You may have gotten into entrepreneurship to avoid having to do all the boring and pointless tasks your manager assigned you back when you were enduring cubicle life, but as every new business owner soon discovers, being your own boss doesn't mean never having to do things you hate.
No job-including that of entrepreneur-is perfect, and no one manages to get through his or her days without facing a few dreaded but essential to-do-list items. You can't put them off forever, and you definitely can't learn to love them, so is there anything you can do to make this universal problem a little less painful?
Yup, answers a recent, helpful post by Robin Oxford-Davis on blog Dumb Little Man. In it, Oxford-Davis offers 10 tips to get through your least favorite work responsibilities. Some won't suit everybody (prayer, for example, isn't universally applicable), while other suggestions might be considered kind of cheating (if you could get someone else to do it, you probably would have already), but many-like the examples below-could help make your worst workdays a little less painful.
1. Find a motivation that's bigger than the pain.
You're doing this awful task for a reason, right? That reason should be bigger and more important than the pain of slogging through it. The first step to getting an atrocious to-do item completed is remembering why you have to do it. "Your 'great motivator' should be that thing that you love way more than you hate the thing you have to do to get to it!" explains Oxford-Davis.
2. Take the path of least resistance.
Having to do something doesn't mean you have to do it perfectly. "Do the absolute least you can do and still be effective," writes Oxford-Davis. The concept of "minimum effective dose" might help you figure out the perfect level of effort.
3. Break it up.
Can't swallow the whole horrible task at once? Maybe breaking it up into smaller pieces will help you choke it down and get it done. "Do less of it over shorter periods of time," Oxford-Davis writes. "It may take you longer, but if you really hate it, it always feels better to do less of it at one time than more. I commit myself to walking 10,000 steps a day. I do 5,000 steps in the morning and 5,000 steps in the evening. For me, this is way more bearable than walking 10,000 steps all at one time."
4. Bribe yourself.
It sounds crazy, but pair your least beloved activities with a bit of a treat to make them more palatable. Oxford-Davis isn't the only one to advise this. A study out of Wharton suggested pretty much the same thing. "If you tend to overindulge in pedicures or spend too much time lingering over $5 lattes at a coffee shop and struggle to complete tedious work assignments, you could only treat yourself to pedicures or lattes when working on dreaded assignments," suggested Knowledge@Wharton's writeup of the research.
Research shows that too much complaining actually makes you feel worse, but when the task at hand is truly dreaded, forget science and go with the tried-and-true technique of venting your stress. Just make sure you're not spreading your bad mood around the office, and that your emotional outlet of choice actually improves your mood.
Working on stuff you hate is frustrating, so "do something that allows you to exert this energy in an emotional or explosive way safely!" instructs Oxford-Davis. Now when was that after-work kickboxing class offered, again?
What's your best trick for powering through your most disliked tasks?