is boring
How to deal with life and work’s boring bits!
Every life contains a quotient of the mundane and boring. We all have to do things, from filling in tax forms to submitting travel expenses, which do not interest us. They have to be done but it is hard to think of them as anything beyond a chore. There is lots of advice around to help us do them efficiently of course. We know they have to be done but it is hard to find them satisfying beyond finishing them.
When I was small an aunt who lived with us was given the dubious task of teaching me to play the piano. She herself was a talented pianist and I still have vivid memories of Beethoven vibrating up through the floorboards as she practiced each day. Sadly my commitment to practice was less impressive and she found me totally frustrating. But she taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten – do the hard or boring stuff first, and then give yourself a reward.
Pick your rewards carefully. Make them cheap and cheerful. For example, I love trawling through Amazon for obscure eBooks which are usually free or available for pennies. I shall probably not read them. But the time spent looking for them for me is like looking for treasure and there is a real feeling of triumph when something special is found. Wasting away a few minutes doing that is a great reward for doing a little business housekeeping.
At work, of course, for most of us there may not be an opportunity for that kind of reward. But we will have some tasks at work that we really enjoy doing. Plan your day so that you get the boring tasks completed early and then follow-up with something you enjoy. If you can, try to do something you really like just before you finish work in the evening. It means you are much more likely to leave work on a high.
As for me, well, I wish now I had paid more attention to the practice! I regret not learning more from my talented and very independent aunt but her story is for another day.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues.