8 Ways to Make Boring Tasks More Bearable

Your dishes aren’t going to wash themselves. The next time you catch yourself putting off a chore you hate, try out one of these eight ways to make boring tasks more bearable.

1. Don’t think about it too much.

Your brain likes to make certain chores sound like a bigger deal than they are. It is only an illusion. Flossing isn’t exciting, but it doesn’t take long (and could save you from an expensive dental bill). Making your bed isn’t fun, but it only takes a second (and you’ll be glad you did it when you go to sleep). If a task takes five minutes or less and is essential for your health or happiness, get it done without hesitation.

2. Split big tasks into baby steps.

To make a big task seem more manageable, split it into action steps that would take an hour or less to complete. Let’s say your home is consumed in clutter, because you find it hard to let go of possessions you don’t need. Trying to clean your whole house in a Herculean effort will only discourage you. Begin by organizing a single closet or cabinet and take baby steps forward from there. Concentrating on one thing at a time will make the process less intimidating.

3. Concentrate on what you’re doing.

Do you ever feel like your mind is delivering a speech or monologue that never ends? Most people are so caught up in their thoughts that they don’t pay attention to the present moment. If you ever lose track of time while you’re cooking and burn dinner – or wonder why a plate looks dirty despite the fact that you just washed it – then you know what I mean. Perform these tasks mindfully. Observe details like the shine of a fork after you clean it and the smell of your food while it cooks.

4. Give yourself a fun treat to anticipate.

You could plan to meet a friend for drinks, catch up with your favorite show, or take a relaxing bubble bath as soon as you complete your work. Also consider giving yourself a ten minute break every hour or two. Use that time to unwind by reading a book, stretching at your desk, taking a walk outside, or watching a funny video. Success demands an ability to hustle, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. Having something to look forward to will help you stay encouraged.

5. Structure your chores in a logical way.

If you go to the grocery store several times a week, you might be making more trips than necessary. Don’t go shopping without a list of every food, ingredient, and household item you need. You shouldn’t need to go shopping more than twice a week as long as you plan ahead.

If you refresh your inbox obsessively, your day might be dominated by the demands of others. Don’t let work-related stress invade your personal life. Check your inbox at a few specific times every day, answer any messages that require a reply, delete anything that doesn’t, and banish it from your mind.

6. Eliminate your biggest stress source first.

Is there a daily task or current To-Do List item that fills your heart with dread? Get it done as quickly as you can. Stress is like a Band-Aid placed on a hairy leg. The sooner you remove it, the less you will suffer. If you hate making customer calls, get them done as soon as you clock-in. If you’re nervous about an essay that’s due, buckle down and finish it early (you’ll have time to ask a friend for a second opinion!). Address your stress sources before they steal your clarity and focus.

7. Sing and dance while you cook and clean.

Doing dishes doesn’t fill me with glee, but I do like to sing. Fixing breakfast isn’t the highlight of my day, but I do like to dance. Folding laundry, one of my least favorite things to do, isn’t so bad when performed to a soundtrack of punk rock or 80’s pop. Music makes monotonous activities seem more interesting. Create a playlist of upbeat tracks that make you want to move. Lose yourself in the beat of the music and be amazed at how quickly time passes. You’ll be finished before you know it!

8. Think about how relieved you’ll be when you’re done.

The next time you find yourself putting off a chore, remind yourself why it is important. Completing a work project or school assignment will fill you with a sense of accomplishment. Having a clean home that’s free of clutter will make you feel happy and organized. Preparing a healthy breakfast will give you the energy you need to tackle your day. Stir yourself into action by visualizing the benefit that you’ll get to experience as soon as your task is completed.

How do you make boring tasks more bearable? What chore do you hate the most (and how can you eliminate or minimize it)? Tell me in the comments.

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