How To Stay Motivated When Faced With Monkey Work
Motivation can be tough to come by most of the time. If you’re lumbered with a task that is boring, tedious or completely mindless, motivation levels are most likely to be at an all-time low. While everyone dreads having to do things, in most cases the said “things” that really paralyze us tend to be the boring and repetitive ones – data entry, sorting, filing or tidying being right at the top of the list.
The fact is, any task that is not creative or challenging can be difficult to carry out in the long term. Do you have the classic symptoms of struggling to remain focused when faced with monkey work? Rest assured, it’s a common experience and one that can be swiftly resolved with the right approach.
The main issue is that there’s no way of getting out of these humdrum tasks – even if you’re a boss. And no matter what the reason, they have to be completed. Read on for a few tips to help boost motivation levels and keep you sane while having to tackle them.
Remember Why They Have to be Done
Whatever task you have been given, there’s a “why” behind it. In some cases, focusing on the why can help you feel more motivation to do a great job – even if the work itself is. Some examples of the “why” include getting your paycheck, doing something good for someone else or advancing work to avoiding having to do more in the future.
Take Stimulating Breaks
The benefits of taking short breaks while doing mundane tasks are endless, but rather than just flicking through Instagram, it can be highly beneficial to spend breaks learning something new, whether it’s reading a stimulating article, taking a few Sudoku puzzles over coffee or engaging in an activity that challenges your mind such as poker. Learning the basics takes about the length of a break but you can really sink your teeth into learning all about strategy, bluffing and the math side – poker apps are ideal for this as you can stop and start the action whenever. You’ll find by staying sharp and pushing yourself during breaks that you’ll have renewed vigor to get through the monkey work. You can also take this relaxation time to escape the space where the task is being done.
Turn on Some Music
There are many reasons why music may distract you if you are doing an intense, thought-provoking task. However, for boring tasks that require little to no brainwork, listening to music is a great way to get you through. Choosing something with a bit of a faster tempo, such as rock music, will get your blood pumping if you’re feeling lethargic. But if music isn’t your thing or you work in an environment where playing music is not appropriate, try putting that spark of vitality back into your system by listening to audio books while you copy and paste. You may even find that your dull task is rather relaxing – and you discreetly get to enjoy some quality entertainment at the same time.
Work with a Partner
While this may not always be an option, working in pairs or groups offers a great way to make a rather dull task much more entertaining. Find someone to complete the work with and turn a boring job into a potentially meaningful bonding experience, making the time pass much more quickly. One way to do this is by simply asking a co-worker to give you a hand if they have half an hour to spare. On a lazy mid-week afternoon, people will appreciate the distraction especially if it is actually work-related.
If you are in a management position, you may have the ability to delegate some of the work. Just remember, be fair about how much you’re giving away and to whom, and always be on hand to oversee the job that was originally allocated to you.
Get Friends or Co-Workers to Hold You Accountable
Regardless whether you are facing a task at home or work that you really don’t want to do, you can try getting someone you trust to hold you accountable. While it may be easy for you to put it off until tomorrow, avoid doing this by asking someone to check in with you every few hours to get status updates. When you know someone is coming around to see how much you have done, you will feel more obliged to get yourself in gear and finish what you’ve started.
Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done
Chances are, if you know a reward is waiting for you once the mundane task is completed, you will be much more motivated to struggle on through. Try making a deal with yourself: once the task is done, promise yourself a tasty treat, a divine half-hour in the sunshine, or a spa treatment to relax. The thought of a reward for doing an otherwise unappealing task may be enough to help you get through it.
While no one wants to have to do monkey work, it is a situation that most people face from time to time. With the tips here, you have plenty of material to cultivate the motivation you need and get the work done without going crazy or putting it off forever. So start implementing your tactics for keeping your head above water when dull times abound and go get ‘em!