The study authors found that their subjects' energy levels increased and procrastination decreased when people were able to enhance their interest in the assignment at hand.
How can you make a boring or tedious task more appealing? Some of my thoughts...
- Add a soundtrack. The right music can be a great motivator -- as long as it's not too distracting to you or others. Opt for earbuds instead of a boombox.
- Break it into chunks. I find that almost anything is more manageable (and thus, more fun or at least less onerous) to do in small pieces. Instead of writing the entire report in one fell swoop, write one section at a time.
- Set a time limit, take a break, repeat. Working on anything for 10 minutes is pretty easy. That's my trick for filing. I tend to accumulate reams of paper that needs to find a home. Were I to tackle the job in its entirety, it'd take an hour or two -- and thus I'm more likely to avoid it, because it seems like such drudgery. Instead, I find when I spend just 10 minutes putting paper in its place, I make a decent dent and it's easy to come back to it later.
- Move faster. Adam Khan at Moodraiser.com says that doing things more quickly makes a task less boring. Plus, you'll likely focus better. Make speed a game -- see how much you can get done in the next half-hour.