Change your environment
You might not be able to change the items on your to-do list, but if you’re a freelancer, you most likely can easily change your environment.
Consider changing your regular desk to a small table in a nice café, going to a library, sitting on a bench in a park, or (if you’re lucky) on your balcony. Changing your regular workplace makes things a bit more interesting and breaks the mundane pattern.
If your job doesn’t require too much concentration, consider multitasking. Remember – it only works if you can focus on two things at once.
Research from Harvard Business Review describes the concept of “tangential immersion” when a manual or low-attention task is combined with a more brain-engaging one. Two concurrent activities (like doing taxes while listening to your favorite podcast) engage the mind, reducing overall boredom and increasing persistence.
Choose your background
There’s nothing like a good focus playlist. Boost your productivity by playing some great tunes or tuning into a white noise wave station – whatever genre you prefer that puts you in a better mood. Data proves that music can boost the dopamine levels in your brain, which means that with the right songs in your background, your boring task will be more enjoyable.
Explore the Spotify library for an almost endless supply of deep focus mixes, from classical and jazz up to productivity-aimed binaural beats, and you might just program your brain into finally ticking the boxes.
You deserve it! The hack is: only after you complete your list. Incentivize yourself to spend the necessary time on repetitive tasks by visualizing a reward later. Work for a bit, and then have to do something nice for yourself. Having a great snack or a refreshing short walk can really help in moving you forward.
For bigger projects, try turning your routine into a role-playing game, exploring the concept of gamification. With each big milestone crossed off your to-do list during the week, celebrate by having a fun weekend or reading a very interesting book. The reward depends on you, so try to find something that makes a strong incentive.
Use working techniques
Set a timer for a Pomodoro technique session, mix up the order of tasks to complete, and create a flow in your online calendar. Some suggest getting to your repetitive tasks first thing in the morning or sorting them into topic groups and conquering them one by one.
There are many proven strategies to optimize your work and finally stop chasing deadlines. They might not make you less bored, but they will help you finish the job quicker. Worth the try!
Of course, what works for most people might not be the right way for you. Understanding what works better for your nature and optimizing your productive time according to your needs is a thinking exercise that will really benefit your business in the future.
Put Your Brain in a Good Mood
Studies suggest that our ability to deal with tedious increases when we’re in a good mood, naming boredom as the main reason for procrastination. Instead of waiting and endlessly putting off tasks, try to enhance your mood right before sitting at work.
Pay attention to the importance of good sleep, exercise, and correct nutrition to our emotions. It just might be that when you’re happy or rested enough, you’ll finish your grunt work jobs in an instant.
There comes the point in any freelancer’s life when outsourcing some tasks is necessary to further grow your business. It might be more efficient for you to pay another professional to fix the excel sheet you hate and focus on something else instead.
Consider hiring a virtual assistant to relieve you in some of the paperwork and gain the time to do what you’re superb at. Another idea is outsourcing to technology. With the number of tools and tutorials on the internet, there’s a fair chance you can automate your task. It’ll take a bit more time, but you’ll be free of the mundane forever.
Get by (with a little help from your friends)
One of your boring tasks is going to the post office? Make an errand date with a friend! Perhaps they’re also dealing with something incredibly mind-numbing, and you can invite them by for a work-buddy freelancing session later. Or, make a new friend by joining an online focus room. This not only makes it more fun but adds some accountability. Nothing like some friendly peer pressure!
Just do it
… And if everything else fails, we’re afraid the cold hard truth is… you just have to do it. Tedious tasks are part of both personal and professional life, and sometimes there’s just no way to work around them. It’s okay! Remember, if there was no boredom, we wouldn’t really appreciate the exciting things.
Breathe in, breathe out, make yourself a good cup of tea, stop thinking too much and make it happen. Good luck!