Whether at work or at home, there are always necessary but less-than-engaging tasks to do.
How can you power through and get boring tasks done? Research has shown that many people quit a boring task because it doesn’t require enough of their attention.
Trying to motivate yourself with a reward for completing a task can only go so far. The problem isn’t lack of motivation, but lack of engagement.
One researcher suggests pairing a low-engagement task with another activity to keep your brain occupied so you don’t get bored and quit. For example, chatting with others or listening to a podcast while washing dishes.
The study found that doing a secondary nonengaging activity such as listening to calming music made a boring task more enjoyable, but it didn’t increase the odds of the person completing the task or doing it longer. Only an immersive secondary activity or interacting with others increased task persistence.
But adding an immersive activity only works if the original task you’re doing requires almost no mental effort, like washing dishes. It doesn’t work to listen to a podcast while doing a task that requires more mental effort, like welding.
So, if it’s safe to do so, and doesn’t go against any workplace rules, consider adding a secondary engaging activity, like listening to a story, to help you get through boring tasks at work or at home.
Source: Harvard Business Review