4 Steps That Will Help You to Get the Less Fun Tasks Done

“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”
Spanish Proverb

Not all tasks of the day are stimulating, exciting or inspiring.

Some tasks in school, at work or in your business are simply less fun. But you still have to get them done.

And not get lost in Procrastination Land.

So what can you do? Here’s what I do to get a task I don’t feel much like doing all the way to done.

1. Refocus on the benefits.

Instead of focusing on how boring this task may be or how you don’t want to do it, focus on the benefits of getting it done.

So sit down for a minute. Close your eyes.

And focus on what you will get out of it. Focus on how good it will feel when you are done with it.

Oftentimes this works to get add a bit of motivation before I get started. Sometimes it doesn’t.

No matter if it does or doesn’t I don’t think about it too much because that usually just leads to more inner resistance and to making it harder to get started. Instead I make a decision and I get going.

2. Stay with the timer.

No matter if the first step above works to get me more motivated or not I take this next step.

I set my kitchen-timer for 45 minutes. I put it in another room where I cannot see or hear it. I start working on the task and focus fully on it and just it. I do no multi-tasking, just single-tasking.

For 45 minutes I dive into this task and I am fully there.

Why do I use the timer? It becomes easier to fully focus on what I am doing because I know that in 45 minutes I can take a break and go and do whatever I want. I only have to stick with this task for that long. This makes it all feel a lot lighter instead of like a heavy burden I have to carry.

This very clear separation between fully focused work and fully focused rest also reduces stress and helps me overall in my life to not get stuck in the grey zone. That is the destructive mental zone when you think about work even when you are with your family in the evening or are trying to go to sleep in your bed.

If 45 minutes is too long and you still end up procrastinating, then try 10 minute bursts of work for starters.

3. Make it more fun.

The first step might have made you more motivated to get the task done. The second step can help you to fully focus in medium-sized bursts of work while still getting a good amount of recharging rest.

A third step I often use is to make this of time of working on the task more fun. I usually do that by firing up the Spotify program on my computer and listening to some of my favorite music or just some new music while I work.

This is of course not always possible, like for example if I am proof-reading a newsletter I have written.

But it certainly helps from time to time to make the work more fun.

4. Reward yourself.

I like to mix things up and to reward myself with doing some more creative or fun work after I am done with those 45 minutes of working on the less fun task + my break. Or I may use my break to take a quick walk in the sun, watch something fun or just eat a sweet Clementine while petting one of our cats.

Small rewards like these make it easier to get started and mixing it up makes the workday more interesting and inspiring even I have a less fun task or two to get done.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Focusing on point one, I find that most of the non-stimulating tasks aren’t very beneficial at all. My acknowledgement of their lack of usefulness is what makes me dread doing them on a daily basis.

    All of the things I’m working on that I LOVE doing have seemingly limitless benefits and I enjoy every moment of it.

    I find that using a timer does make the more mundane tasks seem almost like a game that makes it more fun because it’s like competing with myself as well as the alarm. I’m daring myself to go over the time limit.

    As for rewards, I give myself a treat by taking a break and working on the exciting things after a set amount of time after working on a boring task.

    • Thank you for sharing your tips and experience with getting things done, Vincent!

  • I love the timer idea! Recently I was on a phone call to a friend and we both had boring, life-admin tasks to do that we were both putting off. We used a similar idea to the timer – we set targets for what we were going to achieve in the next hour – and that we would phone each other back ONLY once we’d got through the 3 or 4 tasks we had to achieve.

    It took us a little bit more – about one hour 15, but it was definitely a motivator – as it added in a bit of competitiveness too! Plus we had the reward of looking forward to a nice conversation once we had finished.

    Thanks for sharing. Lauren

    • Smart idea for getting the boring tasks done, thank you for sharing that!

  • sigh. procrastination. oh for the love of….time.

    i’ve had my fair share of procrastinating, but i’ve also learned to manage it and come up with a system that works for me. as a writer, i “make” myself write first in anticipation of doing what i want afterwards…or a write for another, then write for me. (or clean the house:))

    thanks for the great post and your awesomesaucy blog!!


    • Thank you for the kind words and for sharing your writing tips, Dominica!

  • Hello Hendrik,

    You always amaze your readers with stunning topics :). I guess, this is a scenario which is faced by 99% of the people in the world.

    May I kindly add a couple of points that would ass value to our readers.

    1. Do some stretching and deep breathing in between your tasks. This will bring about a chemical reaction in your body which will make you more energetic.

    2. Just show you 32 teethes and smile for 30 seconds. See the difference that brings to your mindset and body.

    3. You can even call your close relatives, friends or your girl friend and have a quick chat with them which is an instant energizer.

    And one humble request to all my lovely friends who are going to comment on this post – Please share your suggestions along with appreciating Hendrik for such an amazing article:).


    • Joy

      I tried the smile method. I can feel the difference. Thank you.

    • Thank you very much for those excellent added points, Rafi!

  • Excellent article, and I love your practical advice. On the days I remember to make it more fun, take the planned breaks, and not just re-set the timer again are SO MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE in the end. We need to hear these things over and over until they are ingrained habits! Thank you.

  • Joy

    I love this blog. I have the issue with getting things done at work. I feel so overwhelmed as a paralegal with everything display infront of me and I don’t know how to tackle. I think I got really scared of the work that I just gave up completely. I will try someo of the strategies provided in here. Thank you so so much for sharing!!!

    • Thank you, Joy! Hope you will find the strategies helpful to get your work done.

  • This is good practical tips. Refocus of the benefits instead how hard to get it done is new to me.

    Never thought of that. I always thought of quickly get it done minus the fun. I just try one of task with your tip and it makes whole difference.

    It was fun and the benefits are huge.

    Thank you, thank you for the values.

  • Interesting article with some really good points covered. When it comes to the mundane tasks that I loathe doing, I pretend that I’m looking forward to doing them. I’ve been doing this for the last six months and it started out as research for a book I was commissioned to write. I now find that every time I come across some task I would have once hated doing, it does not have the same reaction on me, it doesn’t even register as something boring or awful. It’s about reconditioning the subconscious…..:)

  • Good, solid advice, Henrik. Alas, I often feel like the woman in the picture!

  • Hey Henrik.

    Love these tips.

    Successful people, no matter what the endeavour, find a way to stay focused, committed, proactive and productive, even in the temporary absence of excitement, enthusiasm, joy and anticipation. We must find a way to finish what we start.


  • Great advice. I especially like the focusing on the benefit and timer ideas. I often write out tasks on a sheet of paper I want to accomplish soon and I get to them in a haphazard order, but they get accomplished eventually. However, I get easily distracted and would like to do a better job and I think I will try and prioritize the items by those that will result in the greatest benefit first and set aside a time slot for accomplishing each. Thanks for the post.

  • its really good blog especially focus on the task and make it more fun. It really helps people to complete a task by easy way.

  • Hi Henrik, I regularly focus on the benefits as I don’t get much fun out of the jobs I do and it’s difficult to reward myself. So knowing the job will be done quickly, the benefit, is what I focus on. But the timer idea is good, I like it. Not that I need it but I may be able to get some fun from my jobs this way. Thanks.

  • I think every task is just as important as the other.

    In my day the 5-10 minutes I spend tidying my room are as worthy as spending 1 hour working out.

    The great thing about the smaller tasks such as tidying your room, having a shower or meditating is that in literally 10-20 minutes you’ve got positive results from your day. Your room is cleaner, you feel more fresh (Shower) and more relaxed (Meditation).

  • Riz

    Thanks. Really useful. Setting timer for focus is great idea. I needed it badly