Get More Done by Having Fun

Last Updated Nov 11, 2008 4:55 PM EST

126661740_09fc5a03ab_m.jpgIf you find yourself putting off distasteful tasks, one way to limit your procrastination is to find a way to make that task more fun. So says Timothy Pychyl, writing on his Don't Delay blog. He's summarizing a recent mega-trial research project that found that people who learn and use strategies to make work more interesting are less likely to procrastinate.

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.
How do you get more fun out of your workload? Any suggestions for making things more fun? Share your ideas in the comments section. (image by bingbing via Flickr, CC 2.0)
  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for AnchorDesk.com and writes regularly for Law.com and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.